There is no sign indicating the Social’s location, and if it weren’t for the swelling line-up and dance-floor-respite smokers outside, you would probably miss it. Though this near-anonymity could have proved risky in the beginning, it now adds to the appeal of this stuffed dance spot. Young artists and hipsters, the kind of people you would actually find living on Queen West, rather than the more 905 straight-from-banking-job clientele of the Drake, populate the Social.
Youre likely to see the patrons sporting clothes bought at the store next door, 69 Vintage, which just happens to be owned by the same people. The neighbouring ventures covertly cross-promote one another, appealing to the same demographic (also, people do spend more when theyve had a few drinks).
True to its artistic roots (Social is located below Spin Gallery), the bar looks like a cross between an artist studio, loft, basement and lounge. On the main wall facing the bar, a gigantic mural spells out the word Welfare in colossal gothic letters; the name of the bar was almost Welfare, but this seems a little out of place until you know that. Are they making a political statement? Apparently the actual title of the piece is: Welfare, Allegory to the Death of Parkdale (as we know it). According to one of the owners, Richard Lambert, this is a reference to how Parkdale is changing from a slum into a happening neighbourhood.
Exposed pipes and fuse box/plugs, along with the unpainted wood columns and ceiling, give the place an unfinished basement look. The dcor of the place is predominately wood and stainless steel, and this creates a Scandinavian feel (why isn’t everyone blonde?). The plush red couches and the high ceilings channel a converted loft. November ’06 saw a huge expansion in the back, with an additional full-size bar, larger dance floor, and, thankfully, better bathrooms.
For libations, the bar offers a plethora of tap beers, with a pint of Labatt 50 served for $3.50, if you want to drink and keep your wallet full for that unexpected vintage clothing buying spree. Happy working, proletariat.
Source: Trevor Finn at martiniboys