The Union Social House is a delicious addition to Durango’s bar scene

by Angelica Leicht

The Union Social House, located at 3062 Main Ave., is well off the main strip of bars in Durango. This bar and food truck haven is one of the newer additions to Durango’s drinkery lineup. So new, in fact, that I hadn’t made my way to it before the pandemic shut down life as we once knew it.

That all changed recently, though, when I met a few friends at this upscale little watering hole for some drinks and some grub recently. And now, after just one visit, I am sold on this bar.

We’d been talking about meeting up in public (gasp, I know!) for some drinks for some time prior to making our way to Union, but with life, the pandemic, and other obligations, it never came to fruition.

After weeks of promising to make time, we finally managed to get together and chose Union as the venue.

These days, it’s tough to get a table anywhere in Durango — as I’m sure you’re well aware — between the uptick of tourism and the limited space in which restaurants and bars have to maneuver the mix of social distancing and maximum capacity. So, we called to make a reservation at this bar just in case, which is something I’d never prior done to this strange, strange time.

It was a good move on our part, because we managed to get our reservation in right before the greenhouses the bar had erected in the winter were taken down. With that small stroke of luck, we were able to reserve our own drinking area outside — while surrounded by plastic shielding — during a freak cold front a few weeks ago.

When we arrived at Union Social House for our reservations, we were greeted by the hostess, who was concerned about a hole in the roof of the greenhouse we’d reserved. It had been snowing for most of the day, and was subsequently melting into the greenhouse below.

A little bit of moisture doesn’t concern us, though — so we opted to take our chances in the impromptu drinking tent.

Not that sitting inside of The Union Social House would have been unpleasant, mind you. The interior of the main building at Union is painted with eye-catching designs and houses comfy deep-seated chairs, couches, and tables, along with seats lining the bar.

It’s not all posh velvet banquette business around there, though. There are also pinball machines and vintage games, like pinball and darts, lining the walls, making it a great place to hang — perhaps even with kids — on a Saturday afternoon.

And, the stout drink menu helps. After we were seated in our (slightly damp) greenhouse, I was excited to check out Union’s extensive cocktail menu.

In addition to the standard drink fare, Union Social House offers a unique cocktail program designed in-house by some of the brightest brains in bartending in our fair city.

Lining the menu are cocktails galore, ranging in price from $8 and up. The only food available — for now, anyway — comes courtesy of the Backcountry Gourmet truck that’s built into the building on Main. Luckily, Backcountry’s fare is more than enough to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.

We ordered a round of drinks — a slightly dirty martini for one, and a house cocktail made with vodka and champagne for another, along with an old fashion and some other standard cocktails. Food came shortly after.

All of the cocktails that arrived at the table were expertly handcrafted, with the elements one would expect. Hand-muddled herbs, house-made infused simple syrup, and more than enough booze to get the head buzzing.

Even better, though? The ambiance. There’s nothing like sitting in a greenhouse with friends, laughing and joking over some good sliders and great cocktails. And Union Social House will even bring you your own Bluetooth-enabled speaker to set the mood.

We indulged, jammed out, and drank for hours on end (even though the reservations are technically limited to one hour when it’s busy). We could have stayed for much longer, but the chill of the night air blowing through the hole in the roof was enough to shoo us out into the wild to head back home for the night.

There’s no doubt a return trip is going to be happening soon, though. The greenhouses have been put away for the spring — they become “saunas” in the sun, according to our server — but I won’t be waiting until they’re put back up in the fall. I’ll just happily sit out in the warm Durango sun and sip on a cocktail instead. I have a feeling it will be just as good.

Angelica LeichtThe Union Social House is located at 3062 Main Ave. in Durango. You can reach them at (970) 769-2337 or find them at unionsocialhouse.com.

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