There's big trouble down under as popular dating app Tinder has been criticized for damaging nightlife culture in Australia. In cities like Melbourne, clubs and bars have been forced to close due to dwindling returns and lockout laws, and many are now pointing the finger at apps that take the dating off the dancefloor and into the digital.
"Tinder is killing off clubs and pubs all over Melbourne and Australia," says James Young, owner of Melbourne's Cherry Bar. "And when they take their dates out for the first time, they try to impress them with some chic-dining experience, rather than a rowdy live-music experience." His statements, made on Facebook, have gone viral in Australia, kicking off a nationwide debate.
This pattern of struggling enterprise in Melbourne follows a trend found recently on Commercial Rd, the city's gay nightlife district, after apps like Grindr contributed to the close of clubs Market and The Xchange.
"It's bleak out there for club owners," Young continued. "These are dark and challenging times. We need to get young people off their phones and back into our bars to actually socialize or we're all going to go out of business."
Some bars, like Drinky's in Easton, PA, have taken a different approach, even hosting their own "Swipe Right Nights," during which Tinder users are offered free drinks and accommodations, and Grindr-themed parties are common at gay nightclubs around the world.
It's not all bad news back in Australia. People still manage to get frisky the good 'ol fashoned way occasionally. "Someone named their daughter Cherry because they reckon they got pregnant at Cherry Bar," Young laughed. He can breathe easy for now. Even if people use their cellphones to send each other the digital equivalent of a sexy eye, they still need somewhere to go and make sure their potential partners aren't serial killers before they go home to awkwardly bang. For that, there's a bar called Cherry in Melbourne waiting for them.