The steak is one of the best things on the menu at SHS
Society Hill Society – A New Neighborhood Local
You remember the Artful Dodger, the much-loved but not terribly elegant neighborhood bar where–for better or worse– everybody knew your name?
It was shuttered a few years back and we all hoped that a worthy replacement would soon arrive. Now, after a long wait, Society Hill Society has done just that.
Society Hill Society (hereafter SHS) is a marvel.
The formerly cramped space has been blown wide open and is now one continuous room, united by an enormous horseshoe-shaped, copper-clad, bar. One side of the bar houses casual booths; the other is a slightly more formal, yet still relaxed, dining zone.
The interior is sophisticated yet understated. Colors are muted, and paint effects are used to create a sense of faded grace and gentility. The distressed ceiling, marbling and the painted federalist motifs convey cool — in a quiet way..
According to one of the owners, Reed Barrow, who was instrumental in the design of SHS: ”The inspiration comes directly from my walks around Society Hill, and the hospitality I’ve experience in its residents’ homes. I researched the businesses, cultures, architecture and design that have existed in Society Hill since it began, and borrowed ideas from this neighborhood’s clear philosophy of beauty.”
The menu at SHS is equally distinctive.
Regular items include scallops with English garden peas, Pierogies with caramelized onions and small hand made burger sliders.
SHS also features a special three course fixed menu, priced competitively at $50, which changes weekly, but often includes oysters.
A neighbor, Amanda, tried this prix fixe menu recently and said it was “wonderful”. Her husband loved the fried oysters and chicken salad, in particular.
You can also pick individual items off the three course menu and order those a la carte, as our friends Frank and Catherine did when we visited. Frank chose the snapper soup and gave it a thumbs up.
Owner Barrow explains how the menu was devised: “It’s a result of working with such a talented chef. It’s solely the creation of Yun Fuentes. We wanted to offer a menu that was different from all the other places around, but really created a sense of place… of Philly. The menu reflects our City’s history, cultures, and the food and drink that sustained them. We focus on ‘heritage cuisine,’ and our kitchen works with the freshest local ingredients.”
Even the salads exploit the freshest, local, seasonal ingredients
My scallops with pea puree were good
SHS is a far cry from your normal pub grub.
As our friend Claudia, a big fan, argued recently: “Don’t expect your typical fries with everything bar menu. Instead, you’ll experience fine dining in a hip, fun, rustic-chic corner tavern. You can go for amazing cocktails or a great meal. My husband and I love the place. We go for both. What a wonderful addition to Society Hill!”
Pieroghies with caramelized onions were my second fave item on the menu…
And so says anyone who is into great beer or interesting cocktails.
Try the Czech Pilsner Urquel in an authentic heavyweight stein. The pilsner pump allows for great flexibility – as the bar staff explained – you can get a pilsner with no head (the frothy stuff), some head or all head (although that one confuses me…you’re ordering a glass of froth, really?)
In terms of cocktails, we turn to my business parter and her husband, who know a good cocktail when they sip one. They were particularly taken with the Flush’d, a refreshing, house made watermelon andcucumber syrup chilled with vodka, and the Liberal Arts Degree, which comprised rye, vermouth, amaro meletti, absinthe, and a lemon twist.
All of the cocktails have playful monikers–Fuzzled, Witches Sabbath, Gin Jawn, Refugee Punch, and are hand crafted by SHS resident bartender Paul.
Barrow explains how they created the cocktail menu: We focus on simple, well balanced, house-made ingredients that work together well to bring out the flavors of well crafted spirits. My favorites are the Liberal Arts Degree and the Gin Jawn. These drinks are two sides of the same coin: One is dark, boozy and bitter while the other is light, fresh and sweet.”
For further information see www.societyhillsociety.com or call 267 273 1434. To make a reservation via OpenTable, go to www.opentable.com