For some, going to a bar or club can be a stressful event.
People wonder: do my clothes look good, who should I go with, and will the party be any good when we get there?
A local company, ClevelandBarScene LLC, is looking to answer the latter question with their new website, clevelandbarscene.com.
The company and its founder, Josh Fragoso (John Carroll class of 2005), aim to use webcams installed in local bars to allow customers to pick and choose where they will go to party based on the images they see from the comfort of their own home.
“Our goal obviously is to instill a sense of pride in Cleveland, in our nightlife,” Fragoso said. “Our website really shows how vibrant it is downtown.”
The basic idea of ClevelandBarScene is to show potential customers what is going on at a particular time.
Viewers can enter the website and view a live stream from whatever bar they choose.
Currently, the site features three bars, “Barley House,” “Tequila Ranch,” and “Lust Nightclub.”
The stream shows the crowd size and energy of the party.
Fragoso hopes that the cameras will encourage people to go downtown.
“Cleveland is a great place to experience some nightlife, so our goal is to show that to people.”
Currently, the cameras are installed in three bars downtown but Fragoso hopes to have twenty to thirty clients in the near future.
Carroll students also weighed in on the idea.
“I think that some people would enjoy seeing what the bar scene is like before they head out,” said junior Alyssa Abraham.
Freshman Benedek Toth agreed. “As a DJ, it definitely helps because people can see what the crowd is like before they get there. It also shows my ability to draw a crowd and keep a party going.”
While the software is widely considered a boost to Cleveland nightlife, some people express reservations about the cameras.
Fragoso said, “This is about educating people about the true purpose of the webcams. It’s about pride in the city, not spying.”
He also stated that the cams are merely streams that the viewer cannot record or manipulate. The image cannot be zoomed in on and the people in the video have their faces blurred by the technology.
When told about the precautions, freshman Enzo Milano said, “If I’m at BarRoom on Thursday (18+ night) and I’m just hanging out and doing nothing wrong, what is there to worry about?”
Abraham had a different view, though. “If I knew that a club was posting streams of people on the internet, I would be less inclined to go there regardless of whether or not the faces are pixilated.”
Fragoso also hopes to expand the business at some point.
Along with the goal of twenty businesses, he also hopes to move into the suburbs at some point.
The downtown area remains the priority, however, because of his drive to create civic pride.
“Places like Las Vegas, Key West and San Diego have these cameras and have strong pride about it,” Fragoso said. “Why shouldn’t Cleveland take advantage as well?”