South End restaurant Union Bar & Grille to close

Aquitaine Group, Boston, South EndBig changes are in store for one of Aquitaine Group’s signature south end restaurants. Effective January 1, 2015 Union Bar & Grille, which first opened eleven years ago in the autumn of 2003 will close.  Aquitaine Group, which owns Union will retain the space and reopen a new restaurant under a new name with a targeted opening for April 2015.  There is no information about the new concept, menu or who will help run the re-branded space.  However, the Aquitaine Group understands the competitive South End restaurant industry better than most and have an impressive track record.

Aquitaine Group, South End restaurant, SoWaA lot has changed since October 2013 when Union opened.  They were one of the first restaurants in the emerging SoWa district of the South End. Despite the fact that earlier that year Wilkes Passage and Rollins Square had opened, the restaurant scene in the South End didn’t cross over Tremont Street with but a few exceptions. Union’s presence with their gourmet, house ground burger and 10k Tuna changed all that and shortly after more restaurants followed.

I have a lot of fond memories of Union but the restaurant has lost its way and newer restaurants nearby like The Gallows and Boston Chops have proven to be tough competition for a restaurant that has not been updated in over a decade.  I look forward to the new space when it reopens in the spring of 2015 and wish them all the best.

5 responses to “South End restaurant Union Bar & Grille to close

  1. The Boston restaurant scene is a bit of a yawn. Here’s hoping that you doing something new and out of the box.


  2. Thank you Anonymous and Daniel.
    As an early entry into “American” restaurants in the South End 11 and greater Boston 11 years ago. We were a bit early to the dance as noted by several consistent complaints we received early on that an “all American wine list was a poor idea” and “only California and Oregon can produce great wine”, “where are the pastas?” and “do you have any thin crust pizza?” and “you are crazy to put wine from Virginia and Long Island on the list” etc.
    After more than 4000 shows there comes a time when major renovations are necessary. How do you begin renovations in the final years of a lease without spoiling your ability to negotiate a good lease in the future? And who says the landlord wants to continue with a restaurant. Rents were $25/sqf when we signed our lease 12 years ago. Now they are $60 on Washington and $80 on Tremont.
    Note fabulously successful Pastis is going to be a Renovation Hardware. We are no Pastis but that change was predicated by economics not popularity.
    Another question is do you renovate and stick to your original plan or do you change when the facts change?
    A tough position for a lease holder, the landlord, the staff and the guests.
    The fact is the South End, our staff, our customers and the greater Boston dining scene are a much different place than the hospitality world I started in as a dishwasher 35 years ago at Davios on Newbury Street and the world Union found itself in 11 years ago.
    With a fresh 10 year lease we have a new opportunity to engage our neighbors and greater Boston.
    We are excited with our plans and look forward to sharing them with you as we work through the process.
    Regards and thank you from all of our staff for your business and confidence.
    Jeff Gates


    • Thank you Jeff for your thoughtful and articulate response.
      I want to wish you much success with the renovation and re-branding.
      I can hardly wait and assure you that Sergio and I will be there when you reopen.


  3. How many South End restaurants aren’t ‘New American’ riffing on bistros? It will be nice if they bring in something truly unique, like Bronwyn or dare I dream of a Peruvian place?


  4. I am glad they are going to re-brand – I agree that the restaurant has been a bit stuck over the past few years.

    I for one am excited to see what they have in mind and all that comes with bringing it to life.



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s