Charleston City Paper unveils a spirited iPhone app to help you find a nearby happy hour

The app in action. Yes it says 45 miles to the closest one. No it's not broken. I'm writing from down in Beaufort.

If you've ever wondered what happy hours might be lurking near your friend's house (and when they are,) you'll be glad to know the Charleston City Paper has been working hard to fix your dilema.

Dubbed the Charleston Cocktail Compass, the paper worked with Portland-based Night & Day Studios to deliver the free iPhone app that can show you a list of nearby happy hours going on now, search a list of area happy hours by name, location, or feature (dog friendly, trivia, etc.)

If you go with the default view (pictured) you'll be greeted with a list of currently happening happy hours, how far away they are, and how long you have left before the special's end.

There's also a handy button to phone a cab. 

You can grab the app from your computer by using iTunes or search the App store for "Cocktail Compass Charleston."

And while there are other online ways of finding out what happy hours are going on in town, the app has a couple things going for it: you can have a reasonable expectation that the happy hour information is up-to-date (updates from the paper will generally reach devices in about 24 hours,) and the fact that the design of the program isn't a total wreck like many happy hour sites means you can actually find where a happy hour is and what the deal is in a timely fashion.

Oh, I've got two features for the wish list: Let me search for what's on the special (i.e. Where can I get a can of PBR for a $1 or less?) and auto-generation of a bar stumble map that tells me where to start at an early happy hour and continue my evening by stumbling to nearby ones that start at later times.

Yes, these aren't simple tasks, but, hey, it's my wish list.  

If you'd like something obtainable, I'll suggest that you pair the Cocktail app up with the Yelp app for the ultimate in iPhone sleuthing of what happy hours are going on and which ones are good. Heck, a link from the app to the Yelp profile (or even the City Paper's reviews) would be pretty slick.

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