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Looks Like Union Social May Have Closed in NoMa

by Prince Of Petworth September 2, 2016 at 9:25 am 58 Comments

Located in the Elevation building at 100 Florida Ave, NE

J.C. reports:

“It looks like Union Social at the corner of FL & NY Closed permanently last night Saw the staff walk out at 6pm last night”

Union Social’s Facebook and Twitter are still live (last updated Aug. 23) but their website is down:

“Union Social is a DC Metro inspired restaurant & bar featuring American style cuisine, 20 draft beers, seasonal infusions and hand crafted cocktails.”

Seems like we waited forever for them to open too…

  • Anon

    Maybe they’re just closed as part of a Rhode Island Ave. Station theme for the day?

  • northeazy

    I never went, but sort of not a great location. No place to park; pretty dangeros roads to ride a bike on; and all the renters in the building above it probably spend every last cent of their disposible incomes on those apartments.

    • jumpingjack

      +1. I’ve never been either. It would take a special place to get me to cross what’s basically a highway to get there (or to walk under a sketchy bridge after dark).

    • Anon

      +1 I dont think a bar in the city should be catering to cars, but the area isn’t very pedestrian friendly. I also always forgot it was there

    • TX2DC

      Same. I wanted to check it out but never followed through because of the odd location.

    • TCircler

      Hm. I guess I understand this although it is literally right as you walk out of the Metro station. Literally hundreds of people walk across that street every day going to/from the Metro station. I do it. It isn’t that hard if you can follow walk signals.

      • jumpingjack

        People come from more directions than just the Metro station.

        • Anon

          But apparently they didn’t. ;-)

          • jumpingjack

            Ha. Good point.

        • TCircler

          Sure, but the point here is that this is basically right beside the Metro Station and people go to/from the Metro Station every day from every direction without issue.

      • TX2DC

        I live in DC and own a vehicle and therefore drive to a lot of my destinations. From a driver’s perspective, this is a very awkward location to access.

        • TCircler

          Not really. You can park in the parking garage on the other side of ATF for free.

          • TX2DC

            Huh, I didn’t realize that! Too late now, I guess.

    • Caroline

      The only reason I know about this place is because I’ve passed it a million times while taking the 90 bus. I guess it’s easy to get to via bus.

  • Kingman Park

    That didn’t take long…

  • It opened about a year too late to be interesting, a year too early for the massive changes coming to Union Market and the rest of NOMA, and oddly, it’s hard to get to on foot..

    • Anon

      I think you’re right. I’m in southern Bloomingdale and was happy to have an option other than seeing the same faces at Pub and the People (love you though). However it took suuuuch a long time to open that the hype died down for me. I forget it’s there unless I’m already on my way to somewhere else

  • jim_ed

    This actually kinda surprises me. It always had a lot more people in it than I would expect for a restaurant that combined all the charm and prices of the kind of restaurant attached to a Marriott Courtyard Inn.

    • TCircler

      I’d say it had a bit more charm than the actual restaurant attached to the Courtyard literally across the street. Probably an inapt comparison considering there is actually one of those right there.

      I agree though, it was busier often than I’d imagined mostly because I feel like that’s an after work kind of place and most people wouldn’t go to that kind of place near where they live.

  • pjl35

    Not surprised. The location isn’t great for most NoMa residents unless you live in Elevation. The two times I’ve been there it was almost completely empty.

  • SWChick

    :-/ I only went once during opening week but it sucks that they are closing. At the time, they didn’t have a soda fountain. I know this sounds minimal but they would charge you about 3 dollars for each can of soda. That sucked. However, the residents of Elevation and The Gale waited so long for this. I also know Gallaudet will miss their presence.

  • 11luke

    this place is a victim of the THomas circle clusterfu*&. So you have to drive there, and why not just keep driving to union market?

    • NoMA resident

      I find it hard to believe it was a victim of bad location. It’s only a block away from the NoMA metro station and is (was?) the only neighborhood bar for all of the new residents in all of those huge apartment buildings going up there. I’ve only been there once and thought it was ok. I won’t opine on the quality of the restaurant, but that location should’ve been a license to print money.

    • Mittens

      It was a victim of being low-quality and a rip-off. $7 for a Yuengling during happy hour? And that includes the timless ambience and charm of dining near the gorgeous NY Ave Bridge and Dave Thomas Circle?


      • Ashy Oldlady

        +1. I know a lot of people have high hopes for this area to become a wonderful urban utopia, but it ain’t happening anytime soon.

      • Anon

        This. The owner took the (relatively) well-off NoMa residents for blind sheep, thinking they’ll pay the ridiculous prices on account that this was the only real bar in NoMa. Turns out that the joke’s on him, eh?
        I definitely think that another restaurant/bar could fare well at this location; they just can’t assume that their clientele are stupid enough to pay $7 for HH Yuengling. Density is set to drastically increase in the next couple of years as well.

  • I don’t understand the comments about pedestrian friendliness. Like every other intersection this has a crosswalk, walk signs, etc. You stand there and wait your turn just like you would on another neighborhood block, then you walk across. If some dipshit driver hits you because they’re not paying attention, or being aggressive, it has nothing to do with that intersection, but the specific driver, and that could have happened anywhere along his/her ride home.

    • jumpingjack

      I feel much less safe walking in this area than in most other parts of the city, and I walk a lot. Cars go really fast on these streets, it feels like a highway. It’s a confusing area to drive in, so drivers are distracted. It often feels like I have to wait for a lot more walk signals than is intuitive. And the lights are long, so pedestrians have to wait for sometimes more than a minute to get a cross signal, several times over because of how the streets are configured.

      • Ok, but compared to all the other (nonexistent) restaurants in NoMa it’s pretty darn accessible.

    • Anon

      Have you tried to walk there, though? I walk to Union Market about two weekends a month, which takes me right by here. This block is the worst. Just, the worst. It’s one of the five worst intersections in the city for vehicles, in my opinion, and it’s not much better for pedestrians. Poorly designed – there is a stoplight every 15 feet, and I’d really like a word with the moron who timed the lights bc it could not be worse. So light turns green, and four cars can go bc already backed up at the next light, and then they get frustrated and block the box and the crosswalk, etc. Its just the worst. I don’t feel safe walking through there, and I don’t really feel that way at any other intersection in the city. Oh, and when I was walking by last weekend, there was a car accident right in front of me – frustrated driver gunned it to get through light, tried to pass car at high speed, and ended up taking the sides off of both vehicles. That’s just what happens when people know if they don’t make the light, it will add 10 min to their trip. Better that other vehicle than me or my wife, though.

      • agreed.

      • Yes, I’ve walked, run, and biked by here several times. There’s a Metro stop almost directly across the street from it, anyone using the excuse of inaccessibility would have a much stronger leg to stand on as a car driver than a pedestrian, in my opinion.

        • brookland_rez

          I lived in Eckington for a year and used to take the Metro from NY Ave everyday without a problem. Plus you can come out of the metro station, walk up the stairs and cross FL Ave on the MBT trail bridge. Speaking of which, this place was completely accessible using the MBT trail with out ever stepping foot on the street. All those people that live adjacent to the trail in Eckington could easily access this place. I never went so I can’t speak to the quality of the food or prices, but if they were charging $7 for a Yeungling at HH, then that would be a big problem for me.

    • Evan Tupac Grooter

      It does have a crosswalk, but if you are almost guaranteed to wait a while to cross NY Ave. NY Ave has a long green light cycle and when it does change you barely have enough time to cross. So, you pretty much have to be waiting at the light when it changes. Most intersections closer to downtown aren’t so blatantly designed for MD commuters.

      • TCircler

        Barely enough time to cross? The light is at least 40 seconds long to cross. That’s ample if you were waiting there when it turned. I do it every day. I hate that entire area, but I also live in Truxton and there is really no easy way to get from Truxton to the NOMA Metro without crossng about 20 crosswalks. You either walk past Big Ben’s Liquors, crossing that terrible New York Ave/North Capitol disaster area or you walk down Florida across New York Avenue and deal with the ridiculous and poorly time pedestrian crossings at The People’s Building.

        And if you’re coming from the Metro that way, the walk signals are timed so you cannot get from the Metro across Florida or New York Avenues in one cycle of lights. It really is stupid. But again, I think the market for this place was really the residents in NOMA (rather than Truxton) and other than the awkward walk around the ATF building (the placement of which was a huge mistake when originally built), there is a crosswalk to cross Florida to get to this restaurant by the Courtyard that isn’t particularly difficult or dangerous. And for those residents from the Gale, you just wait the light out at New York Avenue. I tend to agree with justinbc here on this. It isn’t hard. It’s just loud. I just think it’s a stupid location for a restaurant period. Put it on 1st Street in Noma.

    • Anon

      Justin, I completely agree. Yes, it’s flanked by two arterial roads and the sidewalks further east on Florida are quite close to the traffic, so it’s not particularly pleasant if you’re walking from that direction, but I don’t think it’s particularly treacherous for those coming from the south (NoMa). It’s biggest downfall is that it was reliably mediocre and grossly overpriced.

      • I don’t necessarily think it’s dangerous, though it can be. For me, it’s just a very unpleasant walk.

        • Anon

          For what it’s worth, FL Ave NE is set to be redone (train bridge to 8th, I believe) to add bike lanes and make it more pedestrian-friendly. It’s been a long while since I’ve looked at the proposals and I can’t recall the proposed timeline, but it should definitely help to make this a more pleasant walk.

    • Yep

      I recently moved out of the NoMa neighborhood and never even considered heading towards that ugly intersection for a drink. It’s not that it’s extremely dangerous for pedestrians, it’s just that I’d rather mosey over to H street or even TD Burgers than head towards a comparatively unpleasant area.

  • accendo

    Not too surprising. I went for brunch once and it wasn’t anything special.

  • AA

    I live in these apartments and I’m not surprised it went out – I was kind of looking forward to it so we can hopefully get something better in here. I went in when it first opened and was appalled at the pricing – I don’t think they had take out available at that time and not sure if they ever did set that up. I went once, using a gift card they sent to all residents of Elevation, and it wasn’t great. I think a pizza place here would be good – if something like a Pete’s opened a location here they’d have students from the university, people from the hotel, Elevation and other apartment building complexes, and would cover a delivery zone outside the range of their other restaurants.

    • NOMAd

      Peet’s could be interesting. Alternative to the SBUX already in NOMA for those that work in the area. Not sure the foot traffic to the Metro helps since it is so close you cannot finish your coffee before going into station. Could work though, so long as the high school crowds don’t make it unbearable like they do that general area outside the Metro most days.

      • Anon

        OP was talking about Pete’s A’ Pizza, not Peets Coffee. I agree that a Pete’s would kill it in this area. The only other pizza spot close to here is NY Pizza, which is horrible.

        • NOMAd

          Ahhhh. Well, I’m down for pizza too. I am not familiar with Pete’s, but an alternative to Five Guys for the walk home would be nice.

    • Adam on Hanover

      I. Would. Love. This.

      I used to live over Pete’s in Columbia Heights, and I’ve lived in Truxton for the last 6 1/2 years without a good pizza option in the neighborhood. Apizza would be a fantastic addition.

      • truxie

        I’m always a fan of more pizza, but I think Bacio’s is decent and even NY Pizza is okay when drunk!

  • textdoc

    “Union Social is a DC Metro inspired restaurant & bar”
    Well, if they were modeling themselves after WMATA, that right there explains their failure.

    • ooo


  • NOMAd

    Perhaps the prices being high is more of a reflection of the rent they were charged by the owners of the building than anything else? Maybe they needed to charge $7 for a beer to afford the space in the first place?

    • Anon

      Sure, but if that’s the case, why would the owner agree to the stupid rates?

      • NOMAd

        You mean the owner of the restaurant? There is no argument that they clearly overestimated the willingness of the neighbors to pay $7 for a yuengling. The owners of the building agreed to high rent because well, why wouldn’t they? There are empty retail spaces all over town that owners let sit empty rather than accept cheaper tenants because the relative cost to what they are making on the entire building is minimal and they’d rather not lock in a low rent tenant if they think the area is improving quickly.

  • good riddance

    I have never seen worse service in a restaurant in my entire life. Empty restaurant. All the food came out cold. Won a beer at trivia. Gave me beer. Charged me for said beer. It just seemed like this place didn’t have bad management, but no management at all.

  • lcindc

    Having moved from Logan Circle to Eckington, I was excited to give one of the few walkable spots a try a few months ago…one of the worst/most awkward dining experiences. Went for brunch once and it was empty, prices you’d pay in Logan but for good food, and the food was terrible. I had cold pancakes and my bf had a decent pork sandwich that wasn’t what he ordered…server came over every MINUTE with tons of follow up questions, ultimately having us decide if he should have the kitchen re-start one dish since it sat for so long while fries cooked on the other, etc. We had to guide the whole logistics of getting our food to the table. I ramble, but the point is I saw it as the prices of a decent Logan spot but untrained staff and mediocre at best food. The alcohol was overpriced and didn’t seem like there was any incentive to get people in the door, which you’d think there would be due to it’s inferior location. Ok, I’m DONE. HAPPY FRIDAY!

    • dcindc

      Hum, I had a similar experience… :)

      • Adam on Hanover

        Me too. The whole Metro/train concept was half-baked and poorly executed, and the same can be said for the menu and service.

  • Elevation Resident

    I live at Elevation, and I can attest to the fact that the restaurant was nothing special. There was no single item on the menu that I could honestly recommend, and the place had no special items to pull people there. Drinks were crazy expensive (and they finally made HH prices better, but it was too late).

    I also work across from this management company’s failed restaurant concepts – Second State. I thought Second State at least had an interesting ambiance, but again the food was nothing special and drinks were pricey.

    As to the intersection, I can attest to it being a poor one. It normally takes forever to cross the street, and on the weekend the lights tend to skip the 2nd Street car and pedestrian traffic several cycles before going green again. On top of that, you have the Dave Thomas Circle clusterfuck and very very little streetfront parking in the immediate area.

    This project was doomed to fail.

    • Mittens

      Eh, I disagree. If the implementation and pricing had been halfway competent, they would have made a killing. NOMA is a total captive audience.

  • brookland_rez

    Well that didn’t last long.


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