With the Olympics just around the corner, the never-ceasing flow of London apps has become a torrent. We tried out three recent downloads that focus on a trio of social drugs: alcohol, caffeine and tobacco.
In a nutshell, it's an app that finds good pubs. One of many. CaskFinder, though, differentiates itself by drawing on rather impressive data from Cask Marque and the Cyclops Trust to point you in the direction of your favourite beer, or help you find new ones. Hundreds of real ales and breweries are included in the database. The app is clever enough to know which London pubs are likely to serve every one of them. The whole thing's based on Cask Marque's twice-a-year inspections of real ale pubs, so everything should be reasonably up to date. Throw in a beer festival diary, a booze blog by the ubiquitous Pete Brown (his new book about The George is sitting next to us right now), plus bar code and QR readers to 'collect' your favourite beers in an 'ale trail', and you have a foaming tankard of real class. Available for iPhone and Android, FREE. Here's a trailer:
Caffeine: London Thru Cafes
In a nutshell, it's an app that finds good cafes, with an emphasis on coffee. It's a bit like our London Blend series, but geo-aware and tightly produced. The short reviews are helpful and well written and, with regular updates, you're sure to find a few new haunts. The area guides are clearly geared up for visitors, but locals will also find this a handy tool for unfamiliar parts of town. Available for iPhone, £1.49.
Tobacco: London Cigar Guide
Did you know that there's a thriving cigar scene in London? Nic Wing has long been an eager votary of the god of chunky smokes and, indeed, recently reviewed some of the best venues and shops for Londonist. His new app, via Cities in Sound, pieces everything together, with a surprisingly busy map of places to buy and try. The download also includes plenty of photos and an audio tour of key sites, with sound files automatically geo-triggered as you puff your way around town (mostly the Mayfair and St James areas). The commentary is excellent. Available for iPhone and variants, £4.99