Photos by Andrew Albright
It’s game time. Sports & Social’s highly anticipated Fenton location (as well as PBR Cary, located inside the hip sports bar and entertainment venue) is officially opening to the public on Thursday, Feb. 9, at 4pm—and it’s primed to be one of the coolest yet thanks to a slew of features unique to to this location.
Case in point: the 42-foot LED screen (around the same size as your standard movie theater screen!). Sports & Social’s largest media wall will only add to its exciting and intoxicating game day vibe. “Sports & Social is known for having a game experience that’s the next best thing to the stadium,” says Live! Hospitality & Entertainment SVP of Strategic Partnerships Judy Moore. “When you’re watching a game at Sports & Social and the home team scores a touchdown you’re getting cryo jets; smoke fills the air; you get the blow horns; local team chants; fan cams…” NTM activations like wing-eating contests during commercial breaks (!).
Come Super Bowl Sunday, the entertainment venue will surely be the place to be. And don’t miss a one-of-a-kind performance from Morgan Evans, aka Kelsea Ballerini’s husband, on Friday to kick off opening weekend—just one of many special events Sports & Social has planned for its Fenton location (see also: a UFC 284 watch party Feb. 11, an immersive Bourbon Street experience Feb. 18 in celebration of Mardi Gras, and brunch kicking off Feb. 19).
While Sports & Social is, naturally, known for its game day energy, there’s more to it than just that. The food program will especially stand out thanks to the company’s new James Beard-nominated executive chef John Suley, previously of Constellation Culinary Group, Royal Caribbean Cruises and now-closed Gotham Steak at Fontainebleau Miami Beach, to name just a few highlights of his résumé.
Suley is kicking up the social lounge’s popular sports bar fare with 24 new menu items debuting at the Fenton location. The menu covers all your snackable faves (nachos, wings, burgers), along with elevated dishes like cacio e pepe arancini, beef barbacoa tacos, fresh salads, a Nashville hot chicken sandwich, and a truffle and mushroom flatbread.
“Our approach was to think of Sports & Social as a really good restaurant,” says Suley. “Obviously you have the sports, the entertainment, all that energy—but we also have food that’s fun, imaginative, thoughtful and more creative. The space brings a lot of energy, and I think the food and beverage reflects that personality.”
When it comes to drinks, you’re gonna wanna sip on Sports & Social’s signature cocktail, the Crush. A Baltimore fave (where S&S is headquartered), the orange flavor features freshly squeezed OJ, vodka and crushed ice. The Cary location will have its own signature flavor, the Cary Crush, made with Deep Eddy Lemon Vodka, fresh lemon juice, agave and crushed ice. “They go down very easily, so I will pre-warn you on that,” laughs Moore. And it’s just as delish enjoyed while watching a game or during happy hour after work.
“Fenton’s got a lot of new residential development, new people moving in and a lot of great businesses,” adds Moore, “so we really want people to come out after work and enjoy what we have.”
Additional highlights of Sports & Social Cary include a second-floor stage providing an intimate concert experience (live music will be another huge draw); Crush It Tuesdays, when all Crush drinks are half-off; a year-round outdoor patio with its own Crush bar; and an area within the sports bar called the Tavern (not found at any other S&S location!), featuring lounge seating and its own bar with specialty bevs, making it perfect for birthday parties and the like.
“This is our 11th location, and this one is very special,” says Moore. “There’s a lot of elements to it that aren’t necessarily all sports. That’s what we do very well, but it’s definitely a place for everybody to come and hang out—and we hope that everyone gives it a try.”
Top menu items you should come nibble on
Cacio e pepe arancini – Like cacio e pepe wrapped up into a fun rice-based bite
Quesabirria egg rolls – If quesabirria tacos and egg rolls had a baby
Spicy tuna bites – Think what you’d get at a sushi restaurant
French onion grilled cheese – French onion soup in grilled cheese form, aka the best of both worlds
Rack Daddy – Sports & Social’s (more delicious) take on the McRib
S&S signature sundae – Presented like it was bottle service, sparklers and all (!)