New Provo hangout provides unique atmosphere, supports new businesses

Patrons enjoy the pool table near the virgin bar at the new Provo hangout, The Social. The owners and employees of The Social want it to be a place to relax and socialize. (Photo courtesy of Trey Valdez)

The Social, located in an underground space in the Provo Towne Square, provides a new place for college-age students to hang out, study and socialize — helping promote local food start-ups along the way.

The Social opened to the public in November 2022 with the goal to shake up the Provo hangout scene.

Co-owner Trey Valdez and the others behind the business “felt like Provo was lacking one of those spots where everyone could come in, congregate and have a cool hang out spot, but also have really good original food that you wouldn’t get anywhere else.”

The Social features a pool table, board games, study nooks, a mocktail bar, a flatscreen TV equipped with gaming and streaming features and a collaborative menu featuring more than 10 local businesses.

BYU student Payton Prince said she comes by at least once a week with friends, on dates or to have a quiet place to study and work.

“I can just come in here and spend like six hours and then leave and the sun’s down and I just have been here for so long. I love this place,” Prince said.

Valdez’s vision not only culminated in a new spot to hang out, but also a continuous opportunity for local food businesses to get a start without the high costs of maintaining a separate storefront.

Valdez sympathizes with new entrepreneurs and emphasized the difficulty of heading a start-up.

“The initial costs can be super expensive. So our goal is to give young entrepreneurs a place where they can bring their food concepts or their restaurant ideas and really help them grow,” he said.

The bartender of The Social and owner of The Vibe Mocktails, Chrystal Beebe, is happy for the chance to grow her business and participate in founding The Social. Beebe shares Valdez’s vision for a place to chill in Provo. Beebe’s business focuses on creating unique, non-alcoholic drinks.

“I want to create a place in Provo where people can go alone and feel like they can talk to the bartender before they meet other people and meet friends, meet someone, and we don’t have that yet,” Beebe said.

Beebe said she appreciated the ownership’s supportiveness and commented on the ease of the process.

“I started this business with my husband in three days and we’re here on the fourth day and I was able to keep going because they are super supportive of entrepreneurs,” she said.

Beebe and her husband hope to “graduate,” as she put it, from The Social and open their own storefront. The owners of The Social charge each business a small base license that Valdez described as rent. Then “the profits go straight back to them,” said Valdez.

Chrystal Beebe mixes drinks for patrons socializing by the bar. All of the beverages served are alcohol-free. (Photo courtesy of Trey Valdez)

The Social owners not only intend to help other businesses to take off but want their business and model to spread to places like Salt Lake City and Kansas City, Missouri.

“Students are really motivated to grow and kind of build their own business … we’re passionate about helping people achieve their goals and their dreams and helping them launch themselves forward for the future,” Valdez said.

Lilly Moore, the event coordinator at The Social and owner of Lilly Event Co., makes sure The Social always has something planned for weekend nights.

“We have mocktails and we have good DJs. We’re mixing up the themes every time,” Moore said.

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