The Social Craft Beer Bar & Kitchen in New London: 50 Hyper-local Craft Beers on Draft

Elizabeth Georgian
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Sick of the same old greasy bar food consumed with flavorless big beer brands while out with colleagues or friends on Friday night? Me too. Skip the ho-hum bar and head directly to The Social, a relatively new spot on Bank Street in New London. Providing a new and much needed hang-out spot, the Social gives diners great food, a family-friendly atmosphere, and an extensive beer list; it definitely knocks it out of the park as a new place to spend Fridays after work or Saturday evenings with family or friends.

Largest Selection of Craft Beers on Draft in Southeast CT

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The Social has selected hyper-local, local, regional, and U.S. beers, serving a whopping 50 on draft. The easy-to-read, frequently changing beer menu marks beers from Connecticut with an image of the state and further splits the beers on tap into categories, such as Brown Ale, Stout, and Cider, making it easy for those unfamiliar with the beers listed to pick their favorite. And if you—like me—can’t decide on just one, definitely order a beer flight, which allows you to sample four beers. The flight is served on a thin, wooden board with a handle, and the beers are labeled according to the numbers on the menu, making it simple for you to determine your next (or return) order.

On the beer menu, you might find favorites from the Norwich brewery Epicure, Outer Lights in Groton, Firefly Hollow in Bristol, and more. The really helpful, friendly staff are also willing to provide suggestions based upon your preferences.

Excellent, Unexpected Beer Snacks

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Though you’ll find some dishes expected of a bar, like burgers and nachos, even these basic dishes have been elevated. If you’re looking for an option shareable among friends, the build-your-own menu is recommended, with its options for nachos, tater tots, and French fries loaded with any off their list of 30 options, including vegan cheese. 

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Beer snacks also abound, with unexpected dishes such as corn fritters, fried pickles, shrimp cocktail, Mexican street corn, and tofu bites. The options available will surely impress even the pickiest of colleagues.

Plentiful Vegan, Vegetarian, and Gluten-Free Options

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Aside from the beer, the thing that stood out the most to me about The Social was their excellent selection of carefully thought through vegan and vegetarian options. Though I am most certainly an omnivore, I opted for the vegan black bean burger with added cheddar cheese, effectively changing it from vegan to vegetarian status. This burger blew me away with its flavor. The black bean patty was clearly homemade and packed an unexpected but welcome punch of spice. The added cheddar cheese perfectly complimented the slightly sour and tangy (and also homemade) apple sesame coleslaw. Though I’m no expert, this is easily the best non-meat burger that I’ve ever eaten. The side of hand-cut fries accompanying the burger were beefy and nicely seasoned. 

My dining companion raved about The Flora, a sandwich consisting of homemade garlic chickpea hummus, summer squash, tomato, and a tahini sauce. I can confirm that the slightly chunky hummus was excellent. This vegan dish also packed a garlicy, delicious punch and is certainly a breath of fresh air when it comes to the typically heavy, greasy food served at most bars. 

Other vegan and vegetarian options on the menu include a chickpea burger, grilled tempeh, a hummus plate, and two salads. Those avoiding gluten will find several salad options—the grapefruit and feta looked yummy when I spied it at a nearby table—as well as steak and fries, Savannah red rice, oven roasted half chicken, and the summer cod plate.

Those with dietary restrictions are catered to at The Social with a carefully composed menu. See you there next Friday

Find The Social’s current menu and opening hours on their website: https://www.socialnewlondon.com/