The Union Public House

Cajun/Creole | New American | Southern Comfort
One of the best

Expect strong cocktails, salty snacks, and a good time at The Union Public House from 11 AM to whenever the last locals meander out into the night. The space is ample but feels intimate, its whitewashed brick walls dotted with long pieces of driftwood art. The staff are warm and friendly, suggesting their own menu favorites and helpful pairing suggestions.

Behind the swinging doors in the kitchen, you’ll find chef Blake Rushing, whose culinary career has taken him from Orlando to London to New York City to Vancouver and now to Pensacola. Blake sources local greens, seafood from the Gulf of Mexico, and meats from Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. He likes to keep things interesting and frequently adds unexpected menu items and ingredients.

We start with two must-try staples: slightly spicy boiled peanuts with garlic and a sprinkle of fresh lemon juice, and oversized pork rinds with smoky serrano salt. Both are warm and salty, with vastly different but satisfying textures.

A Frito pie arrives in its vending machine–sized bag overflowing with juicy chunks of smoked brisket. Sweetness comes in the form of vidalia onions, followed by sharp pickled jalapeños, and a distinct Frito crunch. A rich red serrano BBQ sauce stands up to the flavor of the brisket, and it’s all topped off with shredded cheddar.

Two salads are fresh and busy. Lightly pickled beets top baby greens and are cut with a smooth truffled goat cheese mousse and shaved parmesan, sweet-and-salty walnuts, and a light vinaigrette. Local grilled fish is nestled amongst spicy arugula, grilled pineapple, cherry tomatoes, and more parmesan with freshly-cracked pepper. 

The Buffalo Fresh Catch sandwich is messy and simple, with lightly battered fried shrimp, shredded lettuce, matchstick carrots, and celery. Its Buffalo sauce has hints of vinegar, cayenne, and butter, and complements the creamy ranch. 

The sloppy Joe is my favorite; it speaks of chef Rushing’s tendency to twist the expected. It’s made with gamey wild boar that’s sweet and slightly spicy, perfectly tender. Bits of fried sage and onion as well as tangy pickled jalapeños and red peppers balance things out. A side of collard greens is a just-right companion.

Fresh, inventive cocktails are organized into perennials (year-round), annuals (seasonal), mocktails, and boilermakers (beer-based). You can’t really go wrong, but anything with beets is good. And there’s a fun two-person cocktail served in a pineapple shaker. 

The bar is a great spot for a light bite and drink, and there’s a romantic patio out back. The atmosphere is lively and fun, and on sunny days the garage doors are opened so diners can bask in the Florida sunshine.

What to Eat
The Union Public House, Cajun-Boiled Peanuts
Cajun-Boiled Peanuts
Cajun-boiled peanuts with garlic and lemon
The Union Public House, Fresh Fried Pork Rinds
Fresh Fried Pork Rinds
Fried pork rinds with serrano salt
The Union Public House, Frito Pie with Smoked Brisket
Frito Pie with Smoked Brisket
Frito pie: smoked brisket, jalapeños, Vidalia onion, cheddar, and red serrano BBQ sauce.
The Union Public House, Wild Boar Sloppy Joe
Wild Boar Sloppy Joe
Wild boar sloppy Joe with fried sage and crispy onions, pickled jalapeños, red peppers, and collards
The Union Public House, Pickled Beet Salad
Pickled Beet Salad
Lightly pickled beets with fresh greens, truffle goat cheese mousse, and candied walnuts.
The Union Public House, Grilled Fish Salad
Grilled Fish Salad
Fresh grilled fish on a bed of greens with grilled pineapple and shaved parmesan
The Union Public House, Buffalo Fresh Catch Sandwich
Buffalo Fresh Catch Sandwich
The Buffalo Catch Sandwich: fried shrimps, celery, buffalo sauce, and ranch on a brioche bun
Directions and Hours
closed now
Monday4pm - 9pm
Tuesday4pm - 9pm
Wednesday4pm - 9pm
Thursday4pm - 9pm
Friday11am - 10pm
Saturday11am - 10pm
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner, Dessert, Late Night
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

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