Santa Barbara > Restaurants > Union Ale Brewing Co.
Omni Catering

Union Ale Brewing Co.
No longer in business
Opened: 2009-08 Closed: 2016-01

214 State St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 845-8243

Reviews by the General Public

Don't go in with a large group, even if you make arrangement, 2/13/2015
Reviewer: Rosemary from Santa Barbara, CA
terrible experience tonight (2/13/15). Ordered Mac n cheese and tri tip sandwich at 7 :53... After checking on order multiple times FINALLY received meals after 9 pm. Very, very disappointed.

New menu is bad, not worth going anymore, 10/9/2014
Reviewer: Ryan from Santa Barbara, CA
New menu is pretty much just an over priced pizza place now. Bunch of our favorite items are gone. Given a $50 gift certificate and expected based on the old menu we could get some popcorn chicken, fries, salad and at least a couple of beers... well the popcorn chicken is no more, so ordered 1 pizza served on an upside down cookie sheet, 1 non-exciting smallish salad, 2x beers and that $50 was gone.

First visit will be my last, 2/18/2014
Reviewer: Christine from Santa Barbara, CA
Came here for the first time yesterday around 2 pm, 3 other tables occupied. There isn't really "service" so I didn't rate it. You order food and drinks at the bar and then the food is dumped on your table. Looked like a few interesting beers on tap so that's a plus, and my Firestone 805 tasted as expected. Ordered chicken nachos: chips seemed fresh, were thick and good. But I have no idea what cheese they used, it was warm but runny. And stayed runny. Good amount of fresh tomatoes, jalapeno, onion, cilantro was nice but chicken was cool and slightly smoky tasting and diced? If it's fresh smoked meat that should be advertised, it's a plus! But the diced meat seemed cafeteria style. As we were leaving two things happened which added to the "meh" nachos will keep me away. 1) family with small children changed a baby's diaper on the bench at the table, dad walked the dirty one to the back restroom but was back quickly enough to know he didn't wash his hands. 2) women's restroom at the front (near the register where you order) had both toilets not flushing and full of material. If your benches are baby toilets and you can't keep your actual toilets working - what's going into the food you serve me? I'm not a germaphobe but it's got me thinking the establishment is nasty - and that's not a good thing.

TERRIBLE, 2/15/2014
Reviewer: Hans from Santa Barbara, CA
One word describes it all...TERRIBLE! I have never been to a place with worse service. After being billed for the wrong prices, did not even receive an apology or explanation. Had to ask for them to look at the bill. I will NEVER be coming back here again. This is a mark against Santa Barbara and the nice shoppes along state street. Shame on the owner and "register girl" at this establishment. Simply atrocious!

Loving it!, 11/27/2011
Reviewer: Rian I. from Santa Barbara, CA
Found a new home for me to watch hockey at!!! They have a great menu, the chicken strips and fries is amazing!! Great appetizers and great liquor on hand. Multiple TV on various channels! I enjoy visiting Union Ale, great atmosphere & staff, Im glad they opened up!

So close!, 7/25/2011
Reviewer: Spencer from Santa Barbara, CA
I work near Union Ale and was looking for a new place to grab lunch to take to go to eat at my job. I walked into Union Ale pretty early today (maybe 11:15) and since it was a bar and a Sunday, it was dead. The service was quick and food looked so good but they made the fatal "food-to-go flaw". They put a ton of ketchup on the bun of my burger. By the time I got to sit down with it 10 minutes later, it was totally soggy. A pretty rookie mistake but I want to try them again soon and hope it was just a one-time thing. Also a weird service mistake but I got a different kind of fries than I asked for, but not a big deal since they were good.

The worst service I've EVER received, 7/23/2011
Reviewer: Melina from Santa Barbara, CA
A group of six of us headed to Union Ale last week for the first time. Our group probably comprised 50% of the total number of guests in the entire place; in other words, we came in at a point when business was slow. We stood at the bar for a good five minutes and contemplated walking out as the bartender schmoozed with some customers. She finally decided to grace us with her attention when she told us we had to order at the register. Okay, we thought, and walked the four extra feet to order a few beers. No big deal. However, things went from a slow descent to a downward spiral shortly thereafter. The woman was TOTALLY rude to us the entire time we were there: lots of attitude and very condescending. Everyone in my group picked up on it: no matter what we said to her, no matter how polite we were, this woman would find a way to respond as rudely as she could. As a result of our experience, all of us have decided to never set foot in that place again (though we may overturn that decision if that bartender ever gets fired). It's a shame, too, because the one beer I had while I was there was pretty good.

"Sombrero Girl" rewrites the charts for high quality service, 5/6/2011
Reviewer: Joshua B from Santa Barbara, CA
I never write reviews, but I owe it to "Sombrero Girl" to give her credit for the most amazing service I've ever received. Several hours into a bachelor/ette party I was starving and moderately intoxicated. While waiting in line for food a female employee in a sombrero directed me to a different line, but when I got to the front they said that line was for drinks only. She meant to help, just didn't realize I was ordering food. I completely overreacted and went to collect my friends to leave and loudly complained to them about what she had done. When she overheard, rather than slapping me, she offered a deeply sincere apology and begged to comp me some food. I realized what a jerk I'd been and told her we were square. I stayed there and ordered my (very good) hamburger, when suddenly she shows up with a platter of (also very good) fries and dipping sauces. To the owners of Union Ale: You need to make Sombrero Girl your customer service trainer and give her a raise. I was being a waitperson's nightmare and, in spite of that, she was able to keep me from leaving your restaurant, exceed my expectations, and now I've told at least a dozen people what a great experience I had. Way to go Sombrero Girl. You are impressive, indeed.

Never again!, 3/6/2011
Reviewer: Melissa from Santa Barbara, CA
I've been here 3 times. The first time was great it was during fiestas.Good food and beers, nothing brewed in-house though. We tried it again for my boyfriends birthday and I called ahead of time that day to make sure they were open and served food late (on a Friday) the girl on the phone gave me an "i dont know" answer and said it depended on when the kitchen wanted to close varying from 9-1am! She didnt seem to know anything. We got there early because we wanted to get a boot. The same girl (i recognized her voice and sense of confusion) told me there were no boots left and when I went to the front bar the man, who I assume was the owner because he told me to tell her to he said to pour me a boot. I later found that she was a supervisor..Even worse! It's mind boggling how their manangement is even a disaster! I can go to any of the other bars dt for the same food and beer but receive much better and friendlier service..

What happened?, 2/13/2011
Reviewer: Christina from Santa Barbara, CA
We used to go to Union Ale all the time when it first opened - at least once a week. Food was excellent and the prices reasonable. We started to notice that their menu started changing and thought, well, it is a new place, they are trying to figure out what works. Unfortunately, the past 3 times we've been there, their menu is just missing too many things we used to enjoy and the prices have raised significantly. What happened to their sliders? Their pizzas are $18! They are all one size now too. Tonight, we went there for a late dinner at 10 and all they said they had was pizzas or salad. Really? After this experience, we will not be back.

And we Sat at the BAR!!, 1/11/2011
Reviewer: Shawn Sullivan from Santa Barbara, CA
After being in a rut for 6 months we decided to get out of Noleta and go Downtown. We drove down State Street and saw Union Ale Brew Co and decided why not we are here? Bad Mistake! Walked into 3 different section of restaurant before deciding on the back bar. Sat there for 10 minutes before even get acknowledge. I agree with previous post about being a certain age. Sat another 5 minutes before walking out. 4 people (including ourselves) and 2 bartenders.

Why have happy hour then?, 12/30/2010
Reviewer: Mike Smith from Santa Barbara, CA
I was there for happy hr, I asked the guy at the register if it was still happy hr, he said yes, I ordered a happy hr pizza and he charged me the regular price. I asked him why he tried to charge me regular price and he said "We don't push happy hr" even though I JUST asked him about it. I like the food but the line situation in the main bar could be a lot better and I would go there more for sports if they had any of the packages.

What happened to Happy Hour?, 11/12/2010
Reviewer: Cassie from Santa Barbara, CA
I used to love coming here for the happy hour pizzas for $7. The normal price was $14, which wasn't too bad. Now they've changed the sizes. A small pizza (personal sized) is $14 (ridiculous), and it's what you get for $7 for happy hr. The new medium pizza, which is what used to be the happy hr pizza is now $18. Are you serious? They've lost my business.

writing as i wait..., 11/11/2010
Reviewer: zana from Santa Barbara, CA
It has taken so long to order that its been long enough that it could make me mad AND to write a review on here. There were only three people in line! I don't get why they have one person taking the orders and pouring beer. It takes forever.

Not happy with the new prices, 10/22/2010
Reviewer: Ben from Santa Barbara, CA
Union Ale used to have great happy hour prices, but it's not the same since they increased their prices. I used to look forward to getting a regular pizza for $7.00 bucks and nachos for $4 but those days are gone. It's a bummer that they don't have better prices any more, especially since they still don't have a standard wait staff and require you to get almost everything yourself.

Great beer & pizza!, 10/5/2010
Reviewer: Dave from Sacramento, CA
First time in sb and stopped here for one of the best pizzas I've had in a long time. Thier house IPA was excellent and they have arrogant bastard on tap! The counter service was fine.

What is going on with the food?, 10/2/2010
Reviewer: Eric from Santa Barbara, CA
It is really unfortunate, but over the past few months the food quality keeps getting worse.Food takes a long time even on a slow day. On my latest visit the garlic on my fries tasted rancid. The lettuce used for my 12 dollar Ceaser was old and gross. The service has improved. I hope to see the place improve the food. For now I am gonna have to stick with the Brewhouse.

Awesome food!, 9/30/2010
Reviewer: Josh from Santa Barbara, CA
I had to help bump this place because I go here so often. Love the happy hour - cheap, AMAZING pizzas (try the sicilian crust!) and the ribs are fantastic. The wings are pretty good, and now that they've gotten a "system" the whole experience is good. Basically, you order at the bar for your food, pay up front, get a cone, and the waiter or waitress will bring it out to you. Don't have to wait for a check, and as long as it's not too busy everything is smooth. Definitely try it!

love it - for what it is, 9/12/2010
Reviewer: Geoff H from Santa Barbara, CA
Nope - not great service here (I'm not even sure they recognize that they don't) but I love this place! Great food, generous protions, great beers (but expensive at $6/pint) and clueless personnel. You gotta know how it works - and then you can be content! It's almost self serve but I can do that. One real gripe -it's filthy! (you almost don't want to sit down anywhere). Try cleaning the seats, plates, silverware, etc.!

Where has the Scrimshaw Gone?, 9/8/2010
Reviewer: James Biesty from Santa Barbara, CA
At least once a week my companions and i would come to come in to forget the days troubles over a lovely pint of Scrimshaw served by friendly bartenders. Also the food is incredible for a bar and can't be beat right now by any other bar in it's class. Never the less we almost walked out the door when we heard the disturbing words "Sorry No Scrimshaw". Please return this fine pilsner to your otherwise ideal establishment.

Cool Place, 8/15/2010
Reviewer: Dave Lettieri from Santa Barbara, CA
The atmosphere is great, and the people are cool. Food is excellent from sliders to pizza. Order at the bar style is just Ok but not a big deal. Lots of different beers and will accommodate large groups.

gah, 7/12/2010
Reviewer: j t from Santa Barbara, CA
the service is literally nonexistant (annnnd confusing), the menu is inconsistent, the food is cold and perpetually underseasoned, the ambitiousness of the menu makes you feel sorry for them, and they don't even actually brew anything! i don't get it at all

Great food but slow service, 7/6/2010
Reviewer: Stu from Santa Barbara, CA
The food was great: terrific pork ribs, sweet potatoe fries, bacony grits, crunchy cheese bread, nice lokking sandwiches and pizzas; the beer was ok, and the kitchen was slow. Weird system of having to go to the main bar to order food and drinks but the food delivered by a waitress. We'll be back because of the food.

Food's Good, but...., 7/1/2010
Reviewer: Carol from Santa Barbara, CA
On the positive - The food is very good: Lots of variety, great french fries, and love the bread on the generous sandwiches! They had the World Cup on the TV’s – wonderful. The negative review is because of the service. Granted, we had a large (20) person group for lunch, which can be difficult. But we had made reservations, and even called again to confirm. Upon arrival, our area was not set up. The info had not been communicated to that day’s crew. However they got it ready fairly quickly, and even brought appetizers as a 'sorry' gesture – great! We were told to order at the bar. That's fine too. But maybe because the crew wasn’t prepared for us, the orders came out as slow as molasses. Our last order came out 40 minutes after submitting it – and it was just hamburger sliders! It had to be boxed up to be eaten back at work! We had a large group, but still! The first time I was there they had table service, but they got rid of it due to bad service reviews. Obviously they still need to work things out! I’ll give it another try, because the food IS good!

Union Ale - just a step below, 6/14/2010
Reviewer: Andrew from Santa Barbara, CA
This was about the second or third time I'd been there. Figured why not, maybe they're still just getting it together. It used to be Couchez which sort of missed the mark somehow, mismanagement - who knows? Now it seems Union Ale is trying to be The Brewhouse which has it pretty much down and is the established locals hangout - yeah & they're service has finally gotten better too, hurray! Not to say Brewhouse should not continue improving. Neighborhood Bar and Grill next door gives people someplace adjacent to go when it's time to move on - they sort of work in unison. Brew Co. picks up the State St and tourist crowd and is good too - of course it's just not quite the Brewhouse. Fig and Haley is nice and works well connected to it so it's just a slightly different format. Fig and Haley have been a huge help for Brew Co. Union Ale... it's not bad it's just that others have been doing it longer and better at it. Having to go up to the counter to get service is sort of lame. Feels one's at a Carl's Jr - they bring the food out too and one has to walk up and pay at the counter. At least at Carl's Jr one can get their own refills on sodas without having to flag down someone at the bar. That's just annoying. The decor is unique and interesting, parking can be difficult and is limited. The pulled pork sandwich and fries were good but they forgot to include the cole slaw that the menu said it comes with. Service is basically non-existant. Hope they sort it out and make it. Might work out okay but doubtful it will ever be anything special without major management/style of business changes. People were nice.

Changing menu frustrating, but very good!, 6/6/2010
Reviewer: Sally from Santa Barbara, CA
I have only been here a couple times, but my husband comes here frequently with friends for beers after work. I came here when first open and wouldn't eat due to lack of appealing menu items. Second time back had an awsome dinner with good friends. Didn't mind ordering at bar, who cares, the food was great and prices very reasonable. Third time back was last weekend, was excited to have the portabella mushroom burger again and it was gone! All of the burgers were gone, replaced with sliders! I don't eat beef and a good turkey burger or mushroom burger are hard to find! Was dissapointed, but still enjoyed the food that we had. Discovered their daily happy hour and loved that! Overall, really great food and good service. I appreciate a changing menu, but everytime you go in? Gets to be kind of annoying.....

not bad, 6/2/2010
Reviewer: Gabe from Santa Barbara, CA
Had a tri tip sandwich on a pretty tasty ciabatta roll. I guess the counter service isn't for everyone, solid (but somewhat pricey) beer selection. I would definitely get that sandwich again, the tri tip wasn't too tough to eat it in a sandwich and not have to really tear at it with your hands clamped firmly on the bread.

WTF is up with all the new Service, 5/13/2010
Reviewer: Carson from Santa Barbara, CA
The owners really need to figure out what they are doing. Just when I thought they finally figured out what they where doing they lose all their good staff and hire bad energy bartenders who shouldn't be in the business of service. There is one or two bartenders there who are awesome aka Jason Burke but the rest need to go. Some guy who claimed to be the new manager should be fired. Super rude, cocky and has no clue what he is doing. I probably won't come back. And def won't come if he is there. But i do like the full bar now....

Delicious!, 4/28/2010
Reviewer: Amanda from Santa Barbara, CA
We have been to Union ale several times, Food is always tasty, Service is good, I would HIGHLY recommend the pulled pork sandwich with sweet potato fries! Beers were refreshing! I happen to like the fact that you order at the bar. Absolutely better then the other "Brewery's" in SB!

Really enjoyed it, 4/9/2010
Reviewer: Dana Alexander from Santa Barbara, CA
Ok, the service wasn't stellar, though very attentive and apologetic. Ordering food from the bar is a little odd, but if it cuts costs and keeps them in business, I say go for it. The portbello burger was terrific and the fries perfect. Really enjoyed the artichoke also. It's too noisy for me in the bar (music too loud), but their patio is perfect. I will definitely go back.

needs major improvement, 4/7/2010
Reviewer: JOSE from Santa Barbara, CA
hate to writer a bad review but sometimes you must. i gone here a few times, and each time the menu is different, i have no idea why they have some stuff on the menu if it is always unavailable, also the food taste different every time no consistency someone needs to step in and help it for the better. now they have their liquor license and the food comes out even slower, some nights its fast others its so slow i got no idea whats going on in there but needs to be better, i think this will be my last visit for food beer on the other i reccomend

new chef, 4/3/2010
Reviewer: David Garcia from Santa Barbara, CA
i came in to Union Ale the other day and was sitting at the bar. I ordered the pulled pork sandwich. OH MY GOD!! so good. the BBQ sauce was to die for. While i was at the bar The Chef came out and was talking with a couple ladies who seemed to be regulars. He then came over and asked how my food was. I was happy to see the chef care about his food as much as he did. Great place to eat and drink!!

Get it Together Already!, 3/30/2010
Reviewer: Andie from Santa Barbara, CA
I tried to order pick up for lunch today at Union Ale. When I called their number posted on their website, it rang and then finally a machine picked up after the seventh ring to just say the person at...such and such number is not available. Why they wouldn't have a Union Ale recording is beyond me. When I got to the restaurant to just wait in line - between waiting to order and receiving my took 35 minutes for 1 pizza. Next, I should have checked my order based on past experiences there...but didn't, not a food order was incorrect (second time they have messed up the chicken club pizza for me). Cooks -- PLEASE READ WHAT IS SUPPOSED TO BE INCLUDED IN EACH MENU ITEM!! The best was when I asked what their phone number was (in case I called the wrong number) and the two employees at the front bar weren't sure what it was and had to look it up. Once they figured it out...I told them they don't even have a recording for the restaurant. The guy thought maybe I had called the restaurant before they opened...not sure what that has to do with the recording part. I like there food...but they REALLY NEED TO GET IT TOGETHER OVER THERE!!

Best fries ever!, 2/18/2010
Reviewer: Matt from Santa Barbara, CA
I went here for the first time and we ordered burgers, fries and pizza and they were all great... little pricey though. I'm not a really big fan of fries, but their fries are excellent and I'd go back just for the fries. You order at the bar so there really isn't much service, but the person bringing over our order didn't bring everything we asked for, so it would have been easier if we just got everything ourselves. I don't think this place will make it which makes me sad because those fries are so good.

I'll Be Back, 2/11/2010
Reviewer: Steve from Santa Barbara, CA
Well finally two of the Three Amigos decided to sit down and eat here. We arrived at noon and the place was empty… Not a good sign for a restaurant. We reviewed the menu and decided on the burgers. One with fries (mixed sweet potato/traditional) and one with salad. The burgers are appropriate size and the buns are great. The French Fries are outstanding (salad was tasty as well) and the burgers ranked in the top five. My only complaint was the price… It came to about $26 for two burgers, a little steep…. However, because of the quality, I will return (maybe on a payday:). From guys who know food-- The Three Amigos!

Not worth it..., 1/26/2010
Reviewer: Erin from Santa Barbara, CA
We live around the corner and on a soggy Sunday my husband went over to pick us up two burgers in the afternoon. At first he was shocked by the price but thought the must be great. NOT AT ALL....both orders were wrong and he ordered at the bar! He ordered a burger with bacon, mine no cheese. Both were BLUE in the middle and cold, just the outside of them got cooked at all. Fries not great. We couldn't believe it. Best burger in town is at Wine Cask Cafe.

Just really bad , 1/22/2010
Reviewer: Christine from Santa Barbara, CA
I hate writing bad reviews as I know how difficult it is to manage and run a restaurant, but I hope with a negative review comes better changes. I have previously eaten at this restaurant in November. While the food was ok I had to wait an hour for my burger to arrive, there was lipstick on my glass and we hardly ever saw our waiter. My husband had a better first time experience so we tried the restaurant again for lunch. We arrived and noticed the walk up menu and agreed with other reviewers that this could solve their slow service however it took 10 minutes before anyone took my order with the bartender helping everyone else but me. When my order was finally taken we waited and our food and it did come out a lot sooner however I wish it didnt come out at all. I ordered a cheeseburger and my husband ordered the bootlegger sandwich. We could not even tasted our sandwiches as the bread was so stale and hard and chewing our jaws actually hurt after a couple of bites. The restaurant advertises that the bread is baked fresh daily but I think they missed a day. The fries were cold and chewy and had no flavor. We were so sad and my husband made me swear to never come again. I had to agree with him. I dont know what else to say, I just wish things were better tasting as we love to try new restaurants. With no service, no booze, ok but pricey beer, and really stale bread a lot of things need to be changed, and I really want to be proven wrong.

A Little Differnt but Still Great, 1/16/2010
Reviewer: Krisa and Tony from Goleta, CA
Yep we were worried a bit too when we saw the "order at the bar" signs at Union Ale this Friday but with all the wanking going on about the poor service at the place it might just be a brilliant move. This type of set-up isn't that bad, they still deliver the food to your table and you save a bit on the tip. Its quite a common practice in Australia and really is more efficient overall. I hope this isn't the death knell for the Union because we noticed they just expanded their menu and have some fantastic new pizzas. We had the Rosemary potato and chicken and the Gorgonzola pear pizzas and loved them both, this place knows how to do the food. Good food and good beer, heck if we lived closer we'd probably eat there every week. By the way, I've always wondered how people who write reviews always seem to know who the "owners" are. Do owners have name-tags or wear special hats? I've seen individuals who I think might be an owner or perhaps looks like an owner but I'd never "say" an owner did this or that without being sure. T

Hey Allison!, 1/15/2010
Reviewer: Jenny from Santa Barbara, CA
Hey Allison went to Union Ale last week and a great experience! Talked to one of the owners about the shift to counter service and received a good explanation, he told us the main reason was to lower their operating costs thru the winter. I think it is totally unfair for you to post such a negative review to a location that you did not even visit. Maybe this type of dining (no table service) is not for you. I do agree that it is a little confusing if you have never been there before, but there is a huge neon sign inside that clearly states to order at the bar. Oh and based on the bad reviews they have received in the past on service I think they have made the right decision. Just take a look at most of the restaurants on this website... all them get some kind of bad review for service! We had a great experience, the bartender was very nice and the food was great and guess what? No bad service!

I Hear the Death Rattle., 1/13/2010
Reviewer: Allison from Santa Barbara, CA
Walked down for dinner Sunday hoping that Union Ale would finally be the great place it should be. Instead, we stood there at the empty reception area for a few minutes, looked around, noticed all the signs saying "Order at the bar." One of the owners walked by us, didn't bother to offer us a seat so we went to The FishHouse which was very nice. These guys should take a tip from John Bennett at Brophy's - get off your hands, greet your customers, be professional!

4 for 4 at Union ale, 12/12/2009
Reviewer: Krista and Tony from Goleta, CA
I don't doubt the critical reviews of the service at Union Ale but we've been there 4 times now and each time the food has been excellent to very good and the service has been quite decent. I really enjoy the unusual pizzas and was a bit bummed to see some I liked scratched form the menu last time I visited. I do agree though it is a bit cheesy to simply white-out the ones no longer offered, its standard practice to reprint fresh menus on a regular basis. We've had Pizzas, burgers and assorted sandwiches at Union and I've never found reason to fault the food in any way. I particularly enjoy the beer selection and even though you do have to keep an eye on the prices, its nice to get to try different beer's that really aren't available anywhere else. Lastly, the service issue. I really haven't found it be an issue but as I said I don't discount those that have had problems and I hope ownership strives to resolve them. T.

Still needs some work...but the food is great, 12/7/2009
Reviewer: Andie from Santa Barbara, CA
I have been to Union Ale numerous times. After reading what other people have wrote in the reviews, I would say many are right and some are downright wrong. The service does need work. We took two of our friends there from out of town and sat up front in the newly opened room thinking it would be quieter and a better place to have a conversation. We had to go seek out a waitress after 10 minutes of sitting there with no service. One of our friends had her food come out about 10 minutes before ours but it turned out for the better because her order was wrong and had to go back to the kitchen. This was not the first time service was bad or it took over 5 minutes for someone to recognize we were waiting to get menus. Overall, I think the food is is the service that needs some major help! I would also agree that the menus should be nicely printed and pizzas that they decide to take off SHOULD NOT be whited out on some menus but still showing on other is just unprofessional if you are in the restaurant business. They should be updated and changed to look fresh. We will go back, just hope that if we recommend this place to anyone else they don't have a bad experience

Food's good, service is horrible, 12/3/2009
Reviewer: Margo from Santa Barbara, CA
The fries are really good, our burgers looked good but by the time we got them they were cold. It took a hour to get our order and I had to go up to the bar to get my drink (we were seated). Our waitress was really nice, but food service is definitely not her calling, she just seemed really overwhelmed. Don't think I'll go back.

Sweet potato fries are excellent! Service, not so much., 11/23/2009
Reviewer: Justine from Santa Barbara, CA
I've been here twice now, and like the patio. Yesterday afternoon they had the cover pulled back so it was mostly like being outside. Lovely! I also LOVE the sweet potato fries (with honey mustard), and the burgers have been quite good too. Another plus is that holders of the Santa Barbara Local Card will get 20% off their bill. The service, however, was very slow. After we finished our meal, our server disappeared and we had to go in search of our check, finally asking the bartender. When our server finally reappeared quite a while later with our check, she said, "Sorry, our computer system was down. I was waiting for it to come back up so I could get this for you." How hard is it to pop out and explain that *before* we got tired of waiting and came looking for her? Luckily we weren't in a hurry to leave, but it still was aggravating and we left a very small tip. But to be honest, I will still go back because I am in love with those fries...

Disneyland Fakeness, 10/30/2009
Reviewer: Melissa from Santa Barbara, CA
Really weird place, feels like a movie set or Disneyland. They have some interesting beers on the menu, but the food leaves much to be desired. The pizza I got was supposed to have almonds in it, but came out with burned pecans on top. Pecans with tomato sauce? Is this a joke? If you substitute ingredients, you should at least tell people (in case they are allergic to something?). Anyway, weird feeling all around. The burger had barbecue sauce and mustard on it. Not good, not bad, just unnecessary. The only thing the waitress knew to say was "Are you guys doing ok?" I guess we are just ok.

Come on now...., 10/29/2009
Reviewer: Mark from Santa Barbara, CA
I recommended this place for our department lunch, today. There are nine of us. I love the food here but we were the only ones there and we sat for 10 mins with no menu! I was embarrassed because I’m the one that recommended this place. After we got our menu there was a couple next to us and he said "come on man, we've been sitting here for ten min, with no menu." Everyone like the the food but the service HORRIBLE!!!!! Train your staff better. It's no way to run a business. Our meal came one by one. Seriously? Come on now!

This left a bad taste in my mouth. No pun., 10/22/2009
Reviewer: A P C from Santa Barbara, CA
We sat unattended in the cold for like 20 minutes with no drinks, hen the server came out and asked what he could get for us and we didn't even have menus, so we had no idea what he could get for us. Then the 3 burgers took another 20-30 minutes or so, and were cold, all the fried components were cold The menu is AMAZING but it seems training is an issue in the front and back of the house if they want food to be the focus and not alcohol.

Somewhat appealing, except...., 10/15/2009
Reviewer: Tom Neilson from Santa Barbara, CA
I love the atmosphere at this "brewery", but the prices are a little steep and the servers don't seem adaquately trained?? Everyone seems a little confused as to what's going on, and they seem to have different or new people working everytime I go (been there three times since the opening), but I can tell they're trying to be helpful. The flatbread pizza and beer is pretty good.

Still getting the kinks out, 10/8/2009
Reviewer: Kristen from Santa Barbara, CA
We've been here three times now, and each time has definitely been a mix of great and not-so-great food, but unfortunately ALWAYS pretty clueless service. Positives: We LOVED the pulled pork sliders and fries, the pizzas were great, beer selection is awesome. Great ambiance, especially on the covered patio. Negatives: Every time we had really rookie servers - slow on refills, twice our orders were messed up (wrong order, missing ingredients, etc) with no apologies. One time our waitress brought food for two of us and didn't bring the last person in the party's order for another *20 minutes* - she didn't even offer to comp anything, and her only insincere apology was "the kitchen messed up, it's not my fault". She spent more time flirting with the bartender than actually helping her tables. When she finally brought the burger it was burnt to a crisp. Despite the great beer and ambience, I don't think we'll be back unless they can work out their service issues.

PERFECTO!!, 10/5/2009
Reviewer: Guido Diniz from Santa Barbara, CA
One word comes into mind when I think of Union Ale."PERFECT" I heard so much about Union ale (good and some bad) that I had to experience it for myself. As soon as I walked into the door I knew this was NO ordinary brewing company. The place was warm and welcoming and I was greeted by a beautiful blond waitress (always nice) I decided to take a seat at the bar and was greeted again by a nice gentleman.I didn't really know what kind of be to order because this brewing company was like no other. I mean they have beers from around the world and some I have never heard of. The bartender really knew his beers. he was suggesting different beers for me and letting me sample them. I decided to grab a bite to eat and ordered the Tri-tip burger....If you like Tri-tip and you like burgers this is a must have.(DELICIOUS)I could go on and on about this place but I will leave it with one word PERFECTO!!! I can't wait for my next visit.

YUMMY FRIES, 10/2/2009
Reviewer: Candy from Santa Barbara, CA
I went here last Sunday with my man for the first time. We read previous reviews and were doubtful about it but we were very surprise on the service and food. The waitress explains what our palate was like for beer and she recommended the ones we might like. So we order a sample and some food. The beer was good; we liked the hazelnut with the fries. Mmmm good. We will go back.

Best Brew co food in town, 9/22/2009
Reviewer: JS from Santa Barbara, CA
Really really good flatbread pizzas and the fries are to die for. Fun atmosphere and good service. My only complaint is there are no toilet seat covers in the bathrooms. thats it, everything else is amazing and I can't wait to go back!

It's about time!!, 9/17/2009
Reviewer: Joe Manoux from Santa Barbara, CA
I ate at Union Ale when it opened and I can't stop going. It's about time Santa Barbara gets a place like this. The food is EXCELENT and the service is some of the best I've seen. It is also so nice that the owners are always there making sure that all the patrons and enjoing there experience. (nice touch) I look forward to my next visit to the Union Ale

Great place, great food, 9/16/2009
Reviewer: Chris from Santa Barbara, CA
First of all, to those people that are complaining that the wine is too expensive, might I remind you that you're at a BREWERY. Order a beer! They have an amazing selection of beer and are constantly adding new beers. Try the Tangerine Wheat beer, and the Cheese Pizza. I never ever order cheese pizza, I need meat on my pizza normally. A friend ordered it the first time I was there and I've been hooked on it since. The sweet potato fries are amazing. Get them with the Garlic Parm topping, Honey Truffle Mayo, and the BBQ Sauce. Great combo. No complaints about this place other than service being a bit slow, but it's tolerable in a new restaurant. And the servers need to smile more. Smiling and interacting with your guests makes for a better all around experience. Great place, and I can't wait to go there again soon.

Excellent Atmosphere Great Food!, 9/11/2009
Reviewer: Karen from Santa Barbara, CA
Union Ale, this place is awesome! The first time my husband and I went to Union Ale the service was a little slow which is expected with most new restaurants but, when our food was served it was worth the wait. My girlfriends and I have returned to Union Ale twice since then, the service is better and the food again was great! Each time we return new items are added to the menu and the beer OMG! huge selection. The atmosphere at Union Ale is excellent inside and out, we have sat in the patio facing State Street and we have sat inside which has a beautiful view of the mountains my husband and I are both Santa Barbara Natives and appreciate the view. Turns out the owners of Union Ale are also Santa Barbara Natives. We'll be taking our business to Union Ale. Sorry Brewhouse we're tired of looking at the ugly car wash!

Wonderful new addition, 9/11/2009
Reviewer: Dani from Santa Barbara, CA
I think this place is great. It has inventive food and a fabulous atmosphere. I would recommend it to all of my friends.

Sweet potato fries!, 9/10/2009
Reviewer: Gina from Santa Barbara, CA
I went to Union Ale about a week ago and loved their food! I had the pepperoni pizza, and i really liked their sauce and crust. My boyfriend ordered a burger with sweet potato fries and they were AMAZING!! I will definitely be going there again! :)

$8 for a draft beer? Never again., 9/9/2009
Reviewer: Allison from Santa Barbara, CA
The 2 owners were sitting beside us at the bar intimidating the staff and looking at their iPhones being anything but friendly to the clientèle. Happy hour is from 2-5pm and 9-10pm which is just stupid and shows how cheap they are. I doubt I will be back.

Hands down the worst food experience i've had in a long time, 9/9/2009
Reviewer: Greg W from Santa Barbara, CA
I ate here twice hoping the first bad time was a fluke, but all I can say is WOW, this restaurant managed to disappoint me on every level. The menu was not only unimaginative, when the food did come, it tasted like leftovers left in the microwave too long.

Eh. Just eh., 9/7/2009
Reviewer: Andrea from Santa Barbara, CA
I based my decision to try Union Ale Brewing Co on the menu posted on their web site... both the food and drink selections on it are diverse and quite tempting. Therefore it was pretty disappointing to sit down to inkjet-printer menus straight from Microsoft Word, consisting solely of generic and unappealing salads, burgers, pizzas and wraps.... resembling nothing of the online menu. My party of four also got to share one beer menu - again hot off the Microsoft Word/inkjet printer presses. Its as though the restaurant was forced to open for business despite being ill-prepared. I can only hope the gaps are filled in because the beer I had was delicious. Service is mediocre at best - initially non-responsive about a broken table we were seated at, completely oblivious that the "Thai pizza' they served had chicken, bacon and oregano... you get the picture. Bottom line, go for the beer and fries and hope they iron out the kinks soon enough.

Awful, 9/5/2009
Reviewer: CWB from Santa Barbara, CA
Where do I even start... I'm fine with seating myself, but put up a sign or something so people don't stand around waiting for one of the 8 or so servers to acknowledge them. Our server(s) had no idea what they were doing; couldn't carry a tray, didn't know anything about the beer they pour (house or guest), zero sense of urgency (we had to flag someone down whenever we wanted to order anything), and one of them even rolled her eyes at us when we asked if we could order beers from her... this is after we waited 10 to 15 minutes for anyone to acknowledge that we were even there (restaurant was less than half full), and watching two or three servers going back and forth to the tables next to us. I have no problem with a menu printed on plain computer paper, but if they can do that for their food, then they should do it for their beer and wine. They don't because they must know how ridiculous their prices are. No one is going to ask how much a beer is, you can get a green flash IPA several places in town for between $5 and $7... so yes, we were shocked when our beers were $11 a pint. And yes, we brought it up with the manager who very kindly removed one of them. Food was just okay, but they are still very new and I could see that improving. The place looks great inside, but they were playing weird, loud, clubby music which didn't seem to fit a brewery at all. When it was Couche - maybe. But not a brewery. The servers were just plain clueless, and the owners purposely hide their outrageous prices to trick people until they get the bill. Why in the world would I ever go here when I can go to Brewhouse?

Great New Place, 9/2/2009
Reviewer: Krista and Tony from Santa Barbara, CA
My wife and I went to Union Ale Brewing on a Monday night around 6pm (not exactly party prime-time), we found the place about half full and received very attentive service. Granted I was pre-warned from earlier reviews regarding the expense of some of their guest taps so I stayed with the house brews ($5 a pint). To be fair there are several excellent guest taps that are only $6 but i can see where someone not paying close attention could end up ordering one of the $10! or $14!! beers and end up with significant sticker shock when the bill arrives. Nonetheless I found the house beers (brewed by Firestone) to be quite good and a bit more palatable than their parental counterparts. The atmosphere at Union is excellent and fits the "alehouse" concept much more than any of the others in the area. Food wise Union is great, if not perfect. They've got a great flexible menu that doesn't pretend to be haute cuisine yet still distinguishes itself from standard pub-grub. I particularly liked their cheese and seed pizza with three types of cheese, pistachios, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Definitely different and quite good too. I also like the idea that you can get any of their burgers as a burger, chicken sandwich or tri-tip sandwich, same price. Can't wait to go back. T

Waaaay to much head on the beer! , 9/2/2009
Reviewer: Daniel from Goleta, CA
Where do I start. Well, lets see! I am not a fan of restaurants that let you seat yourself, because our waitress ignored us for a long time before we could get any water let alone beer and food. After we ordered our food she came back with my $10 beer that had way to much head. I had to ask her to go back to the bar to get rid of head with more beer. The food was great but pricey for what it was, especially the beers. Last but not least their menu's are printed on plain white paper. If your not ready to get a nicer menu then don't open your brewery. They need to work on the selection of the menu. The limited offerings are burgers, pizza,and wraps.

Nothing special, 9/1/2009
Reviewer: christopher from Santa Barbara, CA
Nothing to special about this place. Good beer selection, but their food menu is horrible. Theres only really 3 things to choose from; pizza, hamburgers, or salad. And 12$ plus tax for about the same burger you can get from the habit? Most of the food is overpriced and service is okay. I suggest skipping this place unless its happy hour and you are not hungry lol

Very Good, Great Potential, 8/31/2009
Reviewer: Miguel from Santa Barbara, CA
I think they did a great job with the interior. A bit loud in the bar area, but great for seeing a game. Beer was perfect, cold and flavorful. Menu is small, but was great bar food and well made for what it was. They have the best stake fries in town hands down. Service needs a bit of work, we walked in the front door and no one greeted us, but as we made our way to the bar and they were very attentive. I recommend it and I will support them going forward. I say this place is a great addition to Santa Barbara Lower State Street business. Give them time and understand that they are new, so they may not be perfect quite yet. They will get there. Best of luck to them and I hope they can get the local business they need to keep them thriving!

How long do you have to wait for someone to notice you?, 8/30/2009
Reviewer: Marie from Santa Barbara, CA
It was my first time dinning there. I waited maybe 5 minutes for someone to discover my husband and I were living beings. The group next to where we sat were served right away and had no problems. Seems you have to be a certian age to get noticed. Anyway as we were about to leave a server came by discovered we were lving beings. Well the food was ok, according to my husband the beer was great. I think next time we will go just to have a drink and not food.

Great service, good food, 8/27/2009
Reviewer: PDo from Santa Barbara, CA
We were a group of 5 that came in last Friday at 9:30 PM. This place was super crowded and very loud with people talking. It's a fun, great atmosphere with an exciting heartbeat about it. Our waitress was awesome. She brought us drinks immediately and our food came really fast. The only complaint we had was the Tri-tip sandwich was a bit overcooked. Our other meals were yummy. Definitely try the sweet potato fries and mushroom burger combo! Their beer menu is huge. To our surprise, some of their beers were on Happy Hour and was only $2! I'd definitely come back again.

Great food, great beer selection, 8/26/2009
Reviewer: Jim Jordan from Santa Barbara, CA
Loved the atmosphere. It will become the beer drinker's place to go with their fantastic selection. Best of all is their basic, but delicious food. The tri tip burger with feta was one of the best burgers I've ever had. The sweet potato fries were also fantastic. I'll be back.

Misleading Happy Hour: $2 Pints are actually $4, 8/26/2009
Reviewer: CS from Santa Barbara, CA
Union Ale needs to fix their happy hour pricing! The place looks great, the 'house" beers are good and they also have some excellent 'guest' beers, but their happy hour isn't very happy. It's advertised as $2/Pint for of any of the non-guest beers(guest beers are pricey btw $7-10!). However this is before tax and it seems the bartenders don't like receiving change for a tip so they tell you its $3/pint before tip, so w/ tip happy hour beers work out to be $4. Management needs to train the bartenders not to lie and pass off $2.18 beer as $3 before tip or adjust the pricing so it actually works out to be $2/pint, $3 with tip. I like this place and what it to succeed but the shiesty bartenders/happy hour thing leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

WAY too expensive, 8/26/2009
Reviewer: GMH from Santa Barbara, CA
They have a great beer selection but their prices are insane. Who wants to spend $9-$14 a pint if you want a beer other than Firestone? Lower your prices if you want locals coming back. Until then, I'll go to one of the local breweries that actually makes their own beer.

Great food!!, 8/24/2009
Reviewer: Taylor from Santa Barbara, CA
Been here twice now and love it. The decor is great and the food is amazing and creative! There fries and the dipping sauces to go with our amazing. Get the Truffle Honey & Peppercorn Ranch dipping sauce. Will be going back many many more times. Well done!!

Good food, but way overpriced, 8/24/2009
Reviewer: SBLocal from Santa Barbara, CA
We had lunch on Sunday when it was quiet. The wait staff was lovely, the food was really good (pizza) and the beer was decent. But, $10 for a guest beer is ridiculous, and $62 for a lunch of two pizzas and 3 beers is too much. No reason to go back when there is the Brewhouse, Brew Co and Hollister Brewing as competition.

I am not impressed, 8/23/2009
Reviewer: Chris from Santa Barbara, CA
I am extremely unimpressed with the service I received at this restaurant. The restaurant displays a sign which reads "$2 pints 7 days a week 9pm-12am", which is terrific, but not when the bartender is trying to stiff you for a few extra bucks. My girlfriend ordered a pint of Hefeweizen for $2 which came out to be $2.18 with tax. 30 seconds later I order the exact same thing from the exact same male bartender, except my drink is $3. After some suspiciousness I am given some spiel from him about how the Hefeweizen's are $3 because of god only knows why. Now I can tell you right now this is pure BS, and not exactly the right move to pull when you're a brand new bartender at a brand new restaurant. 10 minutes later I return to the bar to get another pint when the girl in front of me asks the same bartender "which beers are $2?" and he points to a bunch including the one I had just ordered. After, I ask him if I can have a "TWO DOLLAR Hef," and I hand him a five. My change was $2.85 yet he only hands me two dollars and keeps the rest of the change cuffed under his hand. At this point I'm just completely over this joint and the horrible service I received that I just walk away, and I will never return.

Union Ale A++++, 8/22/2009
Reviewer: PJD from Santa Barbara, CA
I went to Union Ale with 4 friends tonight. It was totally crowded with Friday 9 PM traffic. We barely got an open table. Our server was terrific! She got our drink orders perfectly, then our food came extremely fast. YUMMY!!!!! We had a friend who wanted orange slices for his beer and sure enuf, she brought them to our table.... 3 times! I'd say, this place RULES! It's very LOUDDDDDDDDDDDDD, but fun to be around with friends.

Off to an Excellent Start, 8/19/2009
Reviewer: Tyler from Santa Barbara, CA
It's so nice to see something happening at this location after years of dormancy. Love what they did with the decor. Amazing draught beer selection with several unique options. Wine prices very high, with limited selections, but they'll work that out. Food menu was also limited, but what we had left nothing to be desired. BBQ Chicken Flatbread was one of the most attractive dishes I've ever seen with the taste to match. The crust is a knockout! Union Salad was big, fresh and flavorful. It's the salad we've been looking for. This place has a very bright future.

Still working the bigs out. Great food!, 8/16/2009
Reviewer: EDG from Santa Barbara, CA
Service was awkward as they r still trying to get their system down. Food was excellent. Amazing bread and pizza. I hope they figure it out. Great look inside. Interesting menu. I'll be back.

Great Place for Lunch and Beer, 8/15/2009
Reviewer: Tom from Santa Barbara, CA
The ambiance was great. We ate out on the patio and had two of the best pizza's we have ever had. We did a sampling of the beer and they were all great! i highly recommend this restuarant/brewery!!

Worst Service Ever, 8/15/2009
Reviewer: Tiffany from Santa Barbara, CA
Yes the place is new, and yes we granted them some slack because of that fact, but there is no excuse for our experience. 1) Brander Sauv Blanc for $14 a glass is just offensive. 2) We ordered a beer at the bar, sat down, and then my husband went to order our dinner at the counter. He returned 45 MINUTES later. There was a mix up with the register, he was ignored for 20 minutes - anyway, it was a very poor display of caring for customers. They comped the meal, which was nice and shows they are trying. But then, and this is the best part, 3) when our meals arrived, there was no salad dressing on the salad. So we asked the waiter to please bring some. He said they only had Ranch, and the other alternative was MUSTARD. ON MY SALAD. MUSTARD? Anyway. We may return in a few months if they work the kinks out and get some sound proofing done. The fries were good.

Absurd Prices! $20.00 for 1 beer and 1 house Wine! , 8/14/2009
Reviewer: Jason Schmidt from Santa Barbara, CA
Terrible experience, I am not sure where to begin. I will not go back to this place and going to make sure and tell people my experience. My Girlfriend and I ordered 1 beer and 1 glass of "house"wine. We then ordered food which was on the menu. Twenty minutes later, our waiter came over and said that one of the items is not available, it took twenty minutes for this to happen. I then told him we will just take the check, I am not going to eat by myself, my Girlfriend only wanted one thing to eat there. Our check came and it was $20.18 for 1 beer and a house wine. I asked the Waiter if this was correct and he said yes. I eat out 7 nights a week and know the prices and what places charge. He told me that the beer was $6.00 and the "house" wine was $14.00, Unreal, I myself am a business owner and the service was terrible. No way that a house wine should be $14.00, maybe when your in Vegas that price is ok but not at this joint. I will make sure and never go back to this place and let people I know as well.

home run, 8/14/2009
Reviewer: Dan from Santa Barbara, CA
Great beer and food and awesome ambiance. Looks like it will successfully compliment nearby Reds and the wineries. Looks like Brewhouse has company!

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