I was first drawn to Social in Costa Mesa for the drinks. Upon reading their "bespoke cocktail menu", I couldn't make a decision, so I ordered three, even though they were all different spirits.
The housemade ingredients spoke to me, like Black Tea Syrup and Cinnamon Meringue. I was awe-struck by the mixologists' presentation too, especially the "Gunslinger" served on a plank and filled with smoke.
When I found out their food menu was comprised of classic Southern and new-American inspired dishes, I knew I had to make it a social occasion and go with a group – the more dishes, the merrier!
Social's Happy Hour, a.k.a. the "Social Hour", is every Tuesday through Friday from 5-6pm. Blink and you might miss it. Here's a list of what to order, so you can fire it off to your waitress as soon as you arrive.
- spicy, hearty 'n garlicky, Fried Cauliflower with Chickpea Puree, Fire Roasted Peppers, Garlic Oil, French Feta, Benne Seeds & Aleppo Pepper $8
- crunchy, nutty, sweet 'n fatty, Brussel Sprouts with Honey, Sweet Potato, House Tasso Ham & Hazelnuts $8
- lemon salty, plump 'n blistered, Shishito Peppers with Togarashi, Thai Chili Aioli & Smoked Salt $6
- toast is small, but crab is bountiful, Crab & Avocado Toast with Cream of Belgium Endive, Granny Smith Apples, Bacon Vinaigrette & Espelette $18 (Not on Happy Hour)
- best BANG for your buck, smoke 'n citrus, Gunslinger Cocktail with Rittenhouse Rye, Bourbon, Black Tea Syrup, Chinese 5-Spice Bitters, Smoke & Citrus Oils $14 (Not on Happy Hour)
Their cocktail & food menus change seasonally, but the top three items listed here are consistently served during Social Hour.
The crowd is lively and they even play old fashioned movies at the bar for entertainment.
512 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, CA 92627. 949-642-2425.