The West Village, and perhaps all of Uptown, has a reputation for a rather homogenous following. When I first heard about Union Bear, the subject of this week's review, a fellow staffer called it "Hipster Island," referring to the customers the new restaurant was drawing in comparison with a typical Uptown crowd. When I visited, I noticed a mixed bag and asked the bartender what type of people typically drank at his bar.
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He confirmed the mixed crowd, and said while the majority of his customers were West Village locals, many patrons familiar with Oddfellows and Eno's also had made the drive from Oak Cliff to check out the latest offering from the Spillers Group. Folks from Deep Ellum were making the trek too, and over my four visits I scanned the crowd and saw a handful of people who looked like they spend more time at the Double Wide than they do at Del Frisco's Grille.
Mostly, though, I think the crowd is predominantly local, as most restaurants typically draw from their immediate surroundings, and those locals have something new to enjoy in Union Bear. I dig their casual approach to mindful cooking, but it's the beer that really stands out as far as West Village offerings go. No matter what they fill your glass with, each beer you order will cost you five bucks (though they'll change the size of the draft).
Not sure what you want? That's cool. I watched a couple of guys downstairs make a bartender pour them sample after sample while they tried to find their perfect match. The bartender might have thought these guys were working him for a free buzz, but you never would have known it: He was a patient and professional bartender, and the guys ended up putting in a serious session.
I'll drink to that.