Attention, Brunswick sports fans and beer mavens: Get out your binoculars. Social Goose is coming in for a landing.
The family-friendly sports bar and pub made its debut last month at 94 Maine Street, the space formerly inhabited by sushi and hibachi mainstay Aki.
Brunswick residents and Social Goose owners Cat and Barry Hull were inspired to start the business after noticing a dearth of spaces that encompass both adult nightlife and kid-friendly fun. The two had had their eye on Aki’s space since 2012 and jumped at the opportunity to use it when it became available.
“I grew up in Brunswick. I went to high school here; our kids go to school here. My oldest just graduated,” Cat Hull said. “We just wanted to bring something that was appropriate for all ages back into Brunswick…. I think we were missing that.”
The space is expansive, featuring a gleaming dark wood bar and booths and tables for dining. Tucked behind the main dining area is a game room where patrons can shoot pool and play arcade games, all beneath a towering mural featuring the Bowdoin polar bear.
Behind the bar is a selection of 14 beers on tap. One of these is a citrusy IPA named Goose Juice, which is brewed exclusively for Social Goose by Topsham-based Crooked Keg Brewing Company. For the beer-averse, there are cocktails made with house-infused liquor like the blueberry margarita and blackberry mule.
The food menu boasts a smorgasbord of classic pub fare, including smash burgers, wings and loaded tater tots. All eats and specialty cocktails are the invention of Social Goose’s in-house chef, Jill Shepherd.
“We put out a posting for a chef, and [Shepherd] was one of the applicants. And we just connected on a personal level,” Cat Hull said.
As for the name of the bar, the Hulls didn’t waffle over the decision. “Social Goose” came to them as a perfect way to encapsulate what they wanted the vibe of the bar to be—lighthearted, fun and communal.
“The goose is a social animal. It’s a loyal animal,” Cat Hull said. “We wanted to have a social space for people to gather.”
Emblazoning the building’s facade with the Social Goose logo—designed by the owners’ 12-year-old son—was just one step of the arduous renovation process. Transforming the former hibachi house into a bar and pub required total interior overhaul: The granite countertops covering the former sushi bar had to be swapped for wood, and hibachi tables that once filled the restaurant had to be torn out of the floor. To make the change happen, the Hulls looked no further than each other and their closest friends.
“My husband and I did all of it, and our friends helped,” Cat Hull said. “We have a lot of amazing friends that know different specialties, so they all stepped in when asked. They showed up.”
With renovations complete, doors wide open and beer flowing, the Hulls are excited to be a part of Brunswick nightlife. Eager new patrons can join Social Goose’s Mug Club to get discounts on beer, as well as a special stein customized with the Social Goose logo.
The Hulls hope that Bowdoin students will become a central part of the Social Goose family.
“It’s great to have a cohesive downtown unit where you can go from one place to another,” Cat Hull said. “That way, you’re not just at one place all night. You can wander around and have dinner at one place, drinks at another, another drink at another place and then walk back up to campus.”