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Brit experience returns to Main Gate with Union Jack Pub

union-jack
The Union Jack, a new pub located at 800 E University Blvd. (Photo by Carter Berg.)

Nearly five years after the Auld Dubliner closed, The Union Jack British Pub and Restaurant is now open, bringing the flavor of the British Isles back to University Boulevard. 

This is the third Union Jack, owned and operated by three British migrants, to open in Arizona.   

The space at 800 E University Blvd. has a history of hosting British restaurants. It was home for 10 years to Auld Dubliner before becoming a Mexican restaurant, Americano Mexicano, which closed in 2019. 

“We wanted to go back to the original roots,” said Kevin Johnston, one of the three owners. “The location became available, and we said ‘Let’s do it’'” 

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Prior to leasing the property, The Union Jack had established two successful pub locations in Mesa and Scottsdale. This made the new British chain a popular choice amongst the pool of restaurants selected to occupy the new location.

Main Gate Square’s landlord, the Marshall Foundation, has a selective process of who can set up shop on the stretch of University Boulevard that is home to dozens of bars, restaurants and retail shops. 

Jane McCollum, the Marshall Foundation’s general manager, said The Union Jack will provide a new, fresh scene for University of Arizona students and those interested in British pub culture. 

“We thought it would be an interesting venue. They have real experience as operators,” McCollum said. “Experience is important because sometimes people think they can make it because it’s such a great street, but you still have to know what you're doing.”

The Union Jack has hardwood accents and gold trim inside, inviting diners to experience an authentic British pub, complete with soccer — Europe’s version of football — and American football, along with UA sports airing on flat-screen T.V.s throughout the pub. 

“The idea is that each location will be slightly different in appearance,” Johnston said. ”However, the standards, whether it’s the food, the drink, the service or the attention to detail, will be the same as our other two locations.” 

The menu features classic British food and drink including fish and chips, shepherd's pie, a full English breakfast and an array of ales both foreign and domestic. Beyond cuisine, The Union Jack also offers live music and game day showings of both American and European football. 

Johnston is hopeful the new location will attract a crowd of local British culture enthusiasts. 

“We want people to come in, have a Guinness or some fish and chips, and think, ‘Wow this is just like the U.K.,'” Johnston said. 

The Union Jack British Pub is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturdays and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays. For more information or to peruse the restaurant’s menu you can visit their website at theunionjackbar.com.


*El Inde Arizona is a news service of the University of Arizona School of Journalism.  


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