The Union Social House, home to a bar, food truck and gallery, aims to fill a niche on north Main Avenue by creating a family atmosphere with games and regular live music.
Longtime Durango events planner Carol Clark opened The Union at the end of December as a “vintage game house” that provides a space for parents to have a casual drink, while their children play games, such as pinball and darts.
“It’s harder when you have kids to hang out,” she said. So the space was designed with kids in mind with lower seating and a coffee table full of games and puzzles, she said.
Since opening, it has been well received, drawing healthy crowds for games, drinks and food provided by Backcountry Gourmet, a food truck company, said Beau Lindborg, co-owner of Backcountry Gourmet.
“The place packs out. People are always playing darts and pinball, and there’s kids running around,” he said.
Clark said she hopes The Union will continue to be a gathering place and plans to offer trivia nights Tuesdays, game nights Thursdays, live music Saturdays and brunch and bingo Sundays to keep customers engaged.
“We are new and so we are testing a lot of different ideas,” she said.
Clark was interested in opening the new space to bring her existing business, Toast Mobile Lounge and Bar, inside.
Toast was started to serve events, such as weddings, and Clark said she expects The Union to also host private parties. However, she is maintaining Toast to serve off-site events.
About a year ago, Clark picked the building previously home to B&F Welding and Underground Bike Works for her new venture and renovated it into a “shabby chic” space that maintains some of the original elements, including a garage door that can be opened in the summer.
The drinks available at The Union include cocktails for $8 to $9, beers for $3 to $6 and mocktails for $4. Clark also expects to introduce alcoholic and non-alcoholic punch bowls to the menu that can be shared, she said.
The food provided by Backcountry Gourmet is served from a food truck behind the building through a window that opens into the Union. The menu features sliders, salads and fries. Some of the food truck’s sliders feature pork belly, crab cake and filet mignon.
The food truck is a standalone business, but it will serve private parties that want to rent the space, Lindborg said.
“We are working together as a union. It’s a union of businesses and friends,” he said.
The Union’s storage space could allow Backcountry Gourmet to try out new menu items and develop a separate event menu featuring appetizers and buffet items, he said.
The space is also home to a 1,000-square-foot gallery leased by The Muse Collective, a group of four artists, including a photographer, upholsterer, florist and a wedding planner.
The Muse Collective uses the space as a showroom and meeting space. But it is also available to smaller private parties, Clark said.
“It creates this union of different ideas,” she said.
The Union is open from 4 to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.