New app hoping to enhance downtown experience launches at UT

Lauren Velez

Waking up after a trip to Sixth Street with no recollection of the night can make for a scary morning. The creators of “Drunk Mode,” an app recently brought to UT, want to help students make the most of their downtown experience by remaining responsible throughout the night.

The app, created by students at the University of Virginia, allows users to block themselves from texting or calling selected contacts, find their drunk friends and locate nearby restaurants.

After attending his first party at UVA, founder Joshua Anton realized how much need there was for an app capable of the features that Drunk Mode boasts. 

“There’s a story behind each feature,” Anton said. “[I] received a drunk call from a girl who said many things that wouldn’t have been said sober. Thus, the app was born.”

“Find My Drunk,” a feature made to increase safety, is a spin-off of Apple’s “Find My iPhone.” Users can enable this to show their location on a map, which they can share with selected friends. According to Anton, the creators are also working on incorporating methods of safe transportation into this particular feature.

“Our long-term goal would be to work with UT-Austin to add all the transportation, buses and Lyft cabs to Find My Drunk to make it more convenient to not drunk drive,” Anton said.

In addition to having secured a deal with Lyft, in which users can get $25 off their ride by using a Drunk Mode promo code, the app’s team is also working on partnering with other local businesses. Through the “Nighttime Enhancers” feature, the app promotes things such as happy hours and discounted pizza. Interior design sophomore Shawna Stockton, the UT representative for Drunk Mode, said her job is to contact local bars and restaurants that might want to be featured.

“Being based out of Virginia, [Anton] has no idea that places like Kerbey Lane or Abel’s are hot spots,” Stockton said. “It’s my job to contact the businesses that we want to partner with.”

Concerns have been raised about the possibility of Drunk Mode having a reverse effect and promoting drinking among UT students. Student Government President Kori Rady said he thinks even the name of the app is something people will associate with drinking.

“Since Drunk Mode partners with [bars], it does lead students to them and could encourage drinking,” Rady said.

According to Stockton, however, Rady and others need not worry. She said the Drunk Mode team is eager to work with the campus community to best serve its needs.

“Since our app is regionally specific, that feature in Austin might be used just to promote restaurants — rather than happy hours,” Stockton said. “It’s whatever works for the area.”

Anton said he only has the user’s best interest in mind and that Drunk Mode is about providing what he calls “sexy safety.”

“The idea is not to change party behavior to safe behavior,” Anton said. “But simply to make it more convenient to be safe.”