Yelp Targets Hipsters, I Heart Yelp

Maressa Brown

pabst hipster beerOh, Yelp. I eat and die by your reviews, which I access via your website or app on my iPhone. And now, thankfully, you've invented a whole new category for amateur critics to describe various venues: Hipster! Sweet. Now I will totally be forewarned before considering dining out at a restaurant in which my Nordstrom Rack duds, Kate Spade purse, taste in pop music, and cheerful, bubbly personality will be SHUNNED!

Well, come on. It's always good to know whether or not you're going to be discriminated against upon entering a restaurant (especially in Williamsburg, Brooklyn or Portland, Oregon). Sure, I want to know if the food's any good, and I'll rarely hit up a restaurant that gets fewer than a bright orange 4-star-square rating. But the ambiance tag has always been helpful to fill me in on what to expect when I get to the place. I don't like surprises.

That's why I'm really glad Yelp has added "hipster" to their ambiance categories. For the same reasons I'm thrilled that I can see whether a new "drunch" (that's drunken brunch, as in endless mimosas/Blood Marys plus, you know, food) spot is "trendy" or "dive-y" or ... now, "hipster."

Had this feature existed several weeks ago, I maaaaybe would have known that a certain Manhattan/Brooklyn coffee spot (from Portland, hell-o) was SUPER-"hipster" and therefore always has a line out the door, and I probably wouldn't have attempted to go there. (No, sorry, I don't have time to stand in a crazy long line of holier-than-thou, impatient hipsters. I'll just use the coffeemaker at the office.) See -- that's why Yelp was smart to add this specification.

Obviously, this new hipster feature is going to come in handy in the opposite way ... for people who are actually hipsters and want to patronize venues designed for them. And what exactly might that kind of venue look like? 

The New York Post says a "hipster ambiance" is one that caters to the "skinny-jeans-wearing, Pabst Blue Ribbon-swilling, somber-and-ironic crowd." They forget to note that the crowd will likely be wearing a lot of really skinny jeans, bow-ties, vests, black-rimmed glasses, etc. They also loathe all kinds of music other than ... well, their kind, which is likely something eccentric you've never heard of in a million years. But even though you've never heard of their music, they'll still talk about The Decemberists or Deerhunter like you should totally know who they are. And listen, it can be a.) exhausting and/or b.) awkward to find yourself surrounded by people like this when you're not one of them. I'm not being anti-hipster -- I'm just being honest.

Anyway, all in all, good job, Yelp. It seems like it'll be a functional new feature, servicing both non-hipsters and hipsters alike. Just like the "touristy" specification helps people who are excited about a place like the Hard Rock Cafe or Planet Hollywood actually go there, while it assists those of us who fear fanny packs and oversized camera bags with steering clear! 

Do you use Yelp? Will you find it helpful to know if a venue has "hipster" ambiance?


Image via Jeremy Noble/Flickr

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