Craft coffee and craft beer collide at Walnut Hills’ Landlocked Social House

The eatery covers the socially acceptable drinking needs of an entire day in one place, offering a solid third wave coffee and espresso menu alongside an extensive selection of beers, ciders and wines.

click to enlarge Landlocked Social House aims to become a community gathering space. - Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Landlocked Social House aims to become a community gathering space.
There’s a chronological distinction between coffee and beer in that one beverage is typically intended for the morning and the other is suitable only after the day’s work is done. Mostly.

With this in mind, Landlocked Social House, which recently opened in Walnut Hills, is covering the socially acceptable drinking needs of an entire day in one place — and with gusto.

This is achieved by offering a solid third wave coffee and espresso menu alongside an extensive selection of beers, ciders and wines. For those wondering what “third wave” means, it’s a cultural attitude toward coffee that treats the beverage as an artisanal offering and not just a blasé commodity — a similar reflection of the increased popularity of craft beer and the finer points of brewing. The first wave can be simplified to Folgers, the second Starbucks; and the third is the recently proliferated maturation of the morning brew, with a focus on ethically sourced beans and more nuanced control over the roasting process. 

“A coffee shop can sustain itself on its own, but having the beer side of things definitely just helps the business so much,” says Anne (pronounced Ah-nee) Decker, who co-owns Landlocked Social House with her husband Andrew. “I’m very into coffee and he’s very into beer, so I’d never step on his toes about beer knowledge and he wouldn’t about coffee. We respect each other’s worlds.”

Anne is the coffee yin to Andrew’s beer yang. She managed Press Coffee Bar in Dayton for several years before she and Andrew, who worked at Eudora Brewing Company in Kettering, made the move to Walnut Hills. 

“We wanted to choose a neighborhood that gave us similar feelings to where we lived in Dayton, the Oregon district in Belmont — close to downtown, but not downtown,” Anne says. “This area feels like that for us, with a really good neighborhood. There are people that have lived here a long time and really take pride in Walnut Hills, which was a draw. Also our friends own this building, and it was just a great opportunity.”

The building — an apartment complex and former vet clinic with two storefronts — is owned by Jeremiah and Becki Griswold of White Whale Tattoo, the neighboring tattoo shop. The inside of Landlocked is bright and colorful. The shop’s yellow La Marzocco espresso machine complements the green walls, exposed brick and penny-round tiles. The interior tables and outdoor signage — which concisely reads “Coffee and Beer” — were welded by an artisan friend. Even the ceramic cups, handmade by Sam Chamberlain in Dayton, are unique with their immediately identifiable specks of primary color — splotches of red, blue and yellow.

“I knew I wanted handmade cups; I knew I wanted color,” Anne says. 

Andrew concurs.

“We knew from the very beginning, no matter what we did, we wanted to make sure that — while we were extremely serious about curating a good tap list and creating a space that people would feel like home in — we didn’t want to come off as too serious,” he says. “We didn’t want it to be a black-and-white shop.”

Wood Burl Coffee roasters, owned by Press Coffee Bar, exclusively provides the beans served at Landlocked. Eventually Anne hopes to bring on a couple more roasters for pour-over options. 

The beer selection is a labor of love for Andrew — Landlocked most likely has at least one beer that aficionados of any caliber haven’t yet sampled. A recent tap list features brews like Flash Lamp white ale from locals Urban Artifact, Vous Français farmhouse ale from Oklahoma’s Prairie Artisan Ales and Baked Goods pale ale from Massachusetts’ Clown Shoes. But Andrew pays special attention to Ohio breweries.

“A lot of people in this city are really busy and don’t have time to leave and go around Ohio and try beers,” he says. “So I can bring cider and beer from around Ohio and serve them on tap. It gives me the opportunity to introduce people to something before it might be served in every bar.”

He also ventures to breweries that don’t have the capacity to distribute on a larger scale, taking Sundays off from the coffee shop to travel and pick up kegs from smaller-scale operations.

“It’s the reason we plan to be closed on Sundays,” he says. “A lot of breweries are open on Sundays but closed on Mondays, so that gives me the opportunity to go and pick up kegs.” 

After a successful first month of business, Landlocked Social House’s full food and drink menu is now available. Aside from a stellar drink lineup, the shop also offers baked goods, pastries and French ficelle sandwiches from Westwood bakery Crackling Crust and bagels from local Lil’s Bagels. The neighborhood’s Fireside Pizza also delivers to the shop.

If you want to visit Landlocked Social House, look for the benches welded to the front of the building — this was an idea Anne and Andrew got while traveling through Germany. To add an additional spot for friends to gather, they also dug out a gravel-lined beer garden in the adjoining lot, with German-style picnic tables, string lights and a surprisingly wonderful view of I-71 and the lush greenery in the immediate vicinity. 

The goal is to create a community gathering space for newbies and enthusiasts to come enjoy both of Anne’s and Andrew’s beverage passions. 

“It’s a place where people who are trying to grab the most insane tasting notes out of beer and coffee can hang out with people who just drink domestics and are interested in trying something new,” Andrew says.

Landlocked Social House 

GO: 648 E. McMillan St., Walnut Hills; INTERNET: landlockedsocialhouse.com; HOURS: 6:30 a.m.-midnight Monday-Saturday.

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