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In downtown Anacortes, the 105-year old building at 902 Commercial Ave. has been home to a flooring company,
an antique store, a hair salon, and, since January 2016, it’s housed The Union Tavern, the town’s beer-centric bar. Owner Joseph Lopez intended to establish a local watering hole that focused on beer: new styles, brews, and options from new breweries. With guidance from restaurant-savvy friends, the former Navy P-3 pilot renovated the space and composed a drink and food menu. Vintage beer cans and metal drink serving trays line the shelves in between six HD televisions, making the Union also the area’s go-to sports- watching bar.

With 18 beers on rotation, The Union’s general manager, Kendra Wagner, sits down with distributors a few times a week. For tap selection, she sticks to basic guidelines (four IPAs, light and dark options, a cider, two nitros), but she also likes to order a few surprises like a sour, cranberry-style Gose.

Cocktails are another highlight at The Union Tavern. With cocktail manager Mike Rothmeyer at the helm, Lopez said they’ve achieved a quality level of “consistent craft cocktails in a classic style.” You won’t nd Red Bull vodkas here or overly sweetened Mai Tais. The staff uses fresh juice, quality spirits, and house-made sours and grenadine. Lopez encourages staff to create their own cocktails, and the tastiest concoctions get a place on the menu.

Kitchen manager, Tyler Hobbs, takes care of the casual Pacific Northwest-style menu. Patrons can get the perfect size dish in a flavor profile to satisfy any craving. Nibble on warm pretzel bites dipped in IPA beer cheese dip ($8). Split a warm Caprese flatbread made with sliced Roma tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and drizzled with sweet balsamic reduction ($10.50).

You need to order a couple of Union Oyster Shooters ($3 each). A fresh, raw Taylor Shell sh oyster, briny capers, and a lemon wedge oat in the Union’s own spicy-sweet tequila- infused cocktail sauce. At the bottom of the glass, diced cucumber makes for a crisp, clean finale.

The Union’s hot dog and sandwich menus ll bigger appetites like the fan-favorite smoked albacore melt sandwich ($11). If you’re especially hungry try the Meatloaf Burger ($13.50): a bacon-wrapped slice of hearty, savory meatloaf topped with a house-made bourbon-ketchup glaze. It’s an updated comfort dish.

The Union continues evolving. Lopez holds himself to a high standard: “I think you have to keep trying to get better.” His focus is always on the customer experience, which includes a dog-friendly outdoor beer garden and events like Trivia Mondays, an Oktoberfest celebration, and Tuesday Brewer’s Nights where brewery representatives impart information to patrons.

The bottom line is people need a place to relax with good drinks and tasty food. The Union Tavern has established itself as that local place in Anacortes.

902 Commercial Ave., Anacortes

360.873.8245 | theuniontavern-local902.com