A new sports-themed restaurant called Sports & Social has recently opened, bringing a new vibe to the popular DC nightlife scene. They hosted their grand opening on Oct. 27. With the mix of the upper echelon members of the DC community and regular sports fans, the restaurant gave a glimpse into how they will give customers the best of both worlds. The restaurant exhibits versatility to fit the younger demographic of college students and the exciting nightlife that exists in DC through sports. Due to this, the establishment truly has the potential to make its mark in the in an area of DC that is known for excitement.
Kayla Cooper, a junior political science major at Howard University and a host at Sports & Social, spoke on what the restaurant can bring to the community while working the VIP premier of the event. “We’re really trying to bring the community together… really trying to shift U Street. I do know the history of U Street, like after the 1968 riots, people might think we’re playing into the gentrification, but we’re actually just trying to do the opposite. We’re trying to bring people together with an environment in which most of whom love sports. And even if you don’t, you can just come by for vibes,” Cooper said.
Numerous televisions where sports are shown day and night cover the walls of the establishment. They also have split spaces in the restaurant for people who would like to have a more calm and relaxed dinner while watching the game. There’s also a section called The Social Club for people who would like to mingle.
The restaurant also features a versatile menu created by John Suley, corporate executive chef of Sports and Social. With Suley’s experience in cooking all around the world whether it was overseeing celebrity cruises, Royal Caribbean cruises, and even catering services at the great wolf lodge, he has been able to bring his cooking techniques he’s learned and simplify them for everyday customers.
“So what we really try to do is apply all the best techniques that we’ve learned over our career and simplify the process. We could still have great ingredients, but we can’t do 30 steps as when I worked in a mission restaurant, you gotta do four. You could still do great stuff and you can be creative about it, but it really has to be thought about how we’re going to deliver that product to the table in a time which doesn’t take too long. Plus, it’s about having the guests eat something and have that lasting memory,” Suley said.
Suley also spoke on the process of how some of their menu items are made, and how his process of cooking has been influenced by DC culture. “It’s interesting because here in DC, in pretty much all our markets, when we open up, we have a core menu. About 80% of the core menu items are from Sports & Social, and we always use 20% kind of local influence,” Suley said. “Something we have here that we don’t have in a lot of other venues are we created an amazing skillet cornbread, but it’s cornbread with cheddar and jalapeño inside. It also has that hot honey butter. It’s pretty intense. We have great nachos. We make our guacamole in-house. We make our salsa, and we fry our chips in-house. We have wings that we brine 24-hours, jumbo wings, that we have a special recipe for. You’ll see some of those influences on the menu from DC for sure.”
Some of Sports & Social DC’s top items include:
Traditional Wings (jumbo fresh, never frozen, and brined for 24 hours).
Loaded Nachos (with cheese blend, pico de gallo, fresh jalapeños, sour cream, guacamole, black beans).
Pimento Cheeseburger (with smoked bacon & pepper jelly jam, house-made pickles).
Truffle and Mushroom Flatbread (with arugula, goat cheese).
Spicy Tuna Bites (with crispy rice, sesame oil, sriracha).
While the restaurant specializes in hosting sports events, they receive bookings for many other occasions as well. Bryan Harris, senior general manager of Sports & Social DC, spoke on all the restaurant has to offer.
“Sports & Social DC is very gender fluid, it’s not just a sports bar for men. One of the most common bookings that we get are bachelorette parties. So you’ll see cars pull up in front of our restaurant. Women start their day there and then take off,” Harris said. “We’re really just trying to check all the boxes the best that we can, but more so, offering variety. Our guests aren’t just the Monday Night Football watchers. It’s the people coming in for brunch, you know, or really just coming in to get some really good wings. However, football doesn’t hurt.”
If you’re curious about what Sports & Social does from week-to-week, visit their website at https://sportsandsocial.com/dc/. The restaurant is located at 1314 U Street NW.
All article photos courtesy of Branson Brooks.