As The Union Bar & Grill on West Union Street in Athens is preparing to re-open after a Nov. 2014 fire tore its roof off, a recent Ohio University graduate has published a new, short documentary about what the bar meant to generations of Athens residents and students alike.

The Union's Facebook page had this to say about the video, and the bar's fast-approaching (but yet-to-be-publicized) opening date:

"Super cool short documentary on The Union," the post reads. "We're getting very close. Hope everyone is looking forward to seeing it (the bar) as much as we're looking forward to showing it off."

Documentary maker Kyle Loftus, who graduated from OU last week with a degree in integrated media with a concentration in video production, said the documentary is meant to encapsulate the bar's welcoming environment and long history as a music venue.

"It's more than just a bar and a music venue, it was a place for people to get together and feel welcome no matter if they were the sort-of jock type, or in the punk rock scene, or (a) hipster, they could all go there and talk to anyone and feel welcomed," Loftus said. "It's a place to freely express yourself creatively, and feel safe and at-home, no matter what field or area you're in. We wanted to really highlight what that meant to the community and how long that's been around... it not only impacted our generation (millennials), but it's meant a lot to generations before us."

Loftus said he appreciated seeing comments on his documentary from people recalling shows and experiences at The Union from decades ago.

The Union is set to re-open soon, but no date has been announced yet. The bar will feature a new back patio area as well as a downstairs bar-top made from wood reclaimed from The Union's walls after the fire.

Scott Winland, owner of Blackout Booking and The Union's promoter for musical acts, wrote in a Jan. 2015 email that The Union's cultural significance for Athens should not be understated.

"Athens will always need a place for the misfits from everywhere else.  I've always felt that in music and art, over time, everyone always seems to catch up to the misfits and understand what the fuss is all about," Winland wrote. "Before they do, and in order for them to get there, you need to have a place like The Union. The Union is famous for that.  Everyone was always welcome.  The venue and promoters have always taken a chance on new music, and have turned a lot of folks on to a lot of things they wouldn't see anywhere else."
Load comments