I traveled to Washington, D.C. two weeks ago for a family celebration and sought a venue interested in hosting a tweetup. Cognizant of restaurants embracing the social web and that social events tend to flow smoother when the establishment knows it plays host, I browsed Happy Hour locales on Yelp and read reviews from different people who suggested different bars.
I settled on Lounge 201.
I had two choices before me:
1. Ask people to join me at the bar.
2. Ask people to join me at the bar — with friendly management who knew what was going down and were willing to provide complimentary appetizers.
I chose door number 2.
After brief emails with proprietor Matt Weiss, who admitted ignorance of tweetups but knew his staff had created a Twitter account @Lounge201 for customer communication, he agreed to play along. I kept him informed of a RSVP list I’d created, so he and I could track who wanted to attend.
All it took was a few tweets and Facebook messages about the event, including a retweet by the lounge to warrant a flyer on the front door and a reserved and roped-off section in the middle of the establishment, for casual strangers Sarah Levine, Chris Cooks, and Juli Monroe — none of whom had met each other before — to meet me at Lounge 201.
We drank, ate their amazing flatbread pizza, and talked up a storm, tweeting now and then with the #cooltweetup hashtag. Sarah talked about her public health graduate studies and why she adores Twitter but doesn’t have a Facebook account, Chris shared his thoughts on the information technology consultant industry and about the time he saw a ghost (ask him about it), and Juli explained how she helped Matt and general manager Angie Flores expand their marketing and communications using online media tools such as Twitter.
It was a fun night. While I’m sure it would have been just as nice if Matt and Angie weren’t as helpful, I’m confident that their attention to detail and willingness to help create a social event — which had the potential to create word of mouth, such as the attendees telling their friends about the pizza and ambience, not to mention online content like this blog post — helped make the night cool and comfortable.