Harbor Social – The Place To Be!
By Lani Gering
Let me tell you my people, it has been a long time since I have been impressed with a new concept in the hospitality realm – most specially in the sports bar arena – and I have experienced quite a few during my 28 years with the Old Town Crier. Remember when the multiple TV’s with every sport in the realm on screen came on the scene? That was pretty cool since you could watch rugby when your pals were glued to football or golf but Harbor Social (HS) has taken the sports bar experience to a whole other level. Located on the ground floor in the Gaylord – former home of National Pastime – Harbor Social has incorporated the wall of televisions for NP (don’t mess with something that isn’t broken) into an amazing interactive experience.
Interactive is the key word here. The concept of HS is to get patrons to put down their communicating devices long enough to interact with each other via eye contact and actual spoken words. The drink coasters even get into the act with fun questions that can engage the group. While we were there I got into a conversation with a couple of people of different generations regarding “Favorite Saturday Morning Cartoon?”. Mine was the Jetsons, one guy loved Thunder Cats (????) and the really old guy’s was Mighty Mouse. We had a fun conversation about things in our generations while sipping on an adult beverage and discussing the merits of duck pin bowling.
This sports bar brings people together through nine interactive games including duckpin bowling, bocce ball, darts, shuffleboard, pool, air hockey (this is my game and I can’t wait to go back), corn hole and numerous games like a table top version of the popular “islandy” hook the ring on the string to the post thing. With the 30-foot video/TV wall, you aren’t likely to miss any of the action during your favorite sports games.
In addition to a full bar, the venue serves a menu made up almost exclusively of handhelds aka sliders. Speaking of which, these chef-curated gourmet handhelds, which are meant to be shared, arrive in orders of 2, 4, 6, or 12 and incorporate well-known local favorites. Sliders come in variations such as the Marylander – a crab cake with Louis’ sauce on a brioche bun; the Politician – a DC half-smoke with sweet-hot mustard and spring onions (OMG this one is amazing); and the Clucker – free-range fried chicken with Capital City Mambo Sauce and pickled red onion on a potato bun and let’s not leave out the Valley Girl – a plant-based slider with caramelized onions and mushrooms (Way Good). French fries are another tasty option with Smoked Fries, Bay Fries or Truffle Fries to choose from and for those who are heart healthy eaters, Harbor Social offers a flavorful hummus.
The beer, wine and cocktail menu is extensive with more than 20 different beers, nearly 10 cocktails and 8 wines. You can enjoy locally sourced brews from D.C. and Silver Spring. For groups of friends – there is the over-the-top (literally) Split Happens – a rum and wine cocktail which comes in a bowling pin and serves up to 4 people. We were going to try this one out but I couldn’t wrap my head around combining rum with wine but the presentation in the bowling pin is way happening.
The food and beverage are very reasonably priced in my opinion and the concept around the idea of bringing people together for some interactive fun, good eats and drinks is worth the trip. Oh, hey, did I mention the games are FREE. Do yourself a favor and grab a couple of pals or just go by yourself and put the communication device down for an hour or two and connect with some humanity!
Harbor Social is open from 4pm until 12am on most days. The space is also available for private event rentals. Please visit GaylordNational.com for the latest information.