“We don’t really have a bar in this area,” said the grateful gentleman five stools down at The Social Gastropub, a six-month-old bar and bites establishment in Old Bethpage. But there are other things to be grateful for, potentially, like the impressively creative cocktail selections of bar manager Chris Leidenfrost (his own favorites include Smoke and Sage — a tequila, mezcal and lime juice option — and an elderberry-flavored take on the Moscow mule), plus the 70-plus beers on offer (“Ten percent of them are local,” Leidenfrost says).
Meanwhile, executive chef Rich Schoenacher has devised a carefully curated selection of shared plates. Among the most popular and intriguing offerings are the dry-rubbed wings smothered in an Alabama white sauce, a mélange of mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar and cayenne pepper ($11). Another hit with diners, said the chef, is the Steak on Toast, two small pieces of filet on four pieces of toast with chimichurri and arugula tossed in a lemon-thyme vinaigrette ($14). What distinguishes it? “Good quality ingredients,” says Schoenacher. Both the steak on toast and the gastropub’s burger are made with meat from Pat LaFrieda, the same northern New Jersey butcher that supplies beef to Shake Shack and many New York-based restaurants.
Housed in a space formerly occupied by the Ale House Tavern & Tap Room and M.B. Fitzpatrick’s, Social Gastropub is owned by Jeremy Rosen and Robert Phillips, and features live music on Friday and Saturday evenings, as well as a new and already-popular weekend brunch. In addition to the current menu, the pub hopes to offer a selection of seasonal dishes in mid-April. Among them: fried baby artichokes with grilled lemon and Pecorino Romano, grilled asparagus salad with prosciutto, and spring pea hummus with olives and pita.
But the Old Bethpage establishment will continue to showcase simple dishes, among them a platter-sized jumbo pretzel, not to mention the bar’s ever-popular deviled eggs, which are based on a recipe of Schoenacher’s mother.
“The term gastropub gets thrown around a lot nowadays by a lot of places that aren’t really gastropubs,” Schoenacher said. “And I just wanted to stay kind of true to it, where you’re serving current classic pub fare but with interesting twists, approachable but not pretentious.”
The Social Gastropub is at 746 Old Bethpage Rd. in Old Bethpage, 516-442-8864