While phrases like "hot scene!", "killer cocktails!", and "Celtic music!" are totally useful, figuring out whether a bar's worth visiting at a particular time means checking it out for yourself, only to find out that at least on Tuesday at 9pm, the music is Welsh. Save yourself the trip, with HowsTheBar.com.
From a 'Cago guy suffering from texting fatigue, HTB guides your bar hopping with real-time breakdowns of hundreds of active joints, updated by on-the-scene patrons and accessible via either your comp or a streamlined mobile app. The process: register for free, and you'll find bars rated 1-5 in five categories: Average Age, Drink Value, Entertainment, Crowd Size, and Gender Ratio (though even if the numbers skew like a Women's Studies class, without an "Attractiveness" rating, you could accidentally walk into a Women's Studies class). Further customize your experience by creating a profile, then friending like-minded boozers and (optionally) receiving texts when they update spots; or get alerts when anyone rates your pre-selected "Favorites" -- neglect telling your acquaintances why you're receiving so many messages, and they might assume you're cool enough to go to a bar with.
The catch? Each night you want the mobile updates, you're expected to post one rating of a bar you're actually at; rate Entertainment a 5, and everyone else will know that music's got to be Celtic.