What started as a hipster mecca on the burgeoning West Queen West strip in the early 2000s, has become more of a caricature of what a so-called hipster club is supposed to be. Yes, The Social is now overrun with underagers, 30-something investment banker types looking for "fresh meat," and popped-collar 905ers.
Yes, those in the "know" are so over it, as hipsters have their sights set ever-Westward and Parkdale's Wrongbar can now lay claim to be hipster mecca. However, "hipster" is a dirty word that immediately incites mildly amusing alterna-cultural debate amongst West Queen Westers that prove it has actually transcended a true definition. So, in this post-hipster age, what does it matter how we label the bar/club at Queen and Dovercourt that started it all?
The fact of the matter is that The Social is one of the few spots that can charge a cover on a Monday night and still expect a lineup outside. The bar's Monday Meetings night boasts $2 drinks until 11:30pm, DJs spinning electro all night, and a dancefloor packed with people who have no idea that the weekend is over.
From Thursday to Saturday expect to find a slew of Guest DJs ranging from local talents like St Mandrew and Mansion to internationally renowned acts like Boys Noize and The Crystal Method.
The space itself tastefully avoids overstated decor. Instead, the overall design is akin to that of a loft, with its wooden beams, exposed ventilation ducts, and stainless steel paneling. In fact, the only real standout in terms of decor is the large mural spelling out "Welfare" on the wall opposite the main bar.
Yes, it is common knowledge amongst locals that the bar was initially going to be called Welfare. Yes, many are even aware that the mural piece is entitled "Welfare: Allegory for the Death of Parkdale (As We Know It). However, it is interesting to note that when The Social first opened the mural was a commentary on how Parkdale was in a transitional stage - its death, so to speak.
The Parkdale that now exists is a far cry from the one that existed in the early 2000s and along with other similar neighborhood businesses like The Drake, The Social spearheaded this transition, this death.
As far as libations go, don't expect anything out of the ordinary. The usual domestics and premiums like Labatt 50 and Stella Artois are on tap and will cost between $4 and $6 for a pint. The bar stocks bottles of your typical imports like Carlsberg and Heineken and tall cans of Strongbow and Stiegl. Standard mixed drinks like vodka-cran and gin and tonic cost $5, but don't expect anything too fancy to be mixed for you at the bar, as it gets far too hectic for the bartenders on most nights.
Writing by Ian Leipurts