PoP Preview – Social – Coming to 14th and Meridian Streets, NW


Ever since I had a preview dinner with the folks from Social I’ve been super psyched about its arrival. A press release went out saying they were going to open up Aug. 17th but it is looking like that target will not be hit. I believe they will open up either on Monday, August 24th or sometime that week. They have done all of their hirings and are just waiting on some final permits. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek and as you can see in the photos below, the place looks great and ready to roll. Just as a refresher the space has two floors. I’ll show the bottom floor first. After the jump see the upper floor and a sneak peek at the menu. I’ll be sure to announce the official opening day when all the permits are squared away, but it shouldn’t be too much longer now!

Downstairs bar:


Downstairs lounge area (dang the photos a bit blurry):


Another angle downstairs:


More photos after the jump.






Outdoor dining area on second floor:


The menu (for the items that you see three prices those are different sizes):





You like the look?

75 Comment

  • Beautiful, but cannot figure out what it is with DC restaurateurs and television sets. just don’t get it.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    Ah, I should’ve added the TV upstairs will only play old movies.

  • Ceviche? Check.
    Gourmet sliders? Check.
    Charcuterie? Check.

    What, no carpaccio?


  • @PoP: ok, that’s pretty sweet. thanks for the clarification (and the scuttlebutt)!

  • the decor is gorgeous. nice.

  • Looks gorgeous, that building was in just god awful shape, what an incredible (and incredibly quick) rehab job, love the relaxed living room vibe. Menu sounds pretty ambitious — a VERY wide range of types of food — but if done right, I will eat there often, as I love the choose-your-size model. I too wish, old movies or no, they ditched the TV’s, as the vibe looks great as is, but that is all nitpicking. A great addition to the area. Quite a month August is shaping up to be — Room 11 opened tonight, Thaitanic and the Peruvian steak place both look VERY close as well.

  • Looks nice- I do hope they have a legit happy hour to make the beer/wine more affordable for everyday purposes. And maybe some food specials early in the week, too.

  • Wow – best of luck to them!

  • The liquor selection is just a bit overpriced for the usual price points of the beers and wines offered I think (some fairly unspectacular bottles offered at 50-60 bucks), I mean five bucks for a Miller Lite, come on? With such a large wine and beer list they should offer one or two of each at slightly lower price points (maybe six bucks for wine, four bucks for beer). I guess you’re paying for atmosphere / environment … but I, too, hope they will have some happy hour specials, half price wine bottle nights on Mondays-Wednesday, etc. Also, Dan Akroyd has a wine? Really? Because I know that when I see Ghostbusters, I’m thinking, I really hope one of these dudes ends up buying a vinyard …. but that is all ultimately immaterial to the quality of the food. With such a great space, if the food is really tasty, they will do great.

  • Looks great! Suprisingly few tables though/looks a little bit smaller than I had expected. Those sofas look sweet, but that set up would require two parties of 6 to fill it up, unless.. gasp.. they are going to “force” people to be Social… 😀

  • Wow, looks fantastic! Congrats to the owners. Can’t wait to try it out.

  • While it looks cool, a friend points out that:
    “that’s too funny- milk and cookies are $13 under desserts”

  • Looks awesome, but really hopping for a good happy hour…

  • Milk and Cookies for 13 dollars is pretty hilarious. Really, American consumers, it has come to this?

    5 bucks for a Miller Lite is unfortunately the going rate these days. I was out last weekend and saw a couple of bars where they cost 6 or 7 bucks.

  • Did the owners ever get the situation they had with the drug boys there on Meridian sorted out? A few months ago they posted a rather exasperated-sounding message on the columbia heights list-serv.

  • Haha, and the cookies seem to be the most expensive item on the desser menu. Curious to see/hear what it actually is.

    ps. PoP, I am sure you do know there is a macro pic setting in your camera? 😉

  • It’s much easier and cheaper to be social in a backyard. A couple bottles of wine or a keg of good beer, steaks or boca burgers for the grill, a crapload of milk and cookies for dessert, good friends and family. You can do all that for a LOT cheaper than going to a place like this. Seems silly to me. I guess if you’re looking to meet new people it’s better to go to a place like this. But man, seriously, 13 bucks for milk and cookies? PT Barnum was right.

  • It’s probably safe to assume its not exactly 4 Oreos and a glass of milk.. 🙂

  • I represent Social in the PR department. I would like to make a few clarifications.

    This week we hired Christine Bender, former Executive Pastry Chef from Citronelle and Olives. She will be finalizing the dessert menu this week. Though, milk and cookies will remain it is designed to serve up to 6 people. GforGood, spot on, this won’t be 4 Oreos!

    The drink list is also in the process of being redone. Drinks will be added, ingredients and names of the drinks will also be changed. If you have any questions that you would like me to personally answer feel free to email me at gabbielenzi (at) mac (dot) com.

    Thanks for you interest, we cannot wait to open and let you experience Social for yourselves! In the meantime, if you would like to come by, I would be happy to show you around the space.


  • voiceofreason, that is fine. Just don’t go. There are plenty of people who enjoy this type of setting, and they will be happy to have a place like this in the area (I am guessing this will become, in particular, a big regular hangout for the demographic Allegro apartments is working hard to attract). Plenty of others will find it pointless and prefer the backyard bbq. Personally, I enjoy both and like to mix it up with a little of each. That is the beauty of diversity, each new place that opens only expands neighborhood options; in no way does it prevent the continued tradition of a back yard bbq for those so inclined, or for that matter a group of people having beers and burgers at Ruby Tuesdays …

  • Fantastic to have a place like this a few blocks from my front door.

  • The former Exe Pastry Chef of Citronelle? WOW! Now that’s good catch!

  • I’m impressed with how this place looks. They’ve done lots of great work in just a few months!

    Here are a few nitpicky things with the menu that I hope they sort out:
    1. Does the menu really not describe how different prices are for different sizes? They should put that on there, because otherwise they’re trusting brand new waitstaff to describe everything accurately. Good luck. This is going to lead to lots of confusion.
    2. Do the specialty cocktails come from a cellar? If not, I suggest they rename that part of the menu. “Cellar Selections” typically are nice bottles of wine, not cocktails.
    3. The beer section is ridiculous. First, why don’t they tell us both the brewery and the beer name for each beer? Second, why don’t they tell us what sizes the beers are, since some of these are obviously in 22 oz or 750 ml formats? Third, “Maheur” should be spelled “Malheur”. Fourth, does Victory’s Prima Pils come in 22 oz bottles, or do they really want $12 for a beer that’s $10 in a six-pack? Fifth (and most important), are these all in bottles, or are there any on draft?

    The beer section is obviously the part of the menu that I’m most familiar with. The fact that I can find at least 5 glaring issues with it doesn’t make me confident in the rest of what they’re doing. I REALLY hope this place exceeds my expectations and turns into a great neighborhood spot! Best of luck!

  • I had the same thought as New2CH about the drinks. In addition to making the Miller Lite a more reasonable $4 at most, I think it would help to have a couple of other pedestrian beers (Sam Adams, Yuengling) on the menu at $4 or $5. I’m willing to pay good money for good food, but when I’m being asked to spend a couple dollars more than I would pay at another restaurant for the same bottle of beer, I’m probably not going to visit that restaurant too often.

  • RWC,
    That is my fault. We were aware of the Malheur spelling error. Really the menu is not done, yet. Understanding the mistakes, we still thought it would be nice to give people a general idea of what will be available.

    The drink list is called “Cellar Selections” because the bar is in the cellar. The Victory Prima Pils is in the 22 oz. I believe, the last three beers on the beer list are intended to be shared.

    In terms of the sizing, the whole concept of a “guide” (they don’t run food, we will not have typical waiters or waitresses) is based on having a different experience. It is their job to explain the 3 different sizes (Intimate/Social/Gala) to the guests and help them navigate the menu for the best possible experience!

  • I was really excited for this place, but with the prices on the beer list, I’ll probably just stick with Commonwealth for when I want good beer and the Derby for when I’m broke from drinking at Commonwealth all the time. Five dollars for Miller Lite? The prices are similar to the Commonwealth’s UK pint sizes.

    Oh well.

  • 4 dollars for a Miller Lite? I just don’t think you’re going to find that too often any more in a upper-middle scale bar in the middle of a big city on the East Coast.

    I’m usually one of the cheaper people on this board am complaining about high prices, but really, 5 dollar domestics are the norm now at this type of location (assuming it is a bottle).

  • Thanks for clearing up the confusion, Gabriella. I’m glad to know that the menu is still being finalized. I’ve also got a soft spot for cellar bars, so I’m excited to check that out!

  • CH Resident, I wonder where you are going out. I think a $5 domestics are normal if it’s a decent domestic, e.g. Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a $6 or $7 Miller Lite; that’s insane. As a comparison, here’s the Heights’ drink menu:


    Miller Lite is $4.25, & Corona, Heineken, and Amstel Lite are also under $5.00

  • Hurray for Social! I think the place looks great and I am intrigued by the different conception of the dining experience. The restaurant is literally a million times better than what existed previously so anyone who is complaining just consider the brokedown, empty alternative. That said: I strong vote for a solid happy hour menu and a vote for a better cheap beer option on the menu (that is actually cheap, i.e. $4). What about some Natty Boh?

  • Hmm, I can see they have a lot of costs to recoup from those really nice decorations. However, I agree that the $5 miller lite is kind of a pricing error. People are happy to pay a lot for unique, fancy dishes, but a bottle of a miller lite is pretty much a commodity; people know it costs $3 in cheap bars/restaurants, $4 in regular DC bars, $5 places like this?, $6 in trendy mega clubs, and $7 at baseball games.

  • People who don’t love beer but tolerate those who do will order the Miller Lite.

  • People who don’t love beer but tolerate those who do will order the Miller Lite.

  • and $8 at the Redskins games.

  • I’m confused… If the bar is in the cellar, and the restaurant/living room is on the 1st floor, what is on the top (2nd) floor?

    Welcome to the neighborhood! We look forward to supporting you!

  • I’ve read all these posts about the $5 beer, and beer prices in general and I’m not sure what the hubbub is bubs. Beer is anything from $1 to $15 or more. If someone wants to pound 15 Miller Lites at Social I’m pretty sure of two things:
    1) They aren’t going to remember paying $1, $2, or $5 more than their other waterhole.
    2) They can afford to throw the extra buck away.
    For everyone else that may have one or two beers and are whining about the buck, maybe eating out just ain’t in your budget. I for one think the place looks great, and hope that the development of CH continues. Kudos for Social for taking a chance at helping what seems (from these posts) to be a rather ungrateful neighborhood.

  • Those downstairs benches look awkward for sitting

  • I like the look. Here’s another nitpicky thing that I noticed though, since I see they’re reading these comments. The lounge area downstairs has exceptionally large benches. I’m not sure if their designed for people to sit on either side at the little table or what, but it looks like their too big to sit with your back to the wall, so you have to sit on the edge of it. Which, given how narrow the space appears to be, seems like wasted space. And a little odd. If they haven’t already, they should have people sit there and see if it’s as awkward as it seems in my head. I mean, are they really going to get people to sit with their back against someone they don’t know? Again, I know that seems nitpicky.

  • I swear, I was typing my long explanation of what anon 12:21 was saying at the exact same time. Anon 12:21 you make a point.

  • I’m so excited about this place! Since I live next door, I’m pretty much betting that it’s going to become my new regular place– especially the basement bar area.

    The only thing I’m curious about are the hours….and in particular, figuring out when the kitchen closes. I never get home before 9:30pm on a work night, and usually, every other place on 14th between Columbia and Meridian has closed up shop by then (with the exceptions of Five Guys and Johnny’s, and really, they get old pretty fast). Even Julia’s, which used to be open until 10pm, has been closed by 9:30 every night this week. So frustrating when you’re exhausted from work and could really use some tasty carryout…

    Gabriella, can you let us know?

  • “(I am guessing this will become, in particular, a big regular hangout for the demographic Allegro apartments is working hard to attract)”

    I repeat my PT Barnum comment.

  • Ultimately the issue is that people drink Miller Lite – yuck! Looks like a good option for the neighborhood. Good luck and I hope to have a chance to try it soon.

  • Has it occurred to anyone that Social isn’t actually interested in the $3 PBR crowd? I think it’s fantastic that there is an upscale drinking establishment coming to our neighborhood. Every place that opens doesn’t need to cater to the Wonderland crowd, you know. If all you care about is getting the cheapest Miller Lite, then look no further than The Red Derby which has about the cheapest beer in town.

    I love the Red Derby and spend altogether too much time there, but I think it’s fantastic that there’s a place coming that will probably NOT be full of loud drunk people all the time like the Derby and Wonderland. It promises to be a totally different scene. If you made it as cheap as everywhere else, then it would quickly become the least common denominator like everywhere else. Here’s to variety.

  • @voiceofreason: there are reasons to go to an establishment other than finding the lowest priced beer. If that was all you cared about, then why leave home at all? There’s nowhere cheaper than the liquor store.

    In case you really don’t understand: not everyone has a space suitable for entertaining. People like to go places where they will meet new people. People like to get out of their houses. Some people don’t like entertaining at all – you have to clean up, and you can’t just leave when you want to.

    It should not be hard to figure out why people go to bars. Now that we’ve established that, why would someone go to a bar that’s more expensive than another bar?

    It’s nicer. They have options available that you don’t have elsewhere. The people who go there are probably less interested in getting drunk for the least amount of money possible. It’s different.

    If none of that is for you, that’s fine – it’s a free country, stay home and sit on your patio if you have one. But there are certainly plenty of sensible reasons why someone would be willing to exchange $5 for a beer in a bar/lounge when they could buy the same beer for $1.50 at a store.

  • The kitchen will shut down at 11pm during the week and midnight on the weekends. The late night menu will roll out about a month after opening and should run until close. Our license allows us to be open until 2am during the week and 3am on weekends.

  • I do not understand why anyone engages with the angry piss-on-our-lifestyle crackpots.

    And for the trolls who insist they have a right to express their opinions and whatnot, I’d buy that if every post weren’t obviously intended to hurt someone and goad a reaction.

    Please just go away if you can’t play nice!

  • Nice. And I will note that while $5 ML is $1 more than what I paid last night, it will be worth it if I don’t have a guy screaming sweet little indistinct nothings in my ear. It appears to be a place where you can go and talk to someone rather than yell at them,

  • SOCIAL!!!! SOCIAL!!!! SOCIAL!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!

  • Speaking for myself, and I imagine anyone else (other than apparently ironically named voiceofreason) on this thread giving suggestions, my overwhelming reaction is happiness and amazement that a formerly dilapidated building on a stretch that was generating little new commecial activity has been converted into a gorgeous community asset. I think that the criticisms here, for the most part, are in the spirit of helpful small suggestions, as we all want this place to thrive for years to come, and appreciate the great job the owners have done.

  • What’s this about the drug boys on Meridian?

  • I’m not a hater. All power to Social and those who can and want to pay that much for an evening out. Go forth and consume!

  • Hater.

  • I have spoken with the Social team and we are all unaware of a posting about any illegal activity on Meridian. Occasionally, we attend ANC meetings and NWCHCA meetings and have participated in those discussions but not on the Columbia Heights News forum.

  • Thanks, Gabriella! That’s fantastic news!

  • I second the question about Meridian drug urchins. ‘sup widdat?

    Just one small whine from me: I dislike having full-size pub-chairs at the bar (damned awkward getting in & out when it’s even marginally busy). Apart from that, I’m delighted. Full support.

    All the bad-vibe merchants need to go rent a room somewhere so they can all sit in the dark together and out-complain one another until they achieve total gravitational collapse and form a black hole. That would be kinky awesome.

  • Gabriella – you must be amused by all the whining here. Perhaps you can supply a happy hour cheese plate on the house to go with it!

  • Ha- Funny to see a request for NattyBoh at this place! I think a $7 flight of 6oz glasses of Natty Boh, PBR, Milwaukee’s Best and Cat Urine mixed with Seltzer would be a better choice- pick out the Urine and you get a full refund!

    Seriously- best of luck to Social and I hope to check the place out!

  • It looks so nice I’m afraid they wouldn’t let me in.

  • this looks alright but i really question the decision to use dual-pronged coat hooks under the bar on the first floor. what is it about DC bars and dual-pronged coat hooks? I mean seriously, does EVERY SINGLE BAR have to be just like Wonderland?

    also $42 for a bottle of 2006 Catena Malbec is absurd. I can see paying $40, but $42 is crazy. This isn’t Georgetown people!!! FORTY TWO FREAKING DOLLARS FOR THE 2006 CATENA?!

    I HATE the 2″ thick brown border about 10′ up the wall between the 2 colors of grey paint. Seriously? WTF!!!!??? This is obviously not intended to serve the community.

    finally, those look like 16oz glasses on the tables for water. Anything over 12oz can be difficult for the extremely weak – i smell discrimination. I hope they will be providing long, articulated bendy straws as an accomodation.

  • Great news, can’t wait for this place to open and give us another eating option (we’re in need of them). Funny though, I was envisioning something a little less on the swank end of the spectrum, but maybe it’s just me. Regardless, as long as there are haapy specials on beers and weeknight specials on food, I’m sure I’ll be a regualr patron.

    Good luck on getting everything finalized, and opening the doors. And welcome to CH!

  • This place seems desperate to be super chic and call Columbia Heights the “hottest neighborhood.” If they knew the neighborhood at all, they would realize that’s wholly unappealing. Thank god for the others, Meridian Pint and Room 11.

  • This Anon 10:34 seems desperate to get super laid. And to not spend a lot of money to do so. Thank god for porn!

  • While $5 for miller lite is unappealing, i can’t imagine going to a place like this and ordering a miller lite. has to be a non-issue. i don’t mind paying good money for good wine or beer. i’ll load up on $2 boh’s a red derby afterward if that’s the way the night goes.

  • Eric, 😀 😀 😀

  • The notion that this bar should charge $5 for Miller Light to ‘keep out the undesirables’ and maintain an aire of exclusivity and class is pure hogwash. Want to entice a more upscale crowd? Do it with the food, and the thought you’ve put into your drink menu. Instead of charging absorbant prices for mediocrity, choose beer/wine/spirits that actually warrant $5+ prices. A Miller Light is a Miller Light, no matter the venue or presentation. Want $5 for a beer, sell a $5 beer. Don’t want anything on the menu less than $5? Don’t sell cheap, watery mass-produced swill.

    I hope this trend of dressing up mediocre menus with high prices dies quickly.

    Much luck to you, Social, but I suggest you note other successful restaurants/bars menus in the area with similar decor and clientele. The Heights and Red Rocks both are comparable restaraunts with far more reasonable drink prices.

  • The Heights charges $4.25 for Miller Lite
    Red Rocks charges $4 for Miller Lite
    Commonwealth charges $5 for a pint of Michelob Light & $4 for Budweiser
    Wonderland charges $5 for Miller Lite on Friday & Saturday

    Is the difference enough to purport an

  • Just sayin’, I think the problem with the drink menu has to do with more than the price of the Miller Lite. It’s also the fact that the $5 Miller Lite is the only beer under $6. Contrast that to the Heights where Miller Lite, Corona, Amstel Lite, and Heineken are all under $5. And New2CH pointed out that the wine prices are higher than other restaurants in the area. I’m not as familiar with wine prices but I’ll take his/or word for it.

    I’ll definitely check this place out as the food menu looks interesting, and if it’s really good I’ll probably come back from time to time. But honestly, I’ll probably end up patronizing other place in the neighborhood more often because I do try to watch how much I spend when I go out, and with tip & tax a few extra dollars for beers adds up. But then maybe I’m not the target demographic for this place.

  • To all who are concerned about the drink prices,
    Believe me, you have sparked intense conversation with the Social crew. We would like to point out that tax is included for beer and cocktails on the drink menu.

    Once again, please feel free to contact me with any concerns or suggestions at gabbielenzi(at)mac(dot)com


  • it’s a little variety for the neighborhood. how many cheap places can you have? if your so offended about a $5 miller lite, then don’t order it! i’m sure people would like to have somewhere nice to go from time to time. it’s that simple.

  • Gabriella, thanks for responding – I’m so curious as to what the intense conversations consisted of! But either way, I’m definitely going to check the place out and am glad to see a new restaurant come to the neighborhood.

  • I would posit that the intense conversations amongst the Social crew are along the lines of “75 cents! They are complaining about a 75 cent difference in beer prices? And that’s what will dictate whether a person come here or the Heights? FML. FML Big time.”

  • This is clearly a beer drinking crowd. I’m more irked at the wine prices, especially by the glass. If the average glass of wine is 6 oz. then you get 4 glasses of vino per bottle. Clearly Social hopes to see lots of single glasses of wine bought.

    Next to a $12 glass of Hullabaloo Zin (which retails for $15-$20 a bottle) $5 Miller lite is a bargain.

    PoP needs a “Best Wine Deals in the City” posting

  • the “drug boys” are not going anywhere, no matter what the owners do. we’ve been calling the cops on them for a year and they continue to smash in windows and terrorize meridian place. good luck stumbling out late night.

  • Funny how we can comment on these “drug boys” and still nothing really happens with the situation. I have seen a lot police action in the CoHi area since I have been hanging out there. On the “All Hands on Deck” nights there are tons of UC cars in the area near Social, so they know its a problem spot, but I wouldn’t be scared of leaving Social. I’m sure they’ll have some sort of security or possibly some Valet. The Allegro has a few awesome night time security guards which make catching a cab past 1-3AM in the area not too shabby. I’d suggest you come and see the area late at night. Now that being said, this is DC, tread carefully anywhere, anytime. Not just in CoHi or Shaw. Social looks to be an awesome spot, and you can be sure that even with the beer price “issue”, I’m going to spend a fair amount of time hanging in a restaurant with an awesome concept, and an awesome site.
    Good luck Social, and I think you will all find out that the area is getting something it has needed since it’s become so up and coming.

  • The dessert “Blueberry polenta bread pudding with peach whip cream” is excellent.

    The “cherry whiskey” manhattan cocktail is very good – a little more cherry whiskey to offset the sweet would be great.

    The “mud benights” must go off the menu – pure grease, no filling, french dressing dip?! The meat dishes (sliders, especially) are great but I didn’t care for the ribs (taste like the Diner!).

    Waiters need more familiarity with menu – should you not feed them in order to develop their pallette? Just a suggestion to help them explain the differences on the menu.

    Weird thing is that they give one menu to share with 2 people. (just sayin’)

    Brunch in winter for this place would be awesome!!!

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