Ever looked at your iPhone when you’ve nothing to read on the tube and discovered a whole bunch of shitty apps you downloaded hoping they’d make living in London a more fulfilling experience? Bet most of them have never been touched: added with the intention of carving out a more interesting version of yourself, but subsequently forgotten as you lurched on with your miserable little life. Well you’re in luck, because below lies approximately 234543 hours’ worth of my getting pissed, racking up credit card debt and being a pretentious twat in your honour, so that you can delete all the shit ones and start squeezing more out of the Big Smoke.
1. Tube map. Ok an obvious choice, but there are so many Tube apps floating around, most of which just serve to compound your irritation in ways that only Skrillex-loving chavs with leaky headphones know how to. This one is bloody great. Aside from the ad that pops up each time you open it which makes you want to turn to the person to your right and sob into their face, it sets out all you need to know in the most delightfully simplistic format so that you can concurrently check it whilst flailing through barriers etc. Also covers National Rail services, should you be that way inclined.
2. Foodspotting: the app that lets you “find & share great dishes”. This app maps out nearby restaurants where people have recommended, in photo format, the dishes they’ve enjoyed. You can seek out eateries within a given area and essentially judge them by the snaps other people have taken of their food. A hipster’s wet dream; Foodspotting allows you to jizz food snaps freely within the safe confines of an environment where people won’t actively hate you for it. From someone who’s so un-foodie they’d happily eat mackerel from a bin, Foodspotting is actually quite addictive and extremely helpful when it comes to choosing good spots to eat.
3. Yplan: This is a London-exclusive app lauded as “TONIGHT’S going out app”. Using geo-location, it brings up a list of events going on near you that night and allows you to book – often at a discounted rate – through the app in just a couple of clicks. Its far-reaching appeal lies in the range of events it covets. From big theatre productions to pop-up exhibits and album playbacks, there’s something to please everyone. If you want to realise your scenester dreams without having to read Time Out cover-to-cover each week (seriously who has time for that shit), this is a really handy go-to. Whether you choose to tell friends you’re using it or have them think you just have good contacts, is of course down to your level of self-esteem.
4. Hailo: There are lots of cab apps out there but this is by far and away the best. Hailo locates where you are then allows you to ‘hail’ a nearby cab. Better than Tesco-of-taxi-firms Addison Lee, it’s cheaper and helps out local cab offices by catching those nearby. Also cheaper than Uber and quicker than Kabbee. Pay cash-in-hand or by card via the app and it even shows you where your cab is on a map. Hailo is as convenient to slothsome individuals such as myself as being besties with Papa John would be to an ardent stoner, so get it.
5. London: Coffee Guide. A ‘highly descriptive coffee map of London’. If you’re the kind of person who takes annual leave in order to ‘work’ from coffee shops, hoping people will notice your MacBook and new vintage tweed jacket, or are someone who ‘does’ coffee, this app will make you EVEN BETTER AT DOING THAT. The creator’s expert panel has sampled and recommended London’s top independent coffee outlets together with photos and reviews so wherever you are, if you fancy pitching up for a triple-shot-skinny-soya-wank-fest, you can seek out the best conceivable establishment in which to do so.
6. Barchick. If you don’t have it already then GET THIS APP. Its look is marketed towards female-types which is a shame but guys, don’t let that stop you keeping this in a secret folder somewhere. It’s basically built for young hedonistic types who want to show off by being able to suggest the best and most off-the-beaten-track drinkeries, but it works. The reviews are honest but informative and it’s updated all the time. Slick, stylish, simple: the three qualities the Dalai Lama would definitely implore we strive for in life.
7. Secret London. A ‘uniquely collaborative app designed to help Londoners discover and share interesting places and new and exciting things to do.” This works in a similar way to Foodspotting, only with user-recommended ‘secrets’ which you can submit for approval, and have your name credited to. Pick your location on a map and find interesting new things to do nearby. Guys: a useful tool if you’re trying to get laid, as this will give you the perceived know-how of a caddish man-about-town, albeit one with Google Maps and a Bono complex. But that’s cool - as long as your date’s thrilled to be able to check herself in somewhere rad, you’ll be well in there.
Hopefully now you’ll be able to skip off into the night - well travelled, pissed and caffeinated as you go out and grab London by the balls. You’re welcome.
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