New review: Bryanston’s bar scene boosted by Social on Main

One of the most–viewed restaurant listings on our site, Social on Main is certainly vibey – but do the food and service measure up? We sent Jodi–Ann Pearton to investigate the Bryanston hotspot.

The food

This popular hangout has a decided focus on bar and snack food. There’s also evidence of a southern American influence in the form of dishes with smoky flavours, and menu items such as slaw, mac ’n cheese and greens. As the name suggests, this is a social kind of spot, so there are lots of shareable options such as a variety of snacks, flatbreads and sharing boards.

On the snacks menu, standouts include the jalapeño poppers stuffed with melted cheddar and cream cheese, and studded with little bacon bits, and the bucket of popcorn that comes flavoured in one of three ways: salt and vinegar, parmesan and oregano, or dusted with bacon. You could also order a selection of small meze plates to share at your table, such as the tempera prawns in golden batter with ginger dip, or the burned tomato and red onion on charred toast – both delicious. As far as the flatbreads go, try the version with crispy duck, rocket, cucumber, spring onion and hoisin sauce.

If you’re nursing a heartier appetite, opt for the burger of pulled barbequed pork in a homemade bun, with pickles and home-cut fries – it’s a winner.

As a finishing touch, be sure to try the Fine Mess, a delicious concoction of fresh fruit, peanut brittle, meringue, marshmallow and whipped custard.

The bar at Social on Main. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The bar at Social on Main. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.


As befits a good bar, Social on Main offers a wonderful wine and beverage list. All wines (bar the Champagnes) are South African and reasonably priced, and there’s a good offering by the glass and bottle. A superb selection of craft beers, stouts and ciders sits comfortably alongside a full cocktail list. The house selection of Social G&Ts are particularly great – the strawberry and vanilla version is a perfect combination of sweet and tart with a hint of vanilla, packed full of fresh fruit.

They have a great concept in the cocktail, wine and beer tasting wheels on the menu – it makes the selection process interactive, fun and educational.


Service can be average: this is more of a bar, so do not expect five-star, personal service. Placing of orders is rushed, but you will get what you need, and if you require a drink, put your hand in the air and wave it about and someone will come running.

The deck at Social on Main. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The deck at Social on Main. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.


If you’re looking for a great night out with friends, then this is the place to be. The clientele are aged between 20 and 35 and the atmosphere is energetic and fun, complete with loud music. Think after-work drinks or a birthday bash, not a romantic dinner.


If you’re happy to stand around and socialise, there’s a super bar area.

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