New social app uses Durham as springboard

By Max Sullivan
On February 22, 2013


Night-clubbers and bar-goers no longer need to sift through website after website of bars, clubs and restaurants to figure out what's going on at night on the Seacoast.

Now, it's all at the tap of their thumbs on their iPhones with an easy-to-use smartphone application.

Nightlife, an up-and-coming app that is starting to gain momentum in college communities across the nation, gives users easy access to what deals are going on in their area, from happy hours to appetizer specials, all with one press of the crescent moon icon in their smartphone's app collection.

Thanks to UNH senior Matt Osten, the New Hampshire Seacoast became one of the first regions to get hooked in with Nightlife.

Osten, a management and finance major, had an idea to put together a type of app that displayed what kinds of drink and appetizer deals were happening on Portsmouth's bar scene. Unfortunately, he didn't know how to make this kind of app happen, he said.

Then, Osten received an interesting email through his fraternity from Kyle Turner, a computer science major at the University of Missouri. Turner and his partner, Travis Hamilton, had a new app that did just what Osten had thought of back in New Hampshire. Turner and Hamilton were looking for others interested in expanding the app beyond Missouri. Intrigued, Osten contacted them about bringing the New Hampshire Seacoast into the Nightlife network.

The app is simple. Once downloaded, the user can open the app, create a free membership (or bypass this if they wish), and from there it becomes very easy to navigate. Popular Durham bars like The Knot, Libby's and Scorpions are easily found in the Nightlife app with their respective deals, along with bars in Portsmouth, Dover and Somersworth.

Turner said he believes this user-friendly nature gives the app a lot of potential to become popular.

"One of the reason we think Nightlife does so well is that it's simple," Turner said. "A lot of the apps and websites out there that are in the same space as us are trying to do too much at once. 

They're trying to throw way too much information in front of you... and it's too busy."

 "People just want the question answered, 'What can I do tonight, where can I go out with my friends, where can I save a little bit of money,' and that's what Nightlife tries to do - answer those questions and that's it. We want to keep it simple."

Nightlife also offers managers and owners of local venues the option to log in and manage the content on their venue's respective Nightlife page. For a monthly fee, a manager can have full control of his establishment's content on the app. In Missouri, over 30 restaurant owners and managers are using Nightlife this way, and right now Osten is trying to bring this success to the Portsmouth venue owners, he said.

Turner said he was inspired to create Nightlife when he was sophomore at Mizzou. 

In downtown Columbia where Mizzou sits, the bars and restaurants were set in stone about their deals. Everybody knew where and when to get penny pitchers on which day of the week, he said.  

"Everybody just got used to the same old specials. Day in, week in, even years, they'd have the same specials go on, so the goal was to change that," Turner said.  "So, we found a way to do that was through Nightlife."

With the app originally starting out as a website, Turner soon realized the smartphone boom was worth jumping on, and he created the phone app. 

Two years later, it's starting to grow some legs. Nightlife is averaging roughly 70 downloads a day, according to Turner, and has recently reached a total of 30,000 downloads.

As of now, Nightlife is working in four Missouri cities, New Hampshire, Dallas / Fort Worth, and the Arizona State community. 

The team is trying to get into Boston, as well as other cities in the country like Miami and Denver. 

Until then, New Hampshire residents can begin to use this new, convenient app, and Osten can take credit for making the New Hampshire Seacoast one of Nightlife's very first expansions.

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