I already teased a few pictures, but now it’s time for a detailed look at the largest and most splendid United Club, now open near gate C123 at Newark Liberty International Airport. As far as United Clubs go, this lounge is a game-changer.
United Club Newark (EWR) C123 Review – Beautiful Lounge!
United’s long-awaited lounge at Newark Airport was worth the wait. It incorporates new elements including showers, barista-made coffee, and a level of hot and cold food previously unseen in a United lounge, even going back to the Red Carpet Club or President’s Club days.
Location + Hours + Access
This EWR United Club is located in Terminal C, near gate 123. If you are coming from security, turn left after the checkpoint and head toward the pier for pier three, which includes gates 12o-139. The lounge is open daily from 5:00AM to 10:ooPM.
Access is reserved for United Club members, Chase United Club Visa holders, Star Alliance Gold travelers, business class travelers flying to Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO) on United’s premium transcontinental service, and international business or first class passengers traveling on any Star Alliance flight. Global Services members also enjoy access.
Furthermore, one-time passes from Chase are accepted or can be purchased for $59. Note that if you hold a Star Alliance Gold card from United Airlines (Premier Gold or higher), you can only access the lounge when traveling in conjunction with an international itinerary. Those who have a Star Gold card from other programs can use the lounge when traveling on any Star Alliance flight in any class of service. Also note that United does not give premium cabin passengers access on domestic flights, with the exception of the premium transcontinental route noted above.
You can take escalators, stairs, or an elevator up to the lounge which is one floor above the departure level.
This is the first United lounge that has an automatic entry system. Simply scan your boarding pass to gain entrance–you will not have to see an agent. However, agents will be available if your boarding pass beeps red instead of green.
This is a huge lounge, 30,000 square feet to be precise. Let’s embark upon a clockwise tour of the lounge.
As you enter, you’ll see a colorful bookshelf and large rectangular tables with chairs. Under it are black and white tiles representing the United globe logo.
Past a smaller food area, is a large seating area with a mix of chairs, couches, and end tables. There’s also some individual work areas with a table and chair built into the wall.
More seating awaits in the next room.
Past the restrooms and showers is a large seating area geared toward dining, with booths that accommodate up to four people and more tables and chairs. Near the buffet is a large table with seating as well as a couch running the length of the area.
Beyond that is more seating, including some very comfortable leather chairs with ottomans which were locally sourced.
The seating area continues with more chairs, couches, and end tables overlooking the tarmac and beyond it, the Manhattan skyline.
Restrooms + Showers
The lounge includes large restroom, including gender-segregated restrooms and unisex private stalls.
A blast from the past at Newark, the lounge marks the return of showers to United Clubs, including six showers suites stocked with Sunday Riley products.
Wellness Room (Nursing)
Nursing mothers and those traveling with small children can make use of a wellness room to care for infants and toddlers in diapers.
Food + Drink
When many of us think of lounge food, we may think of cheese cubes and crackers, potato chips, and apples wrapped in cellophane. Not so in this lounge, which offers a buffet that rivals that of American Airlines Flagship Lounges.
A variety of sandwiches are on offer and customizable with pickles, lettuce, and even avocados. If you prefer your sandwich warm, you can request that it be heated.
Around the corner is a buffet which includes:
- hot pasta
- salad bar
- taco bar
The selection of food represents not just something to snack on, but the possibility of enjoying a full meal ahead of your flight.
Beyond the food itself, the L-shaped buffet includes one of the coolest features of the lounge, a mosaic tile meant to resemble a New York City subway stop which says “Newark Liberty International Airport.”
Closer to the entrance is a second food area which includes snacks like potato chips, nuts, or trail mix.
A full bar offers a mix of complimentary and for-purchase drinks, though all tap beer is now free. Two Coke Freestyle machines offer soft drinks and there are hydration stations located throughout the lounge.
There are also three self-service espresso machines, but skip those unless you are in a rush because there is also a barista happy to make you the coffee drink of your choice.
Coffee is a central part of my day and I’m elated that this lounge has a beautiful coffee machine, delicious illy 100% Arabica coffee, and a team of friendly baristas happy to make the drink of your choice.
Chevaneese and Lilah were working the “United Coffee Bar” and I enjoyed two cappuccinos, an espresso macchiato, and a chai tea during my visit.
Iced coffee and nitro cold brew coffee is also available.
The machine can make three drinks at time, so hopefully lines will not get too long.
Although United offers an agent-on-demand from the comfort of your seat, there will be agents available to help with flight delays and cancellations in the lounge.
Worry not, there are power ports everywhere — you won’t have fight for one like in the old lounge. There’s even USB-C plugs.
Fancy a game of table soccer? There’s even one of those.
A Model For Other Lounges
United tells me this lounge will be a blueprint for future lounges. Each lounge will have unique features, but the style of this lounge will be the new style going forward.
Without exaggerating, this lounge is a game-changer. The showers, coffee bar, and wider selection of food truly elevate the lounge experience and will make me go out of my way to connect in Newark versus other United hubs. I commend United for a job well-done and now we just must hope that the amazing new amenities do not quickly fall victim to cost cutbacks, a familiar theme. Therefore, let me offer this final warning to my fellow travelers: don’t overdo it. Don’t take food out of the lounge, don’t take more food than you can consume, and go easy on the liquor. For better or for worse, ensuring that the lounge stays so nice is partially up to us.
Looks beautiful. Cannot wait to visit. So happy they’re getting away from the generic new layout they’ve been using for all the new clubs. Hope the new Denver ones are like this!
The Denver remodel is still at the i-beam level as far as I can see, it will be awhile before it opens..
Finally, United is getting some style back! I wish they’d replace the globe on the planes with that one on the floor.
Great to see real food and coffee options and thank you for the warning to the small minority who pilfer from lounges
A truly superb lounge by any standard. I attended the preview event and spent a few hours in the lounge, and firmly believe United hit it out of the park here.
As for your admonition at the end… well done and I thoroughly agree. The gluttony on display by *some* travelers in airline lounges is repulsive. The fact that sandwiches are served by staff, behind glass, is a good sign for portion control. Plates and bowls are pretty small, as well, which should discourage over-indulgence.
The fit-and-finish seemed of reasonably good quality, and I am hopeful United keeps up with maintenance. If it does, this will be a showpiece lounge for years to come, and, dare I say… worth the wait?
How would you compare/contrast with the Polaris lounge at EWR?
Absolutely a step in the right direction for UA in terms of club offerings. Seems like both UA and DL are investing in making clubs less generic and provide more of a value for membership rather than just a crowded room with packaged cheese and crackers.
Tthe decor of the club is a welcome change from the standard exCo President Clubs look; that being said could they have picked a carpet that didn’t look like it should be used in an office building filled with cubicles? It looks like they got a big discount on the leftovers that my company used for the building I work in.
Which caterer is it? Gategourmet?
Great review, just a quick note that you need to fix the access rules: don’t think UA flies from EWR to EWR or JFK (well, I did once have a flight that started and ended at EWR but that’s certainly never a planned route). Pretty sure you meant LAX or SFO.
I am a Life member of the United Club from the days of toehold Continental President’s Club. It will be interesting to see just how long the great food lasts before United decides to cancel the food. From what aI have witnessed of late, airlines and hotels are using the pandemic as an excuse to downgrade the services rendered to the customer.
What is the tipping norm for the batista vs. bartender?
wow, looks stunning. I will be flying into newark next week for a layover. Will visit!
thank you for sharing.
By law of nature, terms splendid and Newark cannot appear the same sentence. Please edit.
EWR is better than JFK
The amenities are great but the style is lacking in continuity and too busy. I look forward to my first visit.
Nice to know that the amenities are there. Great comfort and everything.
Is there view to runways ? That’s important for a lot of people for plane sporting
I understand that United offered early access for you to review/promote the new club at Newark. I guess this explains why none of the photographs (they gave you?) have any people beside a few staff, including the barista you have also posted about). Please go back and review it in real life operation. I agree that Newark clubs were always a disaster, but this one is also a disaster and there’s probably no hope. I’ve been there twice now, not a lot by your standards but that means you can do us a real service by visiting again after your initial glowing review.
My first visit was so bad I gave up. No seating anywhere, or at least no seating that wasn’t occupied by either luggage, people’s feet, or whole bodies laying on chairs and couches. The employees were not doing anything to establish order or provide corrective actions. In fact, they seemed pretty much to have given up. Same thing with the long, long lines at the food service. You showed us the empty service area but who thinks it makes sense to have plates at one end and a long single line of foodstuffs that is apparently engaged as a “all you can eat, buffet line” – Vegas style but without the discipline or quality.
My second visit was maybe a bit better because I had longer to spend before my delayed flight. I circled round and round until I spotted a newly empty and dirty table. I’m willing to buss dishes and wipe away crumbs so I got a place to sit and do some email with a light snack. The lines were manageable, if not efficient, and the food was better than past Newark clubs and much better than Denver clubs, but no where close to the LA club. (Actually, that’s the club you should visit for comparison … it’s well designed even with an outdoor area lots of single person spaces to sit even as parts of group settings, and no couches that encourage encampments of apparently homeless travelers.) Not sure what your standards are but just cause its New Jersey don’t give it a pass.
While you are reviewing clubs, it might be time to consider the usability of clubs and ask the question of whether or how the purpose of these clubs has changed. I have a few choices with membership at AmEx clubs, Priority Clubs, and United Clubs. I use to kick myself for not buying the lifetime United Red Carpet Club memberships 20 something years ago when that was a deal, but I was committed enough that I paid my membership through the pandemic although I rarely had the opportunity to use them (even when they were eventually opened). Appreciated when United thanked me for my loyalty and offered a partial rebate (NOT). The clubs were always part of my work to get things done while avoiding crowded gates or working in endless substandard airport restaurants/bars.
Well, now the restaurants and bars are looking pretty good and clubs (at least the United Clubs) are overrun with unsupervised kids that would not happen in a restaurant, except maybe a Chucky Cheese with video games blaring as bad as the business people who think its ok to hold their Zoom calls on speaker phone in the club. According to the club employees, they have apparently been told that families can do what they want. Also had a similar experience in a Polaris club where a staff member at least apologized and told me that the flight for the kids playing ball in the club would be leaving soon. Maybe United is trying to be nice because the kids won’t be able to blare their video games once they get on the plane, or maybe this is the precursor to the next iteration when even on the plane everyone will have boomboxes and headsets will be the way of the past.
This is not a tirade about kids, we take kids and grandkids to United clubs (and appreciate that unlimited numbers of them are free) but we also were aware to be courteous to others around us. And I have never thought it would be a good idea to take up 4 seats by sleeping on an airport club couch. That’s where this started … please revisit the United Newark club, take real photos, and tell us how it’s working out in real lift in contrast to the review setting that you photographed and wrote about. I actually tried to talk with the club manager – basically none of the staff would help me or give tell me who to talk with. Maybe you have the “clout” to ask them some tough questions (sorry, not just puff piece stuff) to figure out where clubs are going. Could be a follow up to your recent piece about crowding in AMEX clubs. An accurate review could actually make a difference as United redesigns more clubs. You might help them avoid more mistakes.
At the same time, maybe there is a business opportunity to put Chucky Cheese outlets in airports. Or tell us it already exists and review that.
All the pictures I took myself. I went the day before so I could take pictures respecting the privacy of there guests – I knew it would be created and will add pictures of the crowded lounge next time I visit. But this still gives you a great idea of what to expect.
Sorry, Matt. Did mean to offend you. I just wanted to say that in operation the club is a shit show (not sure I can say that on your site) despite the pretty facade. You are certainly right that EWR needed and deserves upgraded United Clubs and this might possibly be it, but only with major attention by United to the fundamentals rather than just the glitz. This is not just an easy fix – it is fundamental to their thinking.
As an example, at the automated entry stations, they needed to have 2 or 3 representatives helping people gain entry. How silly is that? Isn’t it nice to have the (admittedly well trained and prompted) attendant saying “welcome back Mr. Klint, nice to see you again”. For $500 a year, is that too much to expect?
As a point of clarification – there are no avocadoes for sandwiches, at least not as of 7/14/2022. Nor pickles – but there is bottles relish! [RE: “A variety of sandwiches are on offer and customizable with pickles, lettuce, and even avocados. If you prefer your sandwich warm, you can request that it be heated.”]
Sad to see that avocados have already been cut. I’m not surprised – those are quite expensive.