Columbus >Food & Dining > Union Cafe
782 N High St, Columbus, OH | Directions 4321539.978356 -83.003775
Neighborhoods: Short North
Upbeat, strong drinks, friendly and sexy staff! – Nearly everyone that goes to Union is a regular. Whether they are from out of town or live in the short north, it's rare to find someone who says "this is my first time here". I think that's largely because of the 'chosen family' atmosphere for everyone there. Gay or straight, every time you enter, there is someone that you met last time you were there or regularly see when you visit. I love that.
I don't necessarily go for the food usually, but for a low to average price, you can get a decent chef-inspired meal. The drinks are so strong that sometimes you need only a few before you're feeling ready to walk to the end of the bar and tell that boy you think he's cute.
They've made some huge improvements and there is usually a video DJ playing recent hits on all the many LCD screens and also taking requests by text message.
The patio is spacious, they've added a full bar, as well as heaters for winter weather smokers. They also just installed a nice stage and some glowing countertop at the back of the bar for your entertainment pleasure. Very cool.
Union continuously brings in celebrities, but has never charged a cover. Pretty much once a month, you see some new singer or celebrity in town either at Union or Axis. Some worth mentioning are Jujubee, Jennifer Connelly, Adam Lambert, Kimberly Locke, Jennifer Holliday, Derrick Barry as Britney Spears, Ongina to name a few.
Union has been listed as one of the top 50 LGBT restaurants in the world and continues to impress me and pull in celebrities and regular patrons. The facts speak for themselves, and anyone who says otherwise probably works at Level. :)
really only good for a drink or two before you go elsewhere. – I've been going here off an on for a couple years now, since they opened. At first I loved it, now I often have to drag myself out of the house to even stomach going here. The bar itself is falling apart. It was built with very shoddy workmanship. The food is not that great. The pizzas are good and if you go early on a Tuesday night when no one else is there, you might actually get it in less than 45 minutes. The waiters and bartenders are more about socializing with their friends and texting than actually getting you a drink. That really hits below the belt when you have been tipping some of them very well over the past couple years. The TV's are a joke. I mean, really? They are worse than tube tv's from the 1980s. So music videos suck and OSU games are even worse. The sound system for live entertainment is embarrassing. The door guy, the Thuggish Marine straight guy is pretty much intimidating and rude to anyone that comes in on a Thursday night. Lately on a Thursday we just go to Level, it's a friendlier atmosphere and you don't feel like you are going to a bar where an elitist crowd that is friends with the owners walk around like they own the place. Come on people, this is Columbus, not New York or Chicago.
Horrible food, poor service, and no atmosphere – My partner and I went to Union with so-so expectations, having remembered the old Union Station (and it's reputation for poor service).
The place wasn't that busy, odd for a Sunday night., as I remembered the old Union would be packed for Sunday Night Showtunes!
Our sever messed up our drink order, forgot to order our appetizers, and then brought us the wrong food. When we received the correct food, it surely wasn't worth the wait. We complained, and a nice manager was happy to discount our food to make up for the experience. I guess that was nice of him.
On a side note, the Showtunes were terrible! When I asked what happened to the fun Sundays nights I was used to, I was told the old DJ (or I guess VJ) was let go, and Sundays have never been the same since.
That's too bad, the crowd was bored and so were we.
What happened? – Updated 10/2/08 - We'd really enjoyed Union on a visit to Columbus last year, so we were looking forward to a repeat visit on our way through town. What a letdown. Apparently, you need to know someone to be served -- we waited for 10 minutes at our table, while 2 servers were busy chatting up the table next to ours. Not one of the various servers passing by would even make eye contact. We finally gave up and walked to a nice restaurant down the street, where we were seated and waited on promptly. Too bad the Union staff doesn't seem to want our business -- we sure won't try again.
sucky service! – Warning: unless you want to be disrespected, do not eat here. Three of us went here on a Saturday afternoon for brunch. It was seat-yourself and since it was a beautiful day, we chose to sit on the patio. It actually reminded me of dining on the Greek islands except you're stuck with a view of High St. instead of the ocean. The patio was great with ceiling shades that blocked the sunlight in just the right spots and they played that upbeat Euro techno music if you're into that sort of thing. Unfortunately, what we thought was going to be a pleasant afternoon eating outside blew up in our face. We sat at our table for at least ten minutes (this is not an exaggeration) and never even received a menu! The place was not that busy, less than half of the tables were filled and three different servers walked by our table multiple times. The only thing that was ever said to us was by one of the other servers who after just arriving said someone would be right with us. We assumed they were just falling behind and were being patient until the worst that could happen, happened. A yuppy pair of women sat right behind us and in less than a minute a waiter was with them offering them menus and taking their drink orders. Perhaps I missed the sign out front that indicated in order to be served it was a requirement to be decked out in designer accessories. i knew I should have gone back to the apartment to get my Gucci sunglasses.
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