As regular readers will know, New York is one of my favourite places. The unofficial capital of dating, and one of the most sociable cities in the world, it’s no surprise that most trends begin in the Big Apple. And one such trend is ‘Grouper‘ – a social club concept I first heard about a few months ago.
Now that Grouper has found its way to London, and become a bit more established, it was time to test it out, with the help of Miss 32 and The Coincidental Dater – my ‘Wingwomen’, as the app likes to call them!
The idea behind Grouper is simple – two groups of single friends are matched up on a night out.
The first step is to sign up for the social club. Once your application into the club is accepted (the waiting list is between 2-4 weeks), you can sign up for a specific date night. Then, all you need to do is select your wingmen or wingwomen, and Grouper does the rest for you!
Using information from your Facebook account, Grouper will match up you and your friends up with a group of three friends. The night before the meet up, Grouper then sends you a time and location, and all you have to do is turn up! What’s more … the first round of drinks are free!
And it genuinely was that simple!
I was surprised by just how advanced the Grouper app was. It linked up easily with my Facebook and phone book, so inviting my Wingwomen was simple, and then once the location was confirmed, the app even showed me a map to the bar. Throughout the evening, our personal concierge Polly was on call, via the app, to answer any questions or issues we had, and she replied immediately, even when I messaged her at 11pm to arrange taxis.
Miss32, Coincidental and I had agreed to meet up early at the suggested venue – Central and Co in the West-End. None of us had been to the bar before, but everyone agreed what a great location it was for post-work drinks. When the manager realised we were a Grouper booking who had turned up early, she quickly found us a table, and was really attentive and helpful. Every time a group of guys walked into the bar, she was as excited as we were trying to work out if they were our companions! (The match up is blind – the app only reveals your dates identities once you’re with them, however you can check out a game of 2 Truths and 1 Lie which they’re asked to each fill in when they sign up).
The boys turned up on the dot of half eight, and joined us for our first round of cocktails.
Considering all three of us work in finance, and are all in our early thirties, I had assumed we’d be matched with City workers in their early to mid-thirties. I wasn’t far off!
The concept is a simple and clever one. Putting two groups of friends together for a couple of rounds of drinks, or even a full evening of fun depending on the chemistry, and avoiding the awkward cross-bar approach which such a match-up would require in the real world. And obviously there’s the added bonus of knowing all three members of the other Grouper group are single!
Grouper run #Groupergram during the evening, encouraging grouper teams to take a funny photo and tweet it, with prizes on offer for the evening. They also offer different levels of service, which you achieve through a loyalty scheme – earning Karma points by inviting friends to join Grouper, linking up to Facebook or Instagram, and going on Groupers. As a ‘Bronzed Yogi’, having achieved 150 karmic points, you can get bespoke matching, where a member of the Grouper team will contact you to find out what kind of girls or guys you’d like to meet. As a ‘Silver Guru’ you will be sent to a Premium location on your Grouper, and the perks continue, with free taxis, and more free drinks according to how many Grouper nights out you go on.
Each Grouper costs £15, and this will always include your first drink, so it’s pretty good value compared to most other singles events, especially once you start to build up loyalty points for other perks.
Grouper first came to London in December last year, and has built up a good following already. One of the things about new dating ideas is that they requires numbers to work. There’s no point signing up for something, only to realise there are hardly any guys using the same app or company. However having chatted to the staff at the Central and Co, the manager explained she gets 2 groups in every week, and Grouper have guaranteed that the same Grouper crews will never be sent back to the bar – suggesting they have links with a number of other venues, and enough members to guarantee constant new Groupers.
Whilst our Grouper only lasted two rounds, and it was pretty obvious within minutes that none of either of our groups wanted anything more than polite conversation, I’d definitely use the app again.
If anyone reading would like to sign up for Grouper in London, click on THIS LINK, and the first 50 readers will benefit from no waiting list, bespoke matching, and a premium venue.
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx