Earlier this week, Dating app Bumble announced plans to create its first cafe and wine bar later this fall. The shop, to be called Bumble Brew, will allow Bumble users to meet and mingle with prospective partners face-to-face. The company has also announced that it will place the cafe, which will turn into a wine bar at night, in SoHo New York. By serving date-friendly foods, characterized by small plates that are designed to embarrass those that are present for a meeting (for example, meals dripping with sauce), the Bumble team hopes to foster relationships created online in a welcoming environment dedicated to first-time meet ups.
No stranger to innovative methods of dating, Bumble joined the dating app market as the first platform that allows only women to 'make the first move'. In doing so, males can continue the conversation only after a woman has engaged with them first. Such a method differs from other popular dating apps such as Tinder and OK Cupid, which have been criticized for the prevalence of unwanted male engagement that are primarily sexual. Bumble's alternative dating strategy has found success, and allowed the company to open other ventures such as Bumble Bizz and Bumble BFF, which allow users to network with potential business partners and make friends, respectively. The dating app also boasts 160 million users across 150 countries, most of which are located in New York (40%). Crucially, the company has also launched their app in India, which is currently considered the most dangerous country to exist as a woman. Despite this, the country has had 2.8 million Bumble conversations to date.
Bumble Brew will be the product of earlier ventures to create a physical space for meeting prospective partners and significant others. In 2017, Bumble hosted a pop-up store in Soho called Hive, which featured foods, drinks and professional and personal development workshops aimed at women. The subsequent hive, taking space in Los Angeles, also found success and stayed open for a couple of months. Bumble Chief of Staff Caroline Ellis Roche remarked that when Bumble users migrated across the street to a coffee shop after the pop-up, they were "hacking Bumble Brew" for the company already.
Nevertheless, only time will tell if Bumble will make revenue from its first Bumble Brew, which will inevitably be challenged by the high rental prices of SoHo as well as the desire of Bumble to offer prices low enough to be accessible to all Bumble users. However, these facts don't appear the stop bumble from striving to create such spaces anyway. Roche noted that Bumble "has big plans to Austin as well" that may come to fruition after Bumble has established a new space for its headquarters.