This union-themed Rainier Valley pub is a good spot for anyone in the mood for bar food — laborers and office dwellers alike.
If the name Union Bar isn’t enough to hint at the inspiration behind this 3-year-old Rainier Valley pub and grill, then the walls lined with work- and union-themed pictures will drive home the point. This place is an unabashed homage to working men and women. But given Seattle’s evolution from industrial port city to Silicon Valley Northwest, it’s not uncommon to see laborers in Carhartts sipping craft brews next to office dwellers in business suits.
The menu: Standard pub fare rules here, with some twists among the small plates, salads and bigger dishes. There’s a stuffed squash dish ($9) featuring a roasted butternut filled with farro, carrots, celery, onion, apples, white cheddar and herbs. The salad choices currently include an autumn panzanella ($13.50) made with grilled bread, kale, squash, apples, pecans, white cheddar and herb dressing.
The list of larger dinner items includes the obligatory burgers ($12.50), chicken club sandwich ($12.50) and turkey grinder ($12.50), all made with bread from Columbia City Bakery, plus fish and chips ($14.50) and mac ’n’ cheese ($13.50). But the bar’s take on the classic BLT is made with pork belly and garlic aoili ($12.50) and the bar’s specialty Union Burger ($12.50) is cooked in garlic oil.
5609 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle
Hours: 4 p.m.-11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday (kitchen closes at 10 p.m.); 4 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Friday (kitchen closes at 11 p.m.); 1 p.m.- 1:30 a.m. Saturday (kitchen closes at 11 p.m.)
Etc.: full bar; accepts credit cards; wheelchair accessible; street parking
What to write home about: Both the sweet and savory stuffed squash ($9) and the hefty Union Burger ($12.50) were satisfying takes on bar food.
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What to skip: My dinner companion’s Norma Rae veggie burger was overloaded with goat cheese and came with a patty so mushy that the sandwich started to fall apart.
The setting: Laid-back bar with ample seating and loads of labor-themed décor.
Summing up: Stuffed squash ($9), pickle chips ($5.50), a Union Burger ($12.50) and a veggie burger ($12.50) came to $39.50 plus tax.