Set on the plaza at the new Regent’s Place office development, the Union seeks to benefit from its location, catering to the de-mobbed workers from the floors above.
A very short walk from Great Portland Street tube, on the south east corner of Regent’s Park, the Union (not to be confused with The Grand Union chain) can be found in the ultra-modern Regents Place development. Overlooking public sculpture on the somewhat sterile courtyard, the glass and steel exterior is mollified by some wood cladding with the venue’s moniker emblazoned in foot-high letters. Inside, the slightly cold décor – exposed ventilation, and bare concrete walls – is less minimalist and more imposing. There is plenty of seating and, if anything, too many tables, crowding the floor and making navigating the bar during peak hours somewhat of a challenge. There is also plenty of outdoor space though, which is a smoker’s paradise, and spending a sunny afternoon here is quite agreeable.
As you might expect given the location, after the 5pm bell rings the Union Regents Place is perpetually flooded with groups of colleagues relaxing after a busy day in the towers above. The atmosphere is jubilant and discussion flows over the piped music. This said, you still get the feeling that there is some soul missing here, and it is not the sort of place where you accidentally strike up conversation with your fellow drinkers. Most people seem to come for potation or some shared bar snacks, while very few seem to be dining, although there is a fairly comprehensive menu on offer from the kitchen.
By far the most popular offering being wolfed down at a rate of knots by the patrons are the meze and tapas dishes, which are perfectly nice if a little generic. They cost £3.50 each from a selection including lamb kofte, calamari, hummus and spring rolls. The mains are also good but unadventurous - expect steak sandwiches, burgers, fish and chips, and Thai green curry - but ranging from £8-£12, they are well priced and plug the hunger gap adequately.
In the drinks department the drinks of choice are Heineken, Amstel and Kronenbourg on tap alongside Guinness and a token cider. There is a surprisingly good selection of international bottled beers, including a Namibian lager. All pints and bottles cost around the £4 mark. The wine list is comprehensive with a selection of around 15 red and 13 white wines between £14 and £30. There are also some roses to choose from, and a couple of bottles of fizz at the bottom of the list.
The Last Word
It’s somewhat constrained by the cold corporate architecture that surrounds it, but the Union Regents Place has been designed with the after worker in mind and it caters very well for its target market.