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Bar at Union

michela May 17, 2011 06:25 AM

Stopped into Union Bar & Grille for a drink with a friend and ended up staying for dinner at the bar. There have been some nice changes to the menu since I was last there. Shared the grilled pizza with clams. It was delicious with the which taste/flavor of chowder. Also tried the braised pork belly - perfect for a chilly night. Friend was impressed by their wine list. The bartender was helpful with suggestions but not in our face. She made a special drink called At the Gates with Gin, Benedictine & St. Germaine -- loved it. Union is back on my radar.

Union Bar and Grille
1357 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02118

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  1. m
    MartyF1112 RE: michela May 17, 2011 09:21 AM

    Went after a meeting last week, and got the chicken rillettes...WOW! Heaven on a plate.

    1. MC Slim JB RE: michela May 17, 2011 11:48 AM

      New chef (hired last year) has revamped Union's menu. I mostly like it, though I preferred the original burger formulation. Prices seem to be edging back up, but that is true of practically every restaurant everywhere. I can't complain about any place in my neighborhood that switches it up once in a while: we now avoid places like Stella that haven't changed their menus in years.


      1. C. Hamster RE: michela May 17, 2011 12:44 PM

        I still really like Union but that dark haired male "pretty boy" bartender can be a rude SOB.

        Havent been there in maybe 6 months but he was a major jerk the last trip. Other 'tenders are vey nice.

        Still like the place despite that.

        9 Replies
        1. re: C. Hamster
          omarba RE: C. Hamster May 18, 2011 02:07 PM

          Glad they kept the risotto on the menu - I love that. Went with friends last week. One of them was pregnant and the waiter brought over a mock martini for her without her asking (she had been drinking club soda). We thought how nice until we saw the bill and he charged us for it. That I don't like but the food will keep me coming back.

          1. re: omarba
            MC Slim JB RE: omarba May 18, 2011 02:10 PM

            Wow, that's a dick move on the server's part.


            1. re: MC Slim JB
              twentyoystahs RE: MC Slim JB May 18, 2011 04:23 PM

              That is wrong on so many levels; I would have said something.

              1. re: MC Slim JB
                postemotional1 RE: MC Slim JB May 19, 2011 12:00 AM

                The server should be fired.

                This is the converse of giving away drinks. The server should have ASKED "Would you like a specialty non-alcoholic drink?" I have done this on several occasions and the guests have always been pleased.

                Unauthorized freebies and unrequested charges are the yin/yang of weaselry.

                Yes, on this one i agree with you MC Slim JB

                1. re: postemotional1
                  omarba RE: postemotional1 May 19, 2011 05:35 AM

                  Wanted to say something but at that point, just so turned off I didn't even want to bother. Had the waiter a million times before and disliked him every time.

            2. re: C. Hamster
              Fort Point RE: C. Hamster May 19, 2011 07:00 AM

              We also found the bartender to be obnoxious last night but this one had no hair. Food was really escellent though. Shame they seem to be having bartender issues; it is a real turn off if you like eating at the bar.

              1. re: Fort Point
                MC Slim JB RE: Fort Point May 19, 2011 07:07 AM

                I don't get in often enough to be certain anymore, but my perception is that the bartending crew has been a revolving door at Union for a long time. It's a shame: in their early days, they had a couple of really solid guys that we liked enough to want to stop in at least once a week. Those days are long past.


                1. re: MC Slim JB
                  Fort Point RE: MC Slim JB May 19, 2011 09:17 AM

                  Agree with you it used to be a very stable a solid group of guys and gals. One in particular I remember was Lee; one of the original waiters there tells me Lee is now at Les Zygomates.

                  1. re: Fort Point
                    MC Slim JB RE: Fort Point May 19, 2011 09:19 AM

                    Yep, Lee was one of the stars I was alluding to. He has skipped around a bit, did some time at The Beehive, if memory serves; glad to know he's at Les Zyg.


            3. r
              rozziegirl RE: michela May 18, 2011 04:13 PM

              We had drinks and food at the bar Friday around 10. Pretty much ignored by the bartender and bartender-in-training despite the fact that there was only one other person at the bar - seemed to be a friend of the trainee, so that was most likely the reason. She didn't know what a gimlet was (??), and then the hostess had to help us get attention to order wine. Bummer, because the food was good.

              4 Replies
              1. re: rozziegirl
                TurnerBos RE: rozziegirl May 20, 2011 11:04 AM

                Similar experience to rozziegirl. Sat at the bar with two friends a couple of weeks ago.We each ordered a glass of wine and were then pretty much ignored. The bar was not busy. The manager stood behind us and seemed oblivious to the lack of service. It was such a challenge to get a refill we left and went to Stella - where we had attentive service. Union lost our business.

                1. re: TurnerBos
                  alakate RE: TurnerBos May 20, 2011 08:27 PM

                  I'm a fan of Union and have to say their fried clams are my favorite. Always have had solid service.

                  1. re: TurnerBos
                    Berheenia RE: TurnerBos May 30, 2011 08:38 AM

                    Should have listened to all of you but we had reservations for the dining room after seeing a matinee Saturday and had hoped to have a fun time at the bar in between. Not fun. Lackluster service and warm drinks. No offer to refill anything or inquiries about if we liked our drinks but very anxious to settle up when they saw we were heading into the dining room. I wish I wasn't born with a tipping gene but I was.

                    1. re: Berheenia
                      TurnerBos RE: Berheenia May 30, 2011 06:22 PM

                      You should have listened. And now rumor is they are taking over the Rocca space. Is Aquitaine the new Todd English??? Chef Seth Woods hasn't stepped in a kitchen in years. Jeff Gates kept things on track at Union. Haven't seen him there in a long time. They are growing too big and can't even serve a cold drink to a customer at their bar? You know there are many new places that are getting it right.
                      #Union Boston Fail.

                2. C. Hamster RE: michela May 30, 2011 06:49 PM

                  It's sad.

                  I used to love the bar at Union. Had my birthday dinner there a few times.

                  But the surly, affected service totally poisons the experience.

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