Every guy dreams of having a man cave, the kind of place equipped with self-serve craft beer, 25 TVs to properly watch sports games simultaneously without having to lift a finger to change the channel, comfortable seating with plush American flag pillows, and burgers. Lots of them. Sounds like the American dream, huh? It's close, and it's all happening at American Social.
After what seems like ages of anticipation, Fort Lauderdale's popular American comfort gastropub/bar/weekend lounge has opened on the ground floor of the Neo Vertika building (where Waxy's used to be). You know the space -- all 10,000 square feet of it. And now you'll become even more familiar because AmSo (that's what American Social likes to be called) is the kind of place you never want to leave. Not when you've got a gargantuan booth with built-in taps that fits eight people. It's like your home away from home.
Things you'll find here: Life covers filling up white space on the walls, herringbone booths, and lots of stars and stripes, from the pillows to a graffiti piece of the American flag commissioned by Alex Mijares (his work can also be found on the columns outside). Oh yeah, there's an outside. And it even has a few day bed type things, which makes it look less like a gastropub and more like a patriotic and concrete version of Nikki Beach. Makes sense since on the weekend there's a DJ and AmSo turns into a nightclub-type place.
The LED's throughout the bar and underneath all the booths turn up, and so will you, because they've got quite the selection of craft beer in addition to a 72-inch bar that's fully stocked. You have a dozen IPA's and fruit wheat hefe's, Belgians, ales and lagers. There are also porters and stouts, and even some rotating brews. Making decisions has never been so hard.
And there are handcrafted cocktails for $13 available like the strawberry basil gimlet, dragonfruit margarita or acai caipirinha, as well as wines by the glass. More decisions.
As far as foodstuff, AmSo's menu packs all the American classics and then some. Four burgers with proprietary AmSo beef blends are worth biting into. The Miami "heater" burger tops a beef patty with caramelized onions, boursin cheese, jalapeÃ±o bacon, and roasted mushrooms between a toasted challah bun.
Appetizers include a meat and cheese board, PEI mussels, slider trio, poke tuna bites, and plate of bones (grilled chicken legs with sriracha cream sauce and pan seared garlic parmesan chicken thighs). We tried the pretzel bites ($9.50), which are house baked and served with a cherry mustard dijon that's worthy of a double dip every time.
Another appetizer, the chicken and waffles ($13.50) top vanilla herb waffles with house-cured bacon, crispy and tender chicken confit, cherries, mascarpone, and bourbon maple sauce. This with a Dogfish Head 60 min IPA: nirvana.
There's a menu section just for mac 'n' cheese ($12). Cause 'Merica. And since it's a free country you can have it your way. From braised short rib and grilled chicken to wild board and English peas. We opted for the laughing bird shrimp, which are responsibly farm raised.
Entrees include chicken under a brick (half a chicken with gravy), Kansas barbecue ribs, Belgium wheat IPA braised short rib, lamb ragu, rock shrimp risotto, wild caught salmon, New York strip, and a bone-in Delmonico.
There's also sandwiches, salads, and flatbreads. The shorty flatbread ($19) has red wine beef short rib, butter roasted mushrooms, goat cheese, pickled red onions, ceringola olives, and parmesan cheese.
Tuesday nights will be craft beer night. Most beers will be just $4 (regular price ranges from $6 to $13). And on Mondays you can have the AmSo burger and fries for just $8 (regular price $15). More nightly planning is in the works, as is some type of brunch. At the Fort Lauderdale location, their brunch usually has an hour wait after 11:30 and features a limitless spread of prime rib, made to order waffles, fried chicken with biscuits, and crab legs. All for $23. "We're not sure yet what we're going to do as far as brunch goes," says manager Adam Perhosky. "Might be a la carte or it might not. We're still trying to figure out Miami, but one thing is for sure -- there will be lots of beer, sports, and music."
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Founding fathers Paul Greenberg and Rick Mijares have certainly upped the ante with the second edition of American Social. "We're excited to be in Miami," they say. "We've brought our best people from Fort Lauderdale to make this a home for the neighborhood, just like the one up north is."
Home sweet home.
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha