I Tested Out the Party with a Local App and I Might Not Be as Cool as I'd Hoped

I wanted to go clubbing with a complete stranger. Was that too much to ask?

Getty Images/Bryan Steffy

It’s common knowledge that the best way to explore a city or area is to do what the locals do. Although “locals” is a hot-button word depending on where you’re at (nebulous meaning in L.A., universally applicable in Milwaukee), there is a sense that these magical people always know what’s up, particularly when it comes to navigating night life. I know I could have a local when I ended up on Bourbon Street drinking a two-foot tall daiquiri within minutes of arriving in New Orleans. Not a cool thing to do. If only, you say, there was a way to connect with locals without having to pick them up at bar!

Yeah, there’s an app for that! The Party With a Local app connects visitors and locals that want to party because new blood is fun and new experiences are also fun.

Since I wasn’t traveling, I played the role of the local in this NYC-based trial run of Party With a Local. After I signed up through Facebook, my Facebook picture became my Party With a Local picture, which worked out pretty well since I look pretty damn ready to party (note: the chill peace sign and my cool-looking friend with wavy hair). Then I wrote a short bio about how I love to drink vodka and dance to Top 40 hits with the hopes that NYC visitors would find a common bond in our preferred types of music or alcohol. Below that, I indicated my “Party Stats,” namely that I drink, I don’t smoke cigarettes, I am single and that I enjoy bars, live music, and clubs. How much fun am I?

I’m not sure how this happened, but immediately after I created my profile, I was dubbed a Super Local, which you can see by the rock-on icon in the bottom right hand corner of my picture. So I’ve got that going for me.

The top half of my profile with my picture and bio

My party stats so the party people know what's good

I was handpicked as a Super Local! How flattering 

Now it was time for me, the Super Local who knows everything there is to know about this concrete jungle, to take visitors on a wild journey through the New York City night. In the bottom left corner of the screen, there’s a people icon that shows you the feed of all the nearby locals and travelers. In my experience, there was a pretty even mix of locals and and travelers. Except I realized I had some major competition. Two of the other Super Locals that came up on my feed were apparently DJs! How could I compete with that?

My feed of Locals and Travelers nearby

Next I discovered that you can review people on the app based on what kind of fun you had when you went out. Since the app is pretty new and doesn’t have many users, there aren’t many people with reviews. Here’s a positive review of a guy named Joel who apparently had a wild time with Izzy S. in Amsterdam. Also, as you will see below, when reviewing another Party with a Local user, you have the option to first select if the review is going to be positive or negative. So with this guy — Mauricio A. — say I went out with him one night and he threw up all over me in the middle of the dance floor, now would be the time to speak up and barf-shame him in front of the entire Party with a Local community. In this way, Party with a Local is very much akin to the new Peeple app, which allows people to rate each other like they can rate businesses on Yelp.

Izzy S.'s positive review of Joel

To get the ball rolling a bit, I decided to post a Party Status so that my party brethren knew I was actively looking to party. With the Set Party Status function, you can let people know what you’re looking to do (ie: go for a drink, go clubbing, go crazy, go out as a group) and where you’re looking to do it by suggesting a venue. As the enlightened Super Local in this situation, I let my party people know I was down to “go clubbing” and I suggested “Output” as an option because I know that tourists love the European club vibes there. Then you can choose how long to set your status for, so that even if it’s 2 AM, your status indicates that you are still looking for something to do. Naturally, I chose to make my status live for eight hours.

My party status

Obviously I chose "go clubbing!" 

Output, BABY!

At one point, I got a message from the ever-enigmatic Party Unicorn, who I learned was the brand ambassador for Party with a Local run by the people who developed this app. The Party Unicorn gave me some helpful advice so I could find some more people to party with. Thanks Party Unicorn!

Party Unicorn's profile

My advice from Party Unicorn

Once my party status was set and my profile was updated, I waited for some people to reach out. I ended up connecting with one of the DJs I previously mentioned, but she was also a Super Local and I was looking for some NYC newbs to show around. The night went on, and I didn’t hear from anybody else, but maybe that’s because it was a Wednesday night and people weren’t trying to get rowdy.

Anyhow, I could isolate a few things I really enjoyed about the app as well as a few parts of it that made me feel like a total dweeb. The dweeb feelings stemmed from the fact that I had posted a specific status about what I wanted to do and no one responded to it besides a Super Local DJ. But the lack of responses was probably due to the app’s newness and its relatively low number of users in the beginning phases, which is to be expected from any app that’s just starting out. I did, however, see a lot of promise coming from the visitor side of things — I would totally use this app to find some fun locals to hang out with if I were the visitor. The motives for being a local on the app are kind of questionable, though. If I’m a local, that means I probably have an established group of people or friends I can go out with and I probably won’t want to waste my time showing tourists around the city.

That said, it can be fun to meet people who are visiting your city so that when you go to theirs, you’ll have someone to show you around. In the end, though, aren’t we all just looking to party? Party with a Local understands our innate desires to have fun at night and supplements that drive with an exciting interface that probably serves the visitors much more than the locals.