Dallas-Fort Worth lands an opportunity to get social with Social House Arlington, the fourth branch of a small restaurant-bar chain that serves from-scratch food, many beers on tap, and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.
Social House is the linchpin concept from the Syn Group, the hospitality company founded in 2006 by Jonathan Serrano and Shawn Rao. The other three Social House locations are in Uptown Dallas, Addison, and Fort Worth.
The Arlington location will go into Champions Park, a new development on the northeast corner of I-30 and Collins Street, within eyeshot of AT&T Stadium. Social House will not be alone: The complex will also have a Torchy's Tacos, Cowboys Nail Lounge, Firehouse Subs, gourmet burger chain BurgerFi, Tokyo Joe’s, Urban Bricks Pizza, Salata, Yumilicious, and Tiff’s Treats, and that's just the first phase.
The complex steps up the game for Arlington, whose collection of restaurants vacillates mostly between mid-level chains and indie/ethnic finds.
"I feel like the Arlington market is under-served, there's not that many cool things," Rao says.
Social House Arlington will have some of your key 2017-era features including 50 taps of beer on draft, a spacious patio, and brunch, for which Social House has won best-of awards.
Everyone does brunch these days, but brunch in a way embodies the enduring charm of Social House as a place to eat waffles, drink cocktails, and hang out. It has a fun bar atmosphere, but with better versions of the usual bar food, from mussels to calamari to nachos to burgers.
The first incarnation of Social House opened in the West Village in 2009, followed by a branch in Addison in 2011. West Village closed, but a new Social House opened in Uptown in 2013, in the former Arcodoro Pomodoro space, where they came to appreciate the value of an outdoor space. Fort Worth opened in early 2016.
"They each have slightly different vibes, each are designed differently to fit the neighborhood," Rao says. "Arlington will have a center bar that's similar to the Fort Worth location, and it'll have an indoor-outdoor patio with accordion doors."
One thing that's changed in the past few years has been the attitude towards beer, Rao says.
"When we opened Uptown, we had 100 taps because the craft beer trend was on the rise, and we did that in Fort Worth, but we'll never do 100 again," he says. "The trend is going to having cocktails on tap. We have 15 cocktails on tap, like a Moscow mule. We did 10 at American Gardens, our other concept in Fort Worth, and in Arlington, we're going to do 15. Things are so competitive, we always try to think three steps ahead."