By Colin Smith
For all Index readers who are at least 21, take note: The Union offers half off for any and all orders during Friday afternoons from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. While this applies to appetizers and entrées, their wide selection of Michigan microbrews are enough to draw in any local beer advocate.
Stop in for a Bell’s Two Hearted for a fraction of the price, or drink a hard cider mixed with an oatmeal stout for their sweet-yet-sour “Black Apple.” For the biggest bang for your buck, order the New Holland Dragon’s Milk. With a formidable name, this hefty double stout at 10% alcohol by volume costs just around $3 on draft during the Friday Happy Hour.
As these beers would be too pricey for the average college student’s budget, The Union’s Friday Happy Hour is the perfect vehicle to sample Michigan beers. Order a gourmet sandwich and a draft beer that will total at about 10 dollars.
Pair a citrusy salmon burger on veggie bun with Founder’s All Day IPA, their refreshing gardener’s salad with their aforementioned “Black Apple” concoction, or a side of sweet potato fries with the Dragon’s Milk. The possibilities are overwhelming, but anything between their high quality and lowered price will guarantee a satisfying time.
The only drawback is that The Union’s live music does not coincide with their happy hour. Still, stick around long enough and the talented WMU jazz band might blast off swing tunes, or hear a small combo spin bluesy classics like Booker T’s “Green Onions.”
Hosting music every Tuesday through Saturday, The Union is a core venue for jazz music in the state. Between the Gilmore Keyboard Festival and Western Michigan Michigan’s nationally revered jazz studies, Kalamazoo offers a wealth of talented musicians.
For those finding the restaurant a bit too hifalutin during the evenings, the restaurant hosts a much more casual atmosphere when it’s less busy during the early afternoon. Seating is plenty, the wait staff is attentive, and the location on the Kalamazoo Mall gives the K student a great excuse to walk around downtown.
As a venue of jazz the restaurant is an ideal introduction to the art form for new ears, outside the K College Jazz Band of course. Moreover, The Union’s Happy Hour offers the ideal way into local beer at a discount price and a tasteful selection.