If you've been left in charge of planning your squad's New Year's Eve night out and trying to get them together feels like herding cats, here are some apps to whip them into shape. Party on, dudes.
Well, here we are. Christmas has summoned us back to our home towns, and given the whole gang the chance to hook up for a big reunion or a New Year’s Eve to remember. It all sounds so easy.
Excuse us while we turn away for a hollow chuckle, followed by a bitter laugh.
Even if you’ve all grown into the sort of people who fly planes or extract appendixes for a living, one thing is hideously and painfully true: a night out for more than 4 people is harder to organise than an international peace summit.
Now, while we’ll never claim that the following apps will guarantee a seamless night out for your 18-person wolfpack, they’ll definitely spare the poor soul (that’s you, btw) who’s been nominated to whip everything and everybody into shape.
The result? A much greater chance of summoning the kind of Instagrammable, Snapchat-boastable antics, shenanigans and hi-jinks that will render your name synonymous with legendarily good times.
For pinning down your mission: Doodle
This one is perfect if getting the gang together feels like herding cats. Tired of the 400-message thread on your WhatsApp group where everyone simultaneously lists where they do and don’t want to go? Ohhhh, we are. Hook up to Doodle, and finding the one night you can all agree on will be a doddle.
Send your mates a Doodle link for an easy-to-set-up poll and all they have to do it tick a box for each option that works for them. And if your night out isn’t 31 December, you can all add your free dates to pin down that one night you can make it – the sky’s the limit.
Once everyone has entered their preferences, hey presto: the magic sweet spot should present itself. And if you end up using it a lot, it’s worth making use of the calendar sync feature for seamless schedule-busting.
For hunting down stragglers: WhatsApp
While we’re on the subject of WhatsApp: once you’ve used it to whip your group into a state of feverish excitement about your night out, a new feature will come into its own on the evening itself. And this one is a game-changer, folks.
From Wrong-Venue Veras to Hour-Late Larries, everyone knows that the first part of the night out involves a level of investigation and pursuit of certain individuals that would put Dog the Bounty Hunter to shame. And don’t get us started on Walkabout Wendy – the one person who meanders into another party halfway through the night. YOU COULD HAVE BEEN DEAD IN A DITCH FOR ALL WE KNEW, WENDY.
WhatsApp can solve all of these issues for once and for all with its Live Tracking feature. Have your posse each click on the ‘paperclip’ icon in your group chat and select ‘Location’, then tap ‘Share Live Location’ and choose how long they want to share this info for. From here on you can see where these miscreants are on a map, and how far away they are from you.
For securing the venue: Design My Night
If you’re painting the town red in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Brighton or Glasgow, Design My Night offers up a wealth of user-recommended bars, clubs and restaurants.
It integrates with Apple Maps so you always know what fun palaces are round the corner, and has all kinds of categories around music styles, moods and levels of fanciness.
You can find exclusive offers and discounts, and book tables and areas directly – perfect for those big nights when you know you’ll need a base for your bacchanalia.
Download for iPhone (free)
For cutting out bar queues: Orderella
Do you ever feel like waiting to be served is taking up half your night? This handy little app has a roster of bars and restaurants which let you order and pay for drinks and food from your table (or even in advance, if you fancy slipping something fizzy the minute you’ve got your coat off.
You can pay using credit or debit cards, Paypal or Apple Pay, and your order will either be bought to you table or be ready to pick up at the bar. Boom – more time with your friends and less with that rando by the pumps who wants to talk about your watch.
Download for Android (free)
For getting to grips with London: Nightset
Let’s face it, while our glorious capital is stuffed to the rafters with high-octane good times, the seemingly endless range of options combined with the sheer geographical spread can often turn an impromptu night out in London into a weird Catch-22 loop of frustration.
If your own #squad has ever spent a ton of time, money and effort on a trip to the big smoke – only to find everyone sniping at each other while trudging the streets at 1am before settling for some bas-iiiiiic chain club that you’d normally find back home – then Nightset might just be your saving grace.
Search by location, atmosphere or music, and you’ll be able to track down the most Insta-luscious parties, clubs and bars no matter how exclusive and hidden they might seem.