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For The Cost-Conscious And Efficient Drunkard

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Dec 2, 2005 5:58PM


A few weeks back Chicagoist Prime got an e-mail from these guys who started a site called "Drink Town." It's a novel premise: list the nightly drink and food specials throughout the city's taverns and restaurants. But coding and typing up the list could become an exhaustive and time-consuming endeavor.

That is, until Google unleashed its Google Maps API program. Then it became not only easier, but pretty damn cool, as well. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the program or just don't consider yourself enough of a a tech geek to care, the main asset of the Google Maps API is that it allows the coder to "tag" a map with information. It's the electronic equivalent of putting a pin on a paper map with a memo.

The one problem we had with Drink Town was that the codes for Internet Explorer's Active X plugins didn't work for Mozilla, which made it frustrating for us Firefox/Mozilla Suite converts. But they responded to our concerns by fixing the problem and all is a-ok. After the jump are some basic directions for navigating the site.

At the risk of sounding repetitive, Drink Town uses the Google Maps API technology to "tag" a map. Using the filters at the left of the page you can narrow your choices down to neighborhood (using ZIP code), evening of the special, and type of special.

As a first example we started by looking for beer specials on Monday night in the 60622 ZIP code for Wicker Park. Here's what we found.


Now we expected more tags for a neighborhood given the derisive nickname "Liquor Park." But you get the idea. So if you live in Lincoln Park (60614) or Lake View (60657), it's Wednesday night and want to find a bar within walking distance that has a Stoli O special. You can use it to find something within walking distance.

With the Gmap API you can also switch from a standard map, view a satellite map (a la Google Earth), or a combination. Our one minor beef is that there's a tendency to focus too much on the central north side of the coty. It's understandable- the founders of Drink Town are both students so they could only be working with what they know- but with exposure and suggestions that could be remedied in short order.

Right now Drink Town has a focus on Chicago and Milwaukee but they want to branch out to other cities: San Francisco, Bloomington, and Atlanta are future possibilities. This is a great idea and they need to expand.