Union Bear in the West Village is set to open tonight. Just across from the Magnolia Theatre, the space is split between a street level, which has a large retractable windows and a bar (technically opening next week), and an underground level where there are several distinct dining areas, another large bars with over 40 beers on tap and the kitchen (opening tonight).
The Spillers Group (Eno's and Oddfellows) wanted to create a unique beer experience and has hired a brewmaster to oversee their custom-made brew system, from which they will eventually rotate in small batches of house-made brews.
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Chef John Kleifgen is running things in the kitchen. After graduating from the CIA in 2008, he worked at L'Espalier and Sel de la Terre in Boston.
The menu is high-end American fare, with dishes like a Texas shrimp po' boy, a porchetta torta (porchetta, pickled cabbage, provolone, house-made mustard on a torta bun) and a grilled cheese (creamy cheddar, charred white bread, house-made butter). Salads include a habanero Asian pear and spinach and cherry tomato.
Pizzas take center stage with combinations like tomato and thyme, black truffle salami and mushroom, mascarpone and ricotta, honey pig (honeycomb salami, fresh mozzarella, thyme oil, Texas honey and cracked black pepper), Barolo (drunken salami, roasted onion and peppers, black olives and rosemary). It's hard to stop, it all looks good -- read here for more.
The 40 beers on tap include local brews and other independents from across the country, which will definitely be a big draw for all who are interested in the craft beer movement (oh, and they also have PBR on tap). The cocktail list is small, distinguished and evolving. For now there are three: a frozen Moscow mule, Victory Dance and Strange Desire. They also have select wines available by the glass and carafe.