Edit ModuleShow Tags

Social House 7 Is Okay ... But There's This Really Weird Thing About It

While it's not among Downtown's best, Social House 7 is a fine place for a drink and a bite — but we're stuck on a bizarre element of the décor.




photo by sean collier
 

There’s a curious decorative element just inside the front door of Social House 7, the relatively new bar and restaurant on Seventh Street. Open the door and you’ll be facing a second set of doors, finding yourself in a small breezeway. Keep your eyes ahead and you’ll notice nothing out of the ordinary.

Look down and you’ll see fish.

Living fish. Koi, to be specific. Not, as you might be thinking, near the breezeway in one of the eponymous ponds typical of an Americanized Asian restaurant.

In the floor.

You’re standing on a glass floor. Underneath it, in a bare concrete enclosure, are some disinterested fish. It’s bizarre. It’s a little disturbing. It’s like something out of a particularly obtuse Scandinavian film. And while I was having a relatively fine time at Social House 7, every few moments, I found myself thinking: “What’s with those fish?”

The drinks at Social House 7, which opened in October in the former Bossa Nova space, are perfectly acceptable, pleasing and flavorful twists on ubiquitous cocktails — a Mule variation, a Mai Tai. My Orange Blossom Gimlet was refreshing. Social House 7 also has a good sake list (while not quite a true izakaya, their website uses the term “izakaya-style,” which is accurate enough), certainly the best you’ll find Downtown. The beer list isn’t bad, either, with five dedicated taps for Pennsylvania craft beers and a few bottled Japanese beers that go beyond what you’ll typically see.

But, like, are those fish happy? Do koi care about their environs? Could we add some plants, some pebbles — even one of those plastic scuba divers that you throw in an aquarium?

I liked the food as well; the servers at Social House 7 will urge you to share a selection of appetizers and sushi plates. The spicy crab salad was tasty; sauteed spicy edamame livened up what can easily become a ho-hum appetizer. The sushi I tried tended slightly more towards the showy, ingredient-heavy stuff you’ll find at a suburban sushi joint, but there’s nothing necessarily wrong with it (I certainly order sushi from wherever I can find it often, and am rarely disappointed). The prices might give me a bit of pause, but they’re not outlandish.

Surely koi can’t like all this noise, though. The music inside — Social House 7 often offers live DJs — combined with the chatter of the patrons. Not to mention the footsteps overhead! We’re stomping on their roof, for pete’s sake! That can’t be cool, right?

While the service was a bit spotty — at one point, we waited so long for attention that we had to forego an additional round of plates and simply ask for the check — Social House 7’s robust hours of operation separate it from many Downtown establishments. It can’t compete with a half-dozen nearby favorites on food or drink, but it can make up ground simply by being a nearly-constant option; full service is available until at least 11 p.m. every night of the week, a late-night menu is available until 1 a.m. and the bar remains open until 2 on weekends. There’s also daily lunch service; few Downtown hotspots can match those hours.

Listen, I understand there’s some irony involved in repeatedly thinking about these fish when I am going to a place to literally eat fish, but it’s just so uncanny! It would be like if I went to a steakhouse and they led me past a dentist’s office waiting room filled with indifferent cows. If I went to a barbecue and had to navigate a hedge maze full of chickens to find the bathroom. What ... what’s the point of these koi?

All told, it’s an acceptable, if not outstanding, Downtown option. It’s big, so you’ll have an easier time getting a table than you might elsewhere, and there’s something to please most guests both in food and drink. It’s not likely to be many people’s favorite spot, but you’re not likely to leave disappointed.

You are, however, likely to leave asking, “Seriously, though, what is up with those fish in the floor?”

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

The Time to #GiveBigPittsburgh is Almost Here

The Time to #GiveBigPittsburgh is Almost Here

Make your donation go farther on the one-day charitable giving bonanza.
Gift Giving Through the Mind of a CMU Expert

Gift Giving Through the Mind of a CMU Expert

Researchers help you find the gift your loved ones really want this holiday season.
Does The Pittsburgh City Flag Need a Makeover?

Does The Pittsburgh City Flag Need a Makeover?

A city flag redesign contest draws in submissions of rivers, bridges and even pierogies.
PIT to Seattle with No More Layovers via Alaska Airlines

PIT to Seattle with No More Layovers via Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines is Pittsburgh's newest carrier and it’s bringing more daily nonstop flights to the West Coast.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Matt Murray's Focus is on the Journey, Not the Destination

Matt Murray's Focus is on the Journey, Not the Destination

The Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender already has his name on the Stanley Cup — twice. Matt Murray may be a champion, but he’s still working diligently to improve his game.
Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2017 Honorees

Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2017 Honorees

Pittsburgh Magazine highlights the unsung heroes of the health care field: our Excellence in Nursing honorees, chosen by our panel of distinguished nursing professionals.
Restaurant Review: Superior Motors

Restaurant Review: Superior Motors

Kevin Sousa’s long-anticipated project fires on all cylinders as a restaurant. But, will it fulfill its larger mission?
Pittsburgh City Steps: An Artist Tells Their Stories

Pittsburgh City Steps: An Artist Tells Their Stories

Artist Laura Zurowski is on a mission to document Pittsburgh's public steps in an unorthodox way.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


The Time to #GiveBigPittsburgh is Almost Here

The Time to #GiveBigPittsburgh is Almost Here

Make your donation go farther on the one-day charitable giving bonanza.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Just in Time for the Holidays: Miracle Returns to Downtown

Just in Time for the Holidays: Miracle Returns to Downtown

The over-the-top holiday-themed bar opens at the Original Oyster House the night after Thanksgiving.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Meet the Winner of Our 2017 Cutest Pet Contest

Meet the Winner of Our 2017 Cutest Pet Contest

The winner received the most votes among five dogs, four cats and a bunny.

Comments


Steal the Crown Jewels at Escape Room 51

Steal the Crown Jewels at Escape Room 51

The new escape game is instantly among the best in town.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Are Steelers Good Enough to Overcome Themselves?

Are Steelers Good Enough to Overcome Themselves?

The time has come for the offense to more often resemble what everyone thought it would become this season, as opposed to sinking on occasion to a Cleveland Browns-esque level of ineptitude.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
#Gottahaveit: Take It To the Hoop

#Gottahaveit: Take It To the Hoop

Robert Hallett, Goldsmith, handcrafts the jewelry in his Oakmont shop.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Pixar's Coco is a Visual Stunner, While Last Flag Flying is a Knockout

Pixar's Coco is a Visual Stunner, While Last Flag Flying is a Knockout

Reviews of "Coco," "Last Flag Flying" and "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri."

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Only in Pittsburgh: The Blast Furnace Wedding Venue

Only in Pittsburgh: The Blast Furnace Wedding Venue

Carrie Furnace is one of three intimate, uniquely Pittsburgh wedding venues that can accommodate every style from homestyle to rock-and-roll.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Bright Living: ‘Lumiere’ Condos Slated for Former Saks Downtown

Bright Living: ‘Lumiere’ Condos Slated for Former Saks Downtown

Named after the French word for light, the 86-unit mixed-use development, which will include a Fogo de Chao steakhouse as a tenant, offers folding glass walls in its residences to create an open-air living space.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

School trustees voted this week to increase tuition for in-state and out-of-state students.

Comments