When our friends (parents themselves of two grown kids) offered to babysit so we could have some time alone together, we jumped on the chance. We like to keep our babies close so it wasn’t easy for us to entrust their care to other people, but we knew they were in excellent hands and that it would pay dividends toward our relationship to spend some time focusing on just each other.
We picked the right spot. We were sat in a high, cozy booth and presented with drinks and food menus that made us feel young again. We were excited to learn more about their beer offerings – perhaps the part of their menu they are most proud of – which are curated by Sociable’s “cerevisaphile” (or “beer geek”) and swapped out regularly. We tried a sampler of four and Cassie discovered her new favourite beer, Railway City’s Orange Creamsic Ale.
The restaurant was named “Sociable” after the Newfoundland cheer when raising glasses. Instead of “Salut” or “Cheers”, the call intimates a celebration of camaraderie, an ethos the restaurant has designed into its seating, samplers, even its throwback photo booth where folks squeeze together in the tiniest of spaces in exchange for that precious keepsake, a long strip of ridiculous photos.
As vegetarians we sometimes struggle to find enough options at local restaurants, but between appetizers, salads, desserts and a couple of main options, Sociable had plenty for us. We can vouch for their veggie burger which tends to fall apart but in that wholesome, homemade way. Nothing a fork can’t fix.
Their homemade, beer-based condiments are a delectable accompaniment: zucchini cascade hops relish, a Blanche de Chambly grainy mustard, and malted barley ketchup (side note: for kids, they’ll bring out a standard ketchup). Part of what makes their menu tick is its focus on local, fresh and organic ingredients, free from preservatives and additives.
The building that now houses the Sociable Tavern + Kitchen used to be Moose Wanooksi’s, another small restaurant chain owned and operated by the same Kitchener-based Charcoal Group. The makeover of the building and change of name is largely considered by locals to be a brave move as Wanooski’s was a popular place and a safe bet. But clearly the Charcoal Group wanted something different. With a view toward sustainability they reused many of the components of the old building, including the garage door opening up to the patio. They used the change of aesthetic to implement a change in business model as well, opting for sustainability, clever use of design and an energetic menu.
Our anniversary comes, sadly, just once a year, but Sociable has quite a few more frequent offerings. Every Thursday their Jim Beam, Mash Paddle beer (which we recently featured at Paris Lectures), and Bell City beers are just $4. They are also planning Oktoberfest and holiday menus and continue to be on the lookout for good local bands. The Sociable will turn one year old on December 4th, as well. Check out their Facebook page to keep up with their plans.
We appreciated the Sociable (and our babysitting buddies) for enabling a good night out regardless of our unsuccessful attempt to not talk about the kids or check the cell phone every few minutes. Our ride home was especially peaceful and… silent, that comfortable silence enjoyed by parents who still remember what it was like when they first met. Hopefully, we can do it again sometime soon.