This new addition to New London’s Bank Street is great for doing just as its name would suggest. “The Social Bar + Kitchen” is a cozy, yet spacious venue for groups of friends to come together to drink, dine and be social. The Social, for short, opened in September and is owned by Brian Stradczuk. After almost two years of waiting, The Social opened on Sailfest weekend in a building formerly occupied by Solomon’s Office Supply Store. Sean Murray, the District Manager of The Social and Srardzuck opened the restaurant in hopes of further invigorating nightlife on Bank Street and to provide a space for people of all ages to gather in downtown New London. Located next to Fatboy’s restaurant, The Bistro on Bank, Daddy Jack’s and Mambo’s, The Social adds even more energy to the seemingly revamped Bank Street.
The Social offers 50+ craft beers on tap and a range of apps and entrees that can be best classified as comfort food. The “Social Hour” is held from 3-6 PM, which includes $2 off of select beers and wines along with discounted appetizers, such as sliders. I ordered the “Heart Attack” burger, which came recommended by our server. On the menu the burger was described as a, “Hand- formed beef burger with peppers, bacon, sauteed onion, cheddar, and an over easy egg.” Definitely worth whatever impending heart attack I may face. Along with my burger I had the Speakeasy Ales & Lagers Pumpkin-Pie Porter, so seasonal, so good.
Sarah Rose Gruszecki ordered chicken bites with gorgonzola cheese and caramelized onion, one of the many entrees featured on the discounted happy hour specials menu. The two of us also ordered an order of homemade spiced tortilla chips with homemade salsa, a lovely complement to our respective dishes. The Social was a perfect way to spend a rainy Friday night, although I would imagine it could also foster more lively crowds later in the evenings. The service was fantastic, we were seated right away and our server was accommodating and friendly. The Social is an awesome addition to New London. In all honesty, I’m surprised more Conn students haven’t begun to frequent this stop. Everything was reasonably priced, with appetizers starting at $3, and entrees/burgers at $9. As Murray described in a recent interview with The Day, the restaurant strives to provide high quality food while remaining accessible to the local community, “We’re not going to be Mystic in our pricing,” Murray said when detailing the emerging restaurant culture in New London.
Overall, the ambience was very hip, without trying too hard. The decor is rustic and the music is current indie/alternative. There is a large bar, many tables, and lounge-like seating. I would recommend The Social to those who like beer and burgers. They have several vegetarian options, however the menu is very meat-forward. The restaurant is also accommodating to individuals with food allergies and has several gluten and dairy free options available.•