Scenehound app helps sniff out overcrowded bars and restaurants

A new app called Scenehound is making it easier to plan your next night out on the town. The app allows users at any restaurant or bar to report on crowd size, wait times, male-to-female customer ratios and the general ambience of a place. Other users can use the information to decide where to go for the evening and what places to avoid.

“These reports are broadcast on an overhead map view, which shows the locations and colored dots that turn from blue to red, as in cold to hot,” says Michael Underwood, CEO and founder of Scenehound.

The app is free and available from Apple’s App store and Google Play.

Underwood, a New Jersey native living in Baton Rouge, conceived the app eight years ago when he and some friends ended up at a crowded bar and had an unpleasant experience.

“It was so hard for me to hear my friends speaking,” Underwood says. “And it was one of those nights where they kind of twisted my arm to go out and I got there and I wasn’t having much fun. I thought to myself, ‘I really wish I knew how crowded this place was going to be before I ever showed up.’”

Soon after, Underwood started working to bring his idea to fruition. In the meantime, Idea Village, Greater New Orleans Inc. and the New Orleans Business Alliance convinced him to move his company to New Orleans.

Underwood says he has partnered 44 local bars and restaurants, which will offer users deals that are available only through the app.

“Very soon, there’s a new update coming up and users will get exclusive access to deals from these restaurants and bars for using Scenehound,” Underwood says. “Some places will be giving away [cover charges], free drinks or food discounts.”

Some of his partners include Commander’s Palace, SoBou, Cafe Adelaide and Lucy’s. Users aren’t limited to finding information just on Underwood’s partners or local bars and restaurants, however. He says they can access venues nationwide, but without the exclusive deals offered in New Orleans.

The app has gained 1,250 users since it started five weeks ago. Currently it’s being marketed only in New Orleans, but Underwood says he expects to expand.

“I will be eventually moving on to other cities like Austin, (Texas) and New York City, but it all depends on the finances,” he says..

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