Culture News

Is UNION at the Biltmore in Phoenix Half Empty or Half Full?

Disheartening. There really isn't another word to describe the feeling of walking in through the back entrance of UNION at the Biltmore. The last weeks of February have been warm, and unseasonably so -- the kind of weather conducive to leisurely patio lunches and coffee catch-ups that morph into all-afternoon affairs. Yet the small outside courtyard of wooden tables, created for just that, is strikingly empty and devoid of chatter.

A lone barista mans the coffee stand at the opening of the corridor, directly across from an uninviting former restaurant plastered with green liquor license application notices and hopeful signs declaring "coming soon!" It's the post-lunch rush, and no one is milling about inside. No browsing. No window shopping. It's dark, wooden, and looks like a boarded-up ghost town: another promising concept killed by lack of interest, lack of steady business, and seemingly absurdly high turnover.

But looks can be deceiving.

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Janessa is a native Phoenician. She joined New Times as a contributor in 2013. You can connect with her on social media at @janessahilliard, and she promises you'll find no pictures of cats on her Instagram — but plenty of cocktails.
Contact: Janessa Hilliard