Grouper: A Spin on Blind Dating

Some things are best when they come in threes: Stooges, Musketeers, or sheets to the wind. But most of us don’t bring two buddies with us when we go out on a date. Yet that may start to change thanks to Grouper, a new social club that coordinates meetups for groups of threes that launched in Boston this week.

Here’s how Grouper works: sign up online via Facebook, and the site’s algorithms will help find other locals in their network who seem like a good match based on your preferences. Their team of humans (not computers) then helps determine who may best suit you based on your shared interests. Grouper lets you know they’ve made the match, and that’s when things get interesting. You and your match both recruit two people to join you on your “3-on-3 outing,” which Grouper has set up at one of the bars they’ve partnered with (so far, they’re working with OM,Vintage, and Gem.) You pay for your first round of drinks before you arrive and then find a table reserved for six when you show up. You can guess the rest: Introductions, pleasantries, and delightful conversation ensues. At the end of the night, sparks might be flying, or you might have met some new friends. The point is that there’s not a lot of pressure.

The folks at Grouper don’t like the “d-word” (that’d be dating), and are quick to point out that there are no profiles to make or sift through, and no pokes or emails to contend with. And according to their numbers, the concept is taking off. Since launching last year in New York, San Francisco, and Washington D.C., tens of thousands of members have joined the site, and 93 percent of them said they’d go on another outing after their first try. So yes, I’ll say it: It looks like Grouper could be a new way to meet a few more fish in the sea.