In Focus

A Social Beer Snack Concept

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Photo - Phyo Thiha

In May this year, The Social House opened its doors on a bustling street in the Yawmingyi area which is a popular area for international companies to open offices and for foreigners to live. Despite a proliferation of successful cafes, restaurants and spas, prior to the opening of The Social House, there had been limited bar options in that area which loosely covers Yawmingyi, Nawaday and Bo Yar Nyunt Streets.

The Social House has a large floor area with both indoor and outdoor seating options. The design theme is somewhat industrial with checkered black and white floor tiles and relief wooden panels, leather chairs, exposed concrete and plenty of black tubular steel.

The outdoor seating is ideal for people-watching as it is raised a few steps up from the street yet still connected to the urban vibe.

The concept behind the food menu at The Social House is beer snack culture. In designing the menu, the owners were influenced by the internationally common habit of having snacks with your drinks. There are certain snacks that team particularly well with certain drinks and they vary from country to country within Southeast Asia. There’s the Japanese Chashu (barbecued pork belly), eel pakora and pajeon (Korean seafood pancake) in the appetizers section.

The sharing plates are good for groups of friends with options like spicy Korean lettuce boom, Vietnamese BBQ lemongrass, and the most popular stir-fried black bean beef. Customers looking for a more familiar comfort dish should try the potato masala, onion rings and calamari combo which is also from the sharing plates menu. The dishes on this menu range in price from K3,000 for deep fried potatoes with homemade sauce to K9,800 for the butter-grilled tiger prawns. There is a menu of barbecue skewered chicken and pork parts including chicken liver, heart and gizzard or the less adventurous could try the pork belly.

As for the drinks menu, all the standard local beers are available as well as top imports including Hoegarden, Magners and Corona. Unfortunately, no wine is listed and the ‘Fancy Drinks’ is a confusing mix of what appears to be beer-based cocktails without descriptions. For the non-drinker there are plenty of fresh juices and smoothies.

The owners, a group of four Myanmar friends from from various backgrounds and plenty of experience abroad, recognised that this would be a prime area to open the business which they had started planning two years ago. Though not much space for parking, there is a high amount foot traffic and moreover they could see that the Yawmingyi area didn’t yet have any decent bars with a nice space for customers to socialize with groups of friends. When the opportunity came up to rent this space, they felt they had to take it. Now it seats 73 seats and gets plenty of positive feedback for its spaciousness and design.

The concept behind the bar is for it to be a neighbourhood joint, an automatic choice for people from the area when meeting friends. The atmosphere on a Friday evening proves it is just that – a vibrant ambiance with groups of friends from various backgrounds having a chat over drinks and some snacks. During the World Cup period there was a packed house for every game and The Social House earned a name for itself as a top place to watch sport, helped in no small way by games being projected onto their huge screen indoors.

There are plans in the works to open more similar ‘neighbourhood bars’ in more neighbourhoods across Yangon going into the future and to introduce acoustic music nights. For now, it is fair to say that the Yawmingyi area has a hot new contender in the dining and nightlife scene.

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Marie is copy editor and writer at My Magical Myanmar since 2016. From Ireland but living in Myanmar for the past five years, she specializes in travel writing and hotel and restaurant reviews. Her writing and photography have been published in numerous local as well as major international publications including Al Jazeera and The Irish Times. Her passion lies with exploring unknown destinations and discovering diverse ethnic cuisines."""

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