Social Still is a bar, restaurant, and micro-distillery in Bethlehem, PA that has taken those traditional elements, and completely redefined the way that they’re executed.

In just a few short months in business, owner Adam Flatt and his team have created an exhibit of sorts; customers don’t just frequent the place for great food and drinks, they come to experience something new and unique. Social Still is the first and only business to distill craft spirits in the Lehigh Valley since prohibition. That in itself is historic, but perhaps their best feat yet is the attention to detail and commitment that they’ve brought to delivering an unmatched customer experience.

About The Owner

Adam Flatt was born and raised around the winery business. His mom owned and operated a successful winery and vineyard in Bangor, PA, so Adam developed an interest in producing high quality wines and liquor from a very young age. After several years of working with his mom and helping carry on the business, he sought the next big project for himself. He knew that he wanted to do something in the craft beverage industry because of his background, so he ventured into distilling. Social Still produces premium, top shelf spirits. Their tasting room offers a great selection of signature cocktails, and their dining room offers table service for small food items.

Adam Flatt, Owner, Social Still

Innovation&Exceptional Service Breed Success

Without prior experience running both a distillery and a kitchen and bar, Adam didn’t have the blueprint for success going in. However, he knew that he wanted to create something special for his guests, and that it was going to revolve around an innovative product and great service. “Since prohibition, no one has been able to distill in this region, so in many ways, I feel like we’re writing the book as we go”, says Flatt. “We’ve worked hard to make our distilling process the best it could be, but we recognize that the customer experience is the most important part.”

Adam has introduced a few concepts to Social Still that differentiate it from every other bar and restaurant. For one, his bartenders are known as “chefs”. “Our bartenders aren’t just pouring drinks here. They create premium signature cocktails – putting extra care into everything that’s offered” he says, “it’s important that our customers get that tailored service that you get when you order an expensive meal at a high-end restaurant or the personalized feel of a winery.”

“Our bartenders aren’t just pouring drinks here. They create premium signature cocktails – putting extra care into everything that’s offered. It’s important that our customers get that tailored service that you get when you order an expensive meal at a high-end restaurant or the personalized feel of a winery”.

The design of the space is also unique in itself. “People come here to see something that they haven’t seen anywhere else in the state. Our main display is the production room where our alcohol is produced. Aesthetically, it is a beautiful sight to look at as you take in a drink or meal.”

All of that has been huge for their early success, but nothing rivals Adam’s personal goal of providing great service himself and interacting with his customers. “The most important interaction of the day is between myself and the customers” he says, “my staff is amazing but even after the hostess talks to a customer, I try to interact with them as well. It’s important to show our gratitude to our visitors.”

Community Support

The success of any small business is contingent on its ability to create a strong relationship with the local community. This is certainly the case for Adam and Social Still. The reception that they’ve received from their community thus far has been resounding. So much, that they were voted in the top 5 for cocktail bars in their town – an impressive accolade given the abundance of hospitality businesses in Bethlehem, PA and the surrounding area.

We’ve planned and executed our launch very carefully, but a lot of our success is due to the fact that people are really curious about the industry and the process of what we’re doing. It’s pretty fascinating and a unique experience for customers because they don’t see this often.

About the Author

Paul Nugent is a small business advocate, and Head of Marketing at ShopKeep point of sale’s UK headquarters. Paul uses his background in the startup space, along with his POS system expertise, to allow small business owners to make informed decisions within their specific budgets.