The New Union (Kendal)

159 Stricklandgate, Kendal, LA9 4RF
The New Union (Kendal) Outside

With so many pubs closing down each week, it takes a brave individual to reopen a pub that has a history of failures in recent years. However, in September 2017 a local town councillor decided to do just that, reopening the New Union (previously know quite simply as the Union) and taking a back to basics approach.

Whilst many pubs have turned their focus to food to survive, the new landlord has shied away from this, preferring to focus instead on providing a wide choice of real ales and other drinks, plus entertainment in the form of weekly music and quiz sessions. That being said, some food is available here during certain times of the week, but don’t expect gastro-pub style dining. The pub is located on the edge of the town centre, housed in a former 19th century spinning house.

Food & Drink

The New Union (Kendal) pub

Photo thanks to the New Union

The New Union is a free house and therefore able to stock a broad and changing range of real ales. There are usually four cask ales, three craft kegs, and three craft ciders available, sourced from a mixture of Cumbrian and national and international breweries. Patrons can also opt for one of several craft bottled beers, again sourced from breweries from around the world. The inn stocks around 20 single malt whiskies along with an impressive collection of gins and other spirits. The wine list is limited to just six varieties that include one Champagne, plus there is a good mixture of soft drinks to choose from.

Food is not a regular feature of the New Union, with the landlord seeking to establish the business as a place to enjoy a good pint to begin with. However, the pub does serve roast dinners each Sunday between noon and 2pm, offering a choice of meats and a vegetarian option. The pub also has an agreement with a local Thai street food vendor who offers a delivery to table service each Thursday evening from a limited menu that includes curries and noodle dishes. If you prefer something sweet, the pub’s kitchen is currently used by a pudding delivery service and puddings can be enjoyed in the pub. Tilly’s Desserts supplies milkshakes, cakes, ice-cream and more.

Other Features

The New Union (Kendal) beer garden

Photo thanks to the New Union

The New Union welcomes dogs into the pub with weekly live music nights, including open mic sessions where patrons can bring their own instruments. The pub also holds a weekly quiz night on Wednesdays with cash prizes available.

The pub has a television that shows free to air channels. It screens major sporting events shown on the BBC and other Freeview channels, such as the FIFA World Cup, the Rugby Union Six Nations, and Formula One racing. There is a small seating area outside of the pub.


It’s thought that the building occupied by the New Union was built around 1800, initially as a spinning house. In 1834, the building became a tavern, possibly to serve those visiting the nearby Kendal workhouse that was created around this time to provide poor people with clothes and food in return for labour.

The workhouse was known as the Kendal Union, which is perhaps where the tavern got its name from, though there is some suggestion that the name refers to the Union Jack and the building’s past history as a spinning house where flags would be created. The pub was closed in 2013 for three years, briefly reopening in 2016 before closing again. It was reopened in September 2017.


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