What are we going to do with Places?

Discussion in 'BeerAdvocate Talk' started by Todd, Nov 17, 2019.

  1. Redrover

    Redrover Poo-Bah (3,523) Jan 18, 2003 Wisconsin

    I would be lost without the Places feature. I travel a lot for work and I try to book my hotels within walking distances of beer spots.

    I use it even more when I go on vacation and will plan days around being near a brewery or restaurant for lunch and dinner.
  2. HopBelT

    HopBelT Poo-Bah (1,883) Mar 18, 2014 Belgium
    Society Trader

    Same here ! The places feature helps me a lot preparing my travels...
  3. metter98

    metter98 Poo-Bah (16,850) Aug 29, 2006 New York
    Moderator Society

    As others have mentioned on this thread, one of BA’s strengths is its forums. When people post in threads asking for recommendations of places to visit when traveling, it might be helpful if people put hyperlinks to the place listings on BA in their posts. Then people could see the reviews/ratings of others and hopefully add a review or rating of the place themselves if they visit it. This could help integrate the places section with the forums.

    I found three new beer places on my current trip so I added each one to BA, added a review, and also mentioned the new places in current threads in the forums with recommendations for those areas.
    Harrison8, bbtkd, emerge077 and 5 others like this.
  4. rudzud

    rudzud Initiate (0) Apr 28, 2010 Massachusetts

    But most of that can just be added to the place's information, much like hours of operation or address. Kitchen, food trucks, take away beer, kid friendly, dog friendly, etc. can all be generic Y/N questions.

    Yeah, nuking events made sense as one could go to a breweries social media page and see a list of upcoming events there.

    While I do not travel to new areas nearly that much anymore, I definitely used the place feature when looking for spots to figure out what type of brewery/bar crawl to do. Could the drop off also be a generational thing? As people just getting in to craft beer are more drawn to untappd for the proverbial 'hey look at me' social media dick swing they can do versus the core principles of this site? I run in to tons of people who exclusively only use untappd and have never heard of BA, all of them in their early 20s. Could a more aggressive marketing strategy reach these people? I used to see Beer Advocate plastered everywhere that had anything to do with beer.
    To touch one what others have said, I do not like a word cap of 250 in a place review. Sometimes there are a great many things that went wrong, or right, with a place and informing others is necessary. Hell, I wrote a place review once that went almost a thousand OVER the limit because of how utterly terrible of an experience it was.
  5. Singlefinpin

    Singlefinpin Meyvn (1,150) Jul 17, 2018 North Carolina

    Breweries and their rating are important to me.
    What that brewery experience is like is important to me.
    Expanding breweries might be a good fit.
    But, I live in a Brewery rich environment, and other people have different priorities.
    Tap houses. Stores and the like.
  6. slander

    slander Poo-Bah (2,279) Nov 5, 2001 New York
    Moderator Society

    Not going to pretend this isn't reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeal personal to me as I've been writing these since '02 (posted at least 1 review a month for 12 and a half years before I went slacker in '18).

    I always saw place reviews as the thing that made BA stand out from the other sites.
    It's a full on beer travel guide. Yes, there is some difference of opinion about how one should score 'vibe' (I've been to brand new shiny big money places that are completely devoid of a soul and I've been to the most comfortable, warm, & friendly dive bars) and 'quality' (quality of the beer or quality of the experience?), but it's the content you write and not the score you give it that tells the story, and let the reader decide if they want to go there.

    Reviewing beer is, well I don't want to say 'easy', because if you're going all sensory in, it's very involved. But not when you're doing them on your phone in bulk at a beer festival when your palate is shot and so are you. And it's good that you can do beer reviews from the comfort of your living room, any night of the week, and many of them in one fell swoop if you'd like, but you don't have those luxuries on the place review side because you have to work harder for them. And I'm not being dismissive of you folks who review beer like rock stars. I simply mean that to review places, you have to get out and go somewhere. And the more you write, the further out you have to go because you've somewhat depleted what's good around you. And then you're planning your vacation around beer destinations or doing beer trips.

    I traveled hard for work for years and would regularly use the guide to find good beer places along the way (and sometimes the longer way around). Without this beer travel guide to reference, I'd be woofing down spicy nuggets in the parking lots at every Wendy's; sad, like the clown.

    Someone said earlier that the beer was the real attraction here. I disagree. Woody's written up a place in all 50 states. That's involved (I'm at 40 states + DC, and I have 4 more states in my little book of crazy soon to be converted to word documents where I can massage them and then post here). And am planning to knock the rest of 'em down at some point.

    Don't know what else to say except I believe the place review aspect here to be second to none. We are the beer travel guide.

    I, slander, and I write place reviews.

    #126 slander, Jan 1, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2020
  7. jlindros

    jlindros Poo-Bah (10,804) Oct 6, 2007 Massachusetts

    Just catching up with this. One thing that I want to add is that I've put a fair amount of time and effort into place reviews. I don't want all that to just go away, at least the written portion. So if the review values go away that's not too big of a deal, but if the written portion goes away I would be a little upset. Maybe it's a good idea to keep the ability to add comments about a place, for good service, or bad, or something special, etc. Just somewhere you can keep notes and comments on a place, for other users and even for myself.
    Singlefinpin, TheDoctor and ChicagoJ like this.
  8. rudzud

    rudzud Initiate (0) Apr 28, 2010 Massachusetts

    Or if written stuff is going to be purged and then reopened with a character cap...at least give us a decent heads up so we can save our reviews in prep for redoing them.
  9. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (1,856) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    In my mind the idea is to create a set of criteria that can be checked and used as filters. So if I'm going to Atlanta and I want a kid friendly brewery that has food, wine/cider available for my wife, and doesn't allow dogs I can make those selections and pull up a maximally useful list of places
  10. rudzud

    rudzud Initiate (0) Apr 28, 2010 Massachusetts

    Ahhh I see. Yes, that would be VERY helpful and useful. I like it. It could be implemented as tags though as well, enabling one to sort via tags. Although, if memory serves me right, there was a brief time when you could add tags to reviews which failed pretty hard (abuse of tags, mistagging, etc. etc.).
  11. RMW66

    RMW66 Disciple (377) Sep 18, 2016 Australia

    I agree that I / we generally review less places than beers but still find it very useful when travelling. Perhaps we need to lift our collective game!
    PapaGoose03 likes this.
  12. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,198) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    I don't want this to sound like I'm picking on you specifically, but any country with a light BA membership should "lift 'their' collective game" which can only help each other as well as hopefully attract new members.
    officerbill likes this.
  13. rudzud

    rudzud Initiate (0) Apr 28, 2010 Massachusetts

    To correct an earlier post, the character cap is 5,000. My original place review, before editing, of an utterly terrible brewery was 8,032. It was actually cathartic writing that place review after everything that happened and I occasionally go back and reread it, and the rest who have posted lengthy ones from that place, if I need a good chuckle.
    officerbill likes this.
  14. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (5,156) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Moderator Society Trader

    Not sure if this has been suggested, but I just had a thought. I am visiting family in NJ and hit up a few stores that I had hit up last time I was in NJ, so I updated my reviews to reflect my recent experience. That being said, the reviews are still buried since they were originally from 2016. Is there a way to make the reviews dynamic, so that if they were updated they would rise to the top of the place listing so that the most up to date information is included at the top of the page?
  15. roan22

    roan22 Zealot (503) Jun 30, 2004 New Jersey

    Cheers, glad you posted! I've always enjoyed your reviews.
    ChicagoJ and FBarber like this.
  16. zeff80

    zeff80 Poo-Bah (13,729) Feb 6, 2006 Missouri

    Untappd is vastly superior in this area. Especially the venues that have their beer menus posted. I used to always use BA before I traveled. Now, I figure out where my hotel (or attraction) is on a map and zoom in to that spot on Untappd's maps.
    Harrison8 and gatornation like this.
  17. rudzud

    rudzud Initiate (0) Apr 28, 2010 Massachusetts

    Yup, that's a big part of it too. Venues post their beer menus on untappd and social media.
    Sheppard likes this.
  18. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (8,353) Apr 18, 2007 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    A huge item to me also when traveling for work or on vacation. I find where the hotel is and where I want to shop for and and then eat dinner and enjoy some pints.
    Sheppard and ChicagoJ like this.
  19. emerge077

    emerge077 Poo-Bah (12,538) Apr 16, 2005 Illinois
    Society Trader

    More search criteria in general would be great (keyword, zipcode, mileage radius, etc.).

    Also, it would be helpful to integrate hybrid places (like a store with a taproom) so they better appear in searches. Currently, a store with a taproom is excluded from searches for "store" and is lumped in with bars and breweries that sell beer-to-go.
  20. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (1,856) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    I was just thinking about an upcoming trip I have to the LA area and it really made me think that improving the city/metro directories could be a huge boon to the value of the places feature. I don't havr any concrete suggestions just yet but I thought I'd put it out into the air and see what other folks could come up with.
    I've got;
    Expand to metros and link to a maps feature so that travelers can easily move between list and map and vice versa.
    Maybe create a "local guide" type badge for reliable and engaged members from the area and prioritize their place reviews in any given guide?
    Make them somehow.more dynamic ( I know, I'm getting a little to helpful now)

    Anywho, food for thought
  21. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,198) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    Great idea! Many of the major cities have a thread in the applicable regional forum that is a good discussion highlight of the places in that city, and perhaps a link in the Places feature where major cities in each state are displayed would be a good place to duplicate those threads.

    EDIT: Or perhaps make each of these threads a sticky note in its regional forum (or its international/country forum).
    #141 PapaGoose03, Jan 29, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
  22. Ranbot

    Ranbot Defender (653) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    @Todd, several in this thread mentioned mapping and at least one person said they use Untappd maps for researching beer locations. Maybe BeerAdvocate could partner with a group that's already done the place mapping part like The Beer Mapping Project or BeerMenus and drive users to each other with cross-linking. BeerMenus in particular has a great mapping and updated beer tap lists, but no links to beer ratings or reviews, which is BeerAdvocate's biggest strength [meanwhile, competitor Untappd has all those features under one roof, albeit with poor quality reviews]. However, that would likely require BeerAdvocate to remove their place reviews, but if you're partnering with a group that already is focused on craft beer places, does Beer Advocate need to also review them? I personally don't think so and I have more thoughts on that...

    I've been on Beer Advocate and drinking craft beer long enough to remember when craft beer at bars restaurants was very limited and craft beer options (if any at all) was typically Blue Moon, Sam Adams, Fat Tire, Magic Hat #9, Sierra Nevada, and Rogue Dead Guy. If you wanted something more Beer Advocate's place reviews were invaluable and I used them a lot. That was about 10+ years ago, and things have changed. Craft beer is everywhere. Getting a flavorful, locally-made craft beer at a bar/restaurant is the norm, and not something I feel any need to research in advance. What bar or restaurant I choose to go to is more dictated by other factors (e.g. food menu, atmosphere, location) that are better served by reviews from many other online review sites. It's been years since I used Beer Advocate's place reviews and I don't see that changing... I generally trust folks here to review beer, but that doesn't mean I trust their opinions on dining or atmosphere... (...let's be real, a lot folks here think drinking in a former warehouse/brewery is a fine night out :wink:).
  23. scream

    scream Meyvn (1,350) Dec 6, 2014 Wisconsin

    How does one update place info ?

    Central Waters hrs have radically changed from what is shown here when one looks at their page

    Current hrs. are:

    Tap Room

    MON 8-5, TUES 8-5, WED 8-5, THURS 8-5, FRI 8-10. SAT 12-10,SUN 12-7
    Singlefinpin and ChicagoJ like this.
  24. metter98

    metter98 Poo-Bah (16,850) Aug 29, 2006 New York
    Moderator Society

    You go under "Place Tools" then select "Suggest an Edit". I just took care of updating their tap room hours for you.
  25. scream

    scream Meyvn (1,350) Dec 6, 2014 Wisconsin

    Thanks x2 !
    Singlefinpin likes this.
  26. roan22

    roan22 Zealot (503) Jun 30, 2004 New Jersey

    I write a lot of place reviews to contribute to this website, and almost all of them are beer bars or brewpubs with food. I write them for people who want to eat and drink good food and well selected beer. If you don't want to read BA place reviews that's your decision. But if you are hungry and a picky BA, its the best place to look. I do not agree that "getting a flavorful locally-made craft beer at a restaurant is the norm and not something I need to research in advance." Its still not the norm, not in NJ. And I definitely do NOT consider a trip to a warehouse brewery a fine night out.
  27. roan22

    roan22 Zealot (503) Jun 30, 2004 New Jersey

    I ran out of time to edit my post. I was just going to add that it annoys me that breweries claim that they have food trucks but if you go any day but Saturday usually there are no food trucks, and they leave by 7 pm. I am just getting off work and want to go to a brewery but the food truck left an hour ago. Its so stupid you have to go to breweries around your meal times or basically when you wont be hungry. NJ has banned food trucks (WHY) so this is about Pennsylvania mainly.
  28. StoutSnob40

    StoutSnob40 Poo-Bah (2,810) Jan 4, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    I work in Product Management/Development, and this the normal path of a product's life cycle. The site/feature matures, other players enter the mix (Untappd) and engagement slows down.

    I think updating the feature with new capabilities, more site cross-promotion, or a similar "Wants" functionality would really help drive more users of the Places features. And obviously, the obligatory app idea will make it more location-dependent.

    Has the usage reduced at a similar rate as beer ratings and site traffic? Is it declining faster?
  29. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (7,586) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Linking to with a mapping project might make sense. But I disagree that craft beer is the norm at restaurants and bars now. There are still a ton of places that still only have BMC + faux craft offerings. particularly in rural areas, but even in big cities.
  30. Scott17Taylor

    Scott17Taylor Poo-Bah (1,812) Oct 28, 2013 Iowa

    I do use the place reviews when traveling. Maybe only open up the reviews to selection and quality of the beer, and maybe a food rating for bars and breweries. Vibe and service are really more for the people who’d use yelp, but I’d come here first to look for places because they’re reviewed by people I know appreciate beer. Some liquor stores rated well on sites like yelp aren’t great beer stores.
  31. Buckeye55

    Buckeye55 Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2019 North Carolina

    I utilize the places section, whether travelling or local, to see what ba's think of different spots. The vibe aspect can be suspect at times, if not downright non-applicable. I read the reviews, opinions on places, to get the general feel for the place. In comparison, I have never read/utilized/cared about reviews of any beer before I purchased it. I could care less what anyone (even though the vast majority of ba's probably have more beer knowledge than me) thinks of a particular brew.
    Singlefinpin, roan22 and ChicagoJ like this.
  32. champ103

    champ103 Poo-Bah (5,120) Sep 3, 2007 Texas

    I can only imagine that Places reviews have dried up even more with the COVID stuff going on. There have been some recent conversations in the Southwest forum about some Houston area breweries. One is the new Urban South Brewery that opened, another is about opinions on Ingenious. While having threads to talk extra about those breweries is great, but it seems some people aren't even aware that there are individual reviews for those places already (not surprisingly are my reviews for both, and I think I added both to the database).

    I guess my point is, for some...maybe many people here, Places isn't even something they consider looking at, or realize it is even here. Which I hope that changes, cause there is so much information that can be utilized, even if it isn't perfect. Then once people actually notice it, maybe they will start to participate in adding to it? Anyway, just some ramblings I had during my lunch break, while working from home :slight_smile:
  33. milkshakebeersucks

    milkshakebeersucks Crusader (772) Feb 10, 2020 Maryland

    Agree that Place reviews are drying up for now, but once things get back to some semblance of order I'm going to want to get out and try new places. That's where this category is going to help. It could also be used as a tool to help get the small businesses that are struggling back on their feet. Baby steps are better than no steps.
  34. djura

    djura Initiate (0) Dec 28, 2010 Serbia

    Maybe someone already ask, but, why we have to explain why we want to add some place, at the end of adding ?
    Reason is always the same. It's a brewery, brewpub, or what ever connected to beer, and this is Beer website.
  35. donspublic

    donspublic Poo-Bah (2,050) Aug 4, 2014 Texas
    Society Trader

    Probably a carry over from the earlier days when there wasn't that many craft centric places. I can see them not wanting to clutter up the database with a place that only has Macro on tap, but on the other hand, that is nice to know as you could steer clear of it.
    Singlefinpin, sulldaddy and ChicagoJ like this.
  36. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Poo-Bah (9,693) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
    Moderator Society Trader

    As one of the Moderators that does a lot of the approvals of new Places, that field often provides some valuable information to help make the entry correct when approving it - I find that people mention buying crowlers from the Place but have not marked it as "Beer to go", or incorrectly mark it as a brewery when it is a secondary location/tap room for an existing brewery, resources for finding it when searching for additional information if they do not have a traditional website (just facebook/instagram/etc), and other useful info.

    If you had any idea of the number of entries submitted that need some amount of clean up before they can be approved, you would be surprised.

    Any extra information can be useful for the approver.
  37. Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse

    Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse Initiate (153) Jul 20, 2016 Indiana

    I didn’t read through the whole thread, so my feelings may already be represented, but here goes.

    The reason I don’t use the Places feature is the same reason I don’t check into beers on this site and use Untappd instead: (and I’m a bit embarrassed to say this) because there is no app. With a convenient app that would allow me to review/check-in at a place while I’m also reviewing/checking-in to the beer I’m drinking, I would do it every time I visited a new (beer-centric) place.

    I know even with the new ownership BA and Untappd will remain separate, but maybe there is a new avenue for capital to fund app development? Maybe even a feature to add your BA account to Untappd, so that when you check in, it would allow you to simultaneously add your review (of the beer and/or the place) to both sites?

    tldr: make an app.
    Singlefinpin and ChicagoJ like this.
  38. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (8,862) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Society Trader

    The actual site is optimized for mobile, so it's actually easier, and more useful, than an app. Plus, if UTs app (one of the few that I have and use) would be the prototype for a BA app, no thanks. UTs app is some janky-assed shit.
  39. Singlefinpin

    Singlefinpin Meyvn (1,150) Jul 17, 2018 North Carolina

    Personally I would like to see Places stay.
    It's a quick reference for me.
    I'd be rating Places if we weren't in the middle of this Pandemic.
    I was talking a brewery tour about once a month or so, but again the Pandemic has put the halt on that and listing that on Places.
    I'm here for the beer, and the Forums.
  40. Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse

    Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse Initiate (153) Jul 20, 2016 Indiana

    Yeah, I literally used to tell people that they don’t need apps since basically every website is optimized for mobile and can do the same things. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. :laughing:

    I totally see where you’re coming from. Just something about popping open the web browser and navigating to the site, or switching to the right tab, is too much work for me nowadays.
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