Happy Hour spotlight: Union Café’s Tequila Tuesday

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From the February 27, 2014 edition

On Tequila Tuesday at Union Cafe, you should be required to leave your cell phone with the bartender. I wish mine had been confiscated. With the killer drink specials, fun crowd and friendly service, I was half in the bag before I was halfway through my first round, telling people things they could have gone their whole lives without knowing. By all accounts, Tequila Tuesdays heat up the week and are worth the awkward morning after.

Drink and Food specials: 4.5

You can tell how good my tall Patron margarita ($7) was by the declining state of my handwriting, and the increasing creativity of my text messages. Though $7 doesn’t sound like an insane deal for a margarita, it only took one and a half to accomplish the desired effect. If you don’t want to drop the cash for top shelf (but you should because it’s tequila, and even if you don’t taste the difference, you’ll feel it in the morning), $3 will get you well and $5 will get you Jose Cuervo.

To offset the effects of the tequila, Union offers free chips and salsa with the option of adding queso or guacamole (both $1). The chips are pretty basic, but the queso was the perfect temperature and consistency, and the guacamole was chunky and featured a cilantro-heavy flavor. For $2, it was a full-on appetizer that could have easily fed two people.

Atmosphere: 4.5

There was a good crowd for 8:30. Warm lighting from Edison bulbs hanging from above and the yellow bar made the space particularly welcoming on a cold night. I cozied up to the bar and watched music videos of obscure pop stars (I totally forgot about Hilary Duff!) while I waited for my drink. A steady hum from conversations, music videos and bustling servers felt more like a Thursday at 10 p.m. than a Tuesday night.

Overall experience: 4.5

Union has always had a great scene that can accommodate a wild night out or an intimate evening with friends. And let’s not forget their reputation for making one hell of a stiff drink. The star of Tequila Tuesday is obviously the killer tequila concoctions that melt away the winter chill, and help you warm up to the other tequila cowboys (and cowgirls) also enjoying a Tuesday night bender on a shoestring budget.