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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Entering the Yelp universe

Posted By on Thu, Dec 6, 2007 at 2:40 PM

click to enlarge nish_yelp_thumb.jpg

(Yelp VIP Nish Nadaraja and friend, courtesy of Yelp)

December is the best month for party-crashing. Open bars line the city as everyone from Hennessey to SOMA loft spaces hosts some sorta function involving booze and baby cupcakes. Last year, my favorite holiday party involved a local ad agency that had a “performance” in its conference room where a male and female model slowly stripped clothing while seated around a dinner table. (Water cooler fodder for months to come, I’m sure). This year, Yelp’s holiday fete at Yerba Buena ranks high on my list. The party took place last night, after Mayor Gavin Newsom declared December 5, 2007 Yelp day.

When the doors opened at 7:30 p.m., nametagged Yelpers were already crowding the lobby and the dancefloor, no wallflowers this bunch. Some of this city’s best restaurants (from Alembic to, well, I ate too fast to note all the names) brought sweets, tamales, apple salads, tuna on crackers, tuna on chips, brownies, and more. Wine and cocktails flowed freely (if you were patient enough to park it in the long lines) and a hip-hop dance troupe showed the early adopters how to really move. Yelp’s other various attractions included a photo booth and a silent auction, but the real entertainment was the crowd – or should I say community. The nametags made things pretty friendly, and no one segment of the city overpopulated the rest (i.e., things were neither too Mission nor too Marina). Plenty of good looking folks of all persuasions (there’s a “missed connections” thread on Yelp today if you met and missed your match). Overall, it’s impressive how organically this user-reviews site has grown over time -- and just how into it its members really are. As the holiday party showed, this was no stand-around-staring-waiting-for-shit-to-happen bunch. Yelpers are very much into getting the festivities going themselves. -- Jennifer Maerz

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Ian S. Port

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