Food & Drink

Grey Social

A building's history, no matter how storied, generally has little significance to the people hanging out there, unless it's a former IHOP, and they're just psyched that snow will slide off the roof. Or, if people used to get all silly there, and will again, like at Grey Social.Situated along a cobblestoned stretch of Chestnut St, Grey's a throwback cocktail lounge that's undergone a two-year renovation process resulting in an old-timey drinking joint with walnut wall panels mixed w/ vintage wallpaper with wrap-around leather banquettes and an intricate three-tier chandelier hung from the exposed brick'd, high-celinged rear lounge, all highlighting the building's past as both a Prohibition-era speakeasy and a teahouse allegedly once owned by the mistress of Ben Franklin, who pioneered being all about the Benjamins. Continuing the historical homage, cocktails include tea-based tipples, like the black-tea-based Tea For Two Martini, a chai affair, and the Earl Grey-based Grey-tini, as well as a slew of turn-of-the-century faves, from the rum-fueled Old Cuban and a gin/lemon/simple syrup French 75 to The Godmother: a mix of vodka, amaretto, and an inability to comprehend that you don't wear Bugle Boy anymore. On the eats side, Grey's concentrating on small plates in the French bistro vein, from grilled octopus, smoked salmon canapes, and three varieties of crepes (poached lobster, chicken & spinach, Champignon), to steak or yellowfin & tuna tartare, beef Wellington, and sandwich boards (served w/ French kettle chips, cornichons & Pommery mustard) with choices like French dip Shabu Shabu w/ horseradish brandade on sliced baguette, crab cake sliders, and a jambon & Gruyere croque-monsieur -- also a coy way of ordering a hit in Lyon.Within a month, Grey's second floor'll be finished and available for party rentals, fundraising events, and special chef tastings, although none as special as the feeling you get while hacking into a Viva La French Toast Combo, and knowing the roof isn't primed to collapse.