The Social House in Uptown is kind of like a beautiful but terrible woman. It has so much going for it on the outside — location, layout and a general air of quality — but underneath are some serious flaws that are hard to look past.
Let’s start with the good stuff. There are 100 beers on tap from all over the world, with enough locals to satisfy locaholics. It’s a visually impressive display that dares to overwhelm, but a few deep breaths is all it takes to scan the menu, which is broken down by type and encourages exploration.
The Spanish-tiled casa has a warm, open interior. The bar feels like an area where you can actually hang out and drink without being crushed by a wave of thirsty patrons.
The big draws here, aside from the beer and probably great pizza, are the two patios that face Routh Street.
The wood-burning pizza oven, a remnant from previous tenant Arcodoro/Pomodoro, sits out in the open in the main room, so you can watch them sling dough and carry out thin-crust pies to hungry drinkers. The pizza looks good, and we hear that taste matches appearances. Not that we would know — but more about that later.
Of course, the big draws here, aside from the beer and probably great pizza, are the two patios that face Routh Street. Tucked between Cedar Springs Road and McKinney Avenue, the Social House sits in a little pocket of Uptown that’s within a stone’s throw of just about everywhere.
You feel like you’re at a friend’s expansive house rather than a restaurant, which makes sense given the name. It really is a social house.
But about those flaws. I get there will be growing pains with any new joint. But when the waitress fails to ask Mark, one of six people at our table, what he would like to order for dinner, it’s troublesome.
Another of the six, Brian, tries to order a Negroni. But Social House doesn’t have Aperol or Campari, so he goes with Peticolas Velvet Hammer instead.
When that waitress brings out everyone’s food but mine, I get to be selfless and noble and tell them to start without me; my pizza will be out in a minute.
The waitress asks me twice if I’d like another drink and I tell her, “I’m just waiting for my pizza before I order another.” And then my pizza never shows up.
But when everyone else has finished eating, and the waitress has asked me twice if I’d like another drink and I tell her, “I’m just waiting for my pizza before I order another,” and then my pizza never shows up, I get flustered.
When I go to cancel my pizza with another waitress because ours has disappeared, I feel like a fool. But when they offer me a free drink, I start to get mad. The meal is over for everyone else, it never began for me and you think I want to stick around for another drink?
Of course, our waitress returns from throwing the ring into Mount Doom and apologizes, saying that she totally forgot to put in my pizza order. That would have been a good time to lie. I would rather have assumed it took too long to make, especially because she stopped by our table twice to pimp drinks and either noticed I didn’t have any food and ignored it, or she is visually impaired.
My friend Nina offers half of her grilled cheese. I find it tasty, but I’d eat McDonald’s at this point.
I get another free drink offer from our waitress, and now I’m the asshole refusing free drinks and trying not to ruin the mood at the table.
Relief is so close. Then Mark looks at my check and tells me that my margarita was two dollars more than his.
Neither of us knows why, and I’m so close to burning down Social House that I think I chip a tooth. For a brief second I understand Patrick Bateman, but then I tip 10 percent like a chump and head out the door — but not before grabbing, like, seven toothpicks so that they know what’s up.
To be fair, everyone else liked their food quite a bit, and I can’t hate a bar that commits to 100 taps. And the pizza did look really good.
But, damn, Social House took a slam dunk and stabbed the basketball with a switchblade. I wanted it to be another place in Uptown I could enjoy — perhaps be the place — but I’d only go there for beer now. And why would I bother doing even that when the Ginger Man is a block over and the Common Table is two?
You’ll probably have better luck than my I did, and it’s entirely possible you’ll enjoy your time at Social House. I just can’t recommend you go and find out.