Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
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 ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Peters Township Native Wins Silver Medal in Speed Skating

After swine flu kept him from competing in Sochi in 2014, short track speed skater John-Henry Krueger finally won a spot on the podium at the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.

Perspectives: A Better Life

A former Pittsburgh television reporter recounts the lessons taught to him by his grandfather who spent more than four decades as a Pullman Porter.

Pittsburgh MultiStories: Phipps Legacy – The Fulton Building

With its distinctive seven-story archway, the Fulton Building (now the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel) remains a beloved Pittsburgh landmark.

Kick Back and Relax with a Baby Sloth

For $150 you can book an up-close hang out session with Vivien the two-toed sloth.

Jack Kerouac: Manager of the Pittsburgh Plymouths

In a league of his own making, the famous writer cast himself as the skipper of a (fantasy) Pittsburgh ball club.

Bucking the Trend: Gallagher’s Groovy Growing

Megan Gallagher is part of a small cadre of young farmers bucking demographic trends.

Meet the Woman bringing Dignity and Diversity to Twitter

As Twitter's vice president of intersectionality, culture and diversity, Candi Castleberry Singleton, who splits her time between Pittsburgh and San Francisco, works tirelessly to bring inclusion and respect to companies.

Where's the Flu Bug Biting Hardest? There's an App for That

The Doctors Report Illness Tracker has the scoop on germ hotspots all over the region and beyond.

Black Panther is Marvel's Best Film

Reviews of "Black Panther" and "Early Man," plus local movie news and notes.

First Look: Poulet Bleu in Lawrenceville

PM dining critic Hal B. Klein takes a look at the new Richard DeShantz restaurant ... and he has the scoop on what's next from the energetic restaurateur.

Meet Pittsburgh's James Beard Award Semifinalists

Pittsburgh has eight nominations in six categories.

Urban Beekeeping Creating Environmental Buzz in Pittsburgh

No backyard? No problem. The country’s first community apiary brings beekeeping to the city.

Dig In: The Next Wave of Pizza in Pittsburgh

Now is the time to be eating pizza in Pittsburgh. Pizza makers are crafting pies in a variety of styles from New York to Old World. We round up our nine favorite destinations.

Can Anthony Hamlet Fix Pittsburgh Public Schools?

The superintendent, and former NFL player, is using a new school of thought to change legacy problems.

5 Pittsburgh Craft Distilleries Earning a Place on the Shelf

Uncovering the hidden gems of western Pennsylvania’s craft spirit world.