Long before racking up check-in badges on Foursquare, social butterflies collected matchbooks to document their journeys. As they evolved into scenesters, they were tasked with memorizing all those places to which they frolicked. But there’s also an added pressure of keeping tabs on new spots that may have opened up, as well as friends continuously counting on you for recommendations.
It’s a huge responsibility to know about every hot new locale, along with what a venue is good for and where exactly it’s located. Thankfully, Matchbook aims to be your digital notebook for such content. With a few touches of the screen, the app will remember where you’ve been as well as keep track of those places you’ve yet to go. Each category can be filtered, just in case you plan to visit a certain neighborhood or want to check out a new hotspot.
Can Matchbook be the all-encompassing guide you need to direct you around the city and keep track of the venues you’ve conquered along the way? Find out after the jump.
Lighting the Fuse
To ignite your Matchbook experience, you’ll be asked to add your favorite restaurant to your Bookmarks. This is simple enough, as all you’ll need to know about it is its name and the city where it’s located.
From there, you will also be asked to add three tags to the entry. Matchbook has several dozen ready-made notes. These include general identifiers such as Shopping, or more specific detailers such as Swanky or Romantic to indicate a place’s mood, or even Wine List and Margaritas to describe a drink menu.
Of course if you don’t see a tag that suits how you would classify the joint, you can create your own. This is very helpful if, for example, you came across a list for “Best Burgers in Your City” and you wanted to jot down all the restaurants that serve them with the tag “Best Burgers.” This would help organize establishments for future visits.
After you’ve finished adding tags, click on Save This Place. This will become the first entry in your Bookmarks. To wrap it up, though, select the button marked either Want to Go Here or I Went to make it complete.
Later on, when you’re searching through your entries, items marked Want to Go Here will have an icon of a hand with a string wrapped around a finger. A heart will appear next to places indicating that you have already been to it.
In this same menu, you can delete any entries you no longer want in your Bookmarks.
Now the method described here can also be used to add any destinations that come to mind that you’d like to try out or just add to your list. Just touch the Add Place icon along the bottom of the screen and begin the process of creating a new record.
Walk and Remember
If you’re out and about and happen upon a cool little venue, you might be pressed for time and unable to properly explore it. Thankfully, Matchbook will expedite the bookmarking process.
Click on Add Place and instead of typing in information, there will be another button labeled I’m Walking By It. Matchbook will then populate a list that is full of nearby businesses. Click on your desired boutique or eatery and follow the familiar steps to create an entry for your Bookmarks. If it’s not there, type in the name of the place to search for it or add it to the list.
Filtering More Finds
All those tags come in quite handy when touching the Map icon at the top of Matchbook’s Bookmarks screen. See, touching this will open up a Google Map-style layout dotted with your nearby bookmarked locations. You can also tap the locator button to see what’s nearby.
When searching what’s around you, select a tag or three if you’re looking for a specific kind of place, like, say, one that serves brunch, but in a Wild environment (actual choice for a mood). These newfound venues will appear on your map or can be scanned in the list view.
You can also check out reviews for establishments that you find, which come courtesy of Yelp, AllMenus.com and Metromix, along with pictures posted by Foursquare users.
Help from Friends
Matchbook appears to have accounts set up that curate the best of a city or neighborhood. Appropriately, they are named in a format like Matchbook Astoria. If you choose to follow these profiles, their lists will populate your stream and help expose you to new venues.
This also appears to be a function of adding friends, who you can invite to use Matchbook. Users can register for the app and start following any friends who are also members, much in the same way you might do on Foursquare. Whenever trying to invite friends to join during this review, though, the result was the app crashing and closing down. This will hopefully be fixed in future updates because being able to add to lists what your friends suggests would put Matchbook several steps ahead of comparable apps.
Will It Set Your Social Life on Fire?
Whether you’re on foot or in your car, it seems like cool places pop up every day. Add to that your friends’ recommendations and the suggestions from your favorite media and it’s easy to get inundated with ideas about where to spend your time and money.
Matchbook’s makes managing this information simple, easily searchable and presentable in a way that you will actually utilize. This almost guarantees that all those places you’ll “get to some day” will become regular haunts.
The only downsides were the app crashing when trying to invite friends to join Matchbook — especially if you appreciate the aspect of social interaction and recommendations — and the sometimes circular path navigating the app takes. While it doesn’t deflate the experience, it periodically has its annoyances.
Optimized for the iPhone 5, Matchbook is the ideal addition to your app collection if you like to be out and about. It will aid you in being first to experience places both new and old, and staying ahead of your social competition.