Chat Room (or Chatroom): CliqueBar.com
. If you are a frequent visitor to any of the various chat sites around the web, then you know that many of the most popular chat rooms are literally overrun by young people trying out new identities and/or looking for a quick online flirt. Our choice of chatrooms, however, stands apart from all the rest we looked at and well deserves your visit.

In a class where selecting a "best" can be a matter of personal choice and of who attends the room at any given moment, CliqueBar.com is a standout that merits the 2002's river2u "1st in Class" award. Three factors earned CliqueBar.com our praise:
  • mature, real-life conversations
  • interesting people
  • no downloads
What a great time we had chatting with real people in real conversation! The moment we entered the site (they are open from 9:45pm-1:30am New York time -- sounds like a real bar, doesn't it?), we were greeted by a doorman ("Angel" was on duty the night we went). The doorman engages new arrivals in friendly chat and helps to screen out those too young, too immature, or seeking something more risque than what CliqueBar.com offers in their "family-friendly" room. Feel free to talk with the doorman and size up the room, but don't mistake this for "the" room -- you're only in the lobby!

To get through the lobby and into the main bar, you must sign-up, which is free. This allows you to upload a picture (which we recommend), and gives you unlimited access to the bar for seven days. This step just takes a couple of minutes and helps ensure that people behave once inside what they call the "main bar."

Inside, the "main bar" is cleverly arranged in two to four person tables. You can look around the room and see who is sitting where. Like a real bar, if you want to talk to someone, you need to sit at their table by clicking on a chair icon next to them. Once seated, you see larger pictures of the others at the table, and each person is given their own conversation box. This method takes a bit to get use to because the conversations are not interlaced like in a regular chat room, but you quickly find that this method makes it easier to carry on multiple conversations, as a person's words aren't scrolled off the screen by someone else's.

Hosts and hostesses circulate through the room to keep conversations lively and to facilitate introductions (they seem to know a lot of the people). There is also a two-person checker game that makes a nice conversation "renewer" when you have met a "special someone" but for the moment have run out of things to say. Quickly, you forget that you are typing at your PC and get into the spirit of CliqueBar.com, and before you know it, you'll think you really are out of the house, having a beer or a wine spritzer with new friends from around the world.

Speaking of friends, all chat rooms are defined by the people that attend them. We were very impressed by the caliber of the people we met on the night we visited. People were funny, genuine, occasionally a bit flirtative, and always mature. When people moved around, they said "good bye" before leaving much the same as one would in a real bar. There are no specific topics. Many already knew each other, so a lot of conversation began on the events of the person's day, but even newcomers were warmly welcomed and quickly brought into the fold. A lot of people were from the southern US, but there were a few from others parts of the US, Canada, Australia, the Philippines, Iran, and China. About 60% were women, a fact owed probably to the "safe" feel of the room, and age seemed to be clustered around 18-21 and around 30-50 but with a lot of mixing of age groups.

Operating without a download does cause some restrictions. You must have Internet Explorer 5.5 or higher, your Java virtual machine must be current, and you cannot be running the Sun JVM. But our experience has been that this is not a problem for many people.

There is a fee to use the bar after your guest membership expires -- $6 USD for 30 days (no credit card information is taken in the initial sign-up, however, so there is no chance of being billed for membership unless you decided to pay). Many people we know hate the idea of having to pay since so many other sites are free. But then, where else can you find a comfortable, mature, ad-free environment such as CliqueBar.com and how else are they to pay their staff? We think for the cost of a couple real beers, CliqueBar.com is well worth the investment.

Finally, we were a bit puzzled by the name, as "clique" usually carries a negative connotation. However, a quick trip to the dictionary yielded a more positive and appropriate definition -- people that share common interests.

Well, if you are looking to meet new friends or just have a friendly chat, we recommend that you stop by. CliqueBar.com is a warm, friendly place awaiting your visit.

Announced August 1, 2002 - go to our home or entertainment page