The Union returns

The photo which accompanied a Facebook post announcing The Union Bar & Grill in Athens' return.

Lovers of beer and rock n’ roll, rejoice. The Union Bar in Athens will reopen its doors later this month, on May 25, and visitors can expect a big party then with live music throughout that week.

The Union Bar & Grill announced the date the historic Athens music venue and bar is reopening its doors on its Facebook page Tuesday.

A mysterious fire on West Union Street in November 2014 destroyed the Union’s roof, and severely burned several other buildings on the block. The rest of the block is in the middle of its own rebuilding process, with building owners hoping to open their buildings by OU’s Fall Semester 2016.

For the 18 months the Union has been out of business, former patrons and fans – students and residents alike – have waited with bated breath for the Athens institution to return. For decades the Union has been one of Athens’ foremost live-music venues, specializing in raw and cutting-edge rock n’ roll.

The Union’s opening “weekend” will begin Wednesday, May 25, and go through Saturday, May 28, according to the Facebook post. That includes the first part of Memorial Weekend. 

“...(and before you say something smart, we’re still the f’n Union and we start the weekend on Wednesday). More details on bands, times and whatnot in the coming days. Who’s ready to party?” the bar’s Facebook post reads.

Eric Gunn, co-owner of the Union, said Wednesday that live bands will perform all four nights of the opening weekend event, including a “heavy metal show” on Friday, May 27.

Gunn said he isn’t sure what bands are playing, referring questions to promoter Scott Winland. Winland didn’t return a request for comment in time for The NEWS’ Wednesday afternoon print deadline.

In terms of new features, Gunn confirmed the Union will feature a big outdoor patio behind the building; a new bar-top on its ground floor made out of wood reclaimed from the fire; all-new electrical and plumbing systems; and a new sound system.

“I never thought that it would take this long, and it’s been a long time and a lot of work on this building,” Gunn said. “I’m just super excited that we’re two weeks away, (and) to have everything relatively back to normal. We’re excited to open the doors and show off the new venue.”

Gunn said he’s looking forward to hosting “the summer’s best party.” 

The Facebook post about the Union’s opening date received a huge, positive response online, garnering almost 400 shares within 12 hours of its posting.

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