Yes, there is alcohol. Let’s get that out of the way in which first, so that you don’t suspiciously velocity learn by this piece. Rest-assured, SOCIAL’s signature ‘Longest Long Island Ice tea’ won’t fob you off with simply lemon juice, Cola and enthusiasm.
To be truthful, with the town’s advanced licensing legal guidelines, Chennai did find yourself internet hosting the world’s first Hard Rock Cafe for teetotallers. Which may clarify why it took Riyaaz Amlani, CEO and managing director of Impresario Handmade Restaurants, this lengthy to carry his fashionable, neighborhood house to Chennai. (The first SOCIAL opened in Bengaluru in 2014, and since then the model has opened 27 extra in six cities.)
With the launch a few days away, the sprawling 8,600 sq. ft house that is now Mount Road SOCIAL, at Express Avenue, is filled with electricians, carpenters, painters and waiters, working to a unorthodox rhythm of hammers, drills and thumping music from the DJ field.
Despite the looming deadline, there is a relaxed power round Riyaaz and his workforce. For good purpose: Impresario, based in 2001 with Mocha – Coffees & Conversations, now has 58 eating places throughout 16 Indian cities. They are increasing so quickly that there are openings each month: they head to Bengaluru subsequent to open a SOCIAL in Indiranagar. So, this is a well-recognized drill.
In pauses between the hammers and saws, Riyaaz explains why he waited for the best property. “We are a workspace and a cafe-bar by day. We open for breakfast… so we needed a place with a high footfall.”
This has a really totally different really feel from his first enterprise, Mocha, launched 19 years in the past, first in Mumbai, after which finally in Chennai. “We had a good eight years or so in Nungambakkam, before we closed,” he says.
Mocha was a product of the early 2000s, with its over-the-top furnishings and unapologetically laid again environment, and repair. SOCIAL is a very totally different entity, created for an age of startups, entrepreneurs and cell workspaces, at a time when boundaries between work and leisure are getting more and more blurry.
“Mocha was a café for Gen X-ers like me. SOCIAL was created keeping millennials in mind,” says Riyaaz, including “People used to go to cafés for social interaction. Slowly business meetings started taking place there. We realised that they were evolving into spaces where people like to work, partly because they found it more inspiring than sitting in their office. And partly because cafés are more social…”
Which is how SOCIAL was born, six years in the past. “There was an awkwardness about how long you could linger. So we made it more formal. We added a concierge, a printer, a scanner and high speed Internet,” says Riyaaz, including additionally they encourage networking. “We are trying to create a collusion between people who can work with each other.”
There is an emphasis on every house being distinctive. “The trick behind a community space is to start something, and get out of its way,” says Riyaaz. “We like the regulars to tell us what the menu should be. Or what programming should be. Every community has its own distinct flavour.”
Chennai surfaces in the décor and menu through native graffiti artists who’ve painted the skate park on the entrance, and Marina seaside through netholi tacos, served with garlic aioli. (Chase this with their beers on faucet, which embody Hopper, Heineken and Edelweiss.) There’s a Thalaiva breakfast too, with dosas, idli, kesari and filter espresso.
Inspired by the neon-heavy 80s, the Chennai cafe-bar has generously proportioned areas, every intentionally totally different. The co-working space, Social Works, is vibrant and cheerful, with giant home windows that allow in pure gentle. The terrace options relaxed a cane cover. And deeper inside, a riot of various components unite, together with a fake swimming pool and dramatic hanging lights, making you are feeling like an additional in an old school music video.
“It’s neon, it’s retro, it’s electro. It’s post modern,” smiles Riyaaz, including “It’s a Miami, Ibiza vibe.”
Mount Road SOCIAL is at E Hotel, Express Avenue. It opens on Sunday. Call 8657989073 or 8657989072 for extra particulars.