I have visited the United Airlines’ Newark Polaris Lounge this year a number of times and wish to update my review. Rather than delete my old review, I am publishing my new review above my old one. I will do this for “major” lounge reviews going forward, which will provide insight into how lounges change over time.
United Polaris Lounge Newark Review (EWR)
This lounge gets crowded but remains an indispensable premium lounge at United’s Newark hub.
In the morning, the lounge tends to be quiet, with plenty of space to spread out and your choice of seating.
A couple of the chairs are showing their age, but the lounge has held up well over the last four years:
The lounge will become much more crowded in the aftenroon:
Restrooms are individual rather than communal and shower suites are available upon request (I had no wait in the morning and a 20-minute wait in the afternoon during another visit).
The rain shower heads were overdue for a cleaning and the large dispensers of soap and shampoo are just annoying.
The highlight of the lounge is the a la carte dining, which offers sit-down, restaurant-style service all day long. I had several meals here during my visits and found every single thing I ordered to be worth eating. That’s rare for any restaurant, let alone in an airport lounge.
Menus rotate quarterly. These are the two most recent menus:
Of all the dishes I ate, the lamb kofta was best, but both fish entrees were also much better than I expected.
A full buffet is also available, which rotates from breakfast to lunch at about 10:00 am.
Non-alcoholic beverages are self-serve while a full-service bar offers cocktails, beer, wine, and spirits (all complimentary).
Don’t forget that barista-made coffee drinks from illy are available at the bar and restaurant.
In conclusion, my review of the United Polaris Lounge in Newark remains positive four years later. This is still a great lounge.
Below is my original United Polaris Lounge Newark review, published on June 12, 2018.
What a difference a remodel makes! A former United Club that seemed to be crowded no matter what time of day is now home to a beautiful new lounge with seriously great food.
I had the chance to visit the new United Polaris Lounge in Newark last week. This 27,099 square foot lounge can accommodate up to 455 passengers but never surpassed 70 guests during my morning visit.
United Polaris Lounge EWR Access Rules
Access is reserved for longhaul business class passengers on United or a Star Alliance partner. Access is not permitted to Global Services or Star Alliance Gold members traveling in economy class. Premium Service transcontinental passengers do not have access.
If you’re traveling on a same-day United longhaul flight in Polaris, even if not from Newark, you also have access. For example, if you flew London to Newark in United Polaris Business Class, and are connecting to, say, Buffalo, you have access to the lounge upon arrival. One more example. If you are flying, say, from Newark to Chicago to Tokyo, you would have access in in both Newark and Chicago as long as your longhaul flight is in Polaris business class. If your flight from Chicago to Tokyo is on ANA, you only have access to the lounge in Chicago.
Only guests traveling in first class bring in a guest.
The lounge is located just past the security checkpoints in Terminal C, next to Starbucks. A large lobby greets you and an agent will scan your boarding pass to verify access. The lounge is open daily from 4:30am to 10:30pm.
United Polaris Lounge EWR Seating
As you enter the lounge, the bar and dining room are straight ahead while seating is off to the right. The seating is much like that in SFO, with many seating types, 570 power receptacles and 450 USB ports.
Around the corner is the buffet and beyond that is more seating, including oversized chairs that include personal lamps, USB ports, and power.
Around the buffet and bar areas, there are plenty of seats intended for dining:
United Polaris Lounge EWR “Phone Booths”
While phone calls are not technically forbidden throughout the lounge, a trio of phone booths provide a perfect place for your phone conversation. Hint, hint, hint…
United Polaris Lounge Newark Shower Suites
12 shower suites are available. I took a shower after arriving and had no wait.
A sign indicates amenities are available, but when I asked for shaving cream was told there was not any. I’d say that is a more important amenity than a curling iron. Complimentary shirt pressing is also available.
The shower suite includes a sink with plenty of counter space, toilet, and a rainhead shower. Floors are heated and Cowshed amenities plus Saks Fifth Avenue towels are available.
United Polaris Lounge Newark Restrooms
Gender-Neutral restrooms are located near the buffet.
These restrooms have green and red lights beside the door, making it very clear when the bathroom is in use.
United Polaris Lounge EWR Quiet Suites (Sleeping Rooms)
Inside the shower suite area, nine quiet suites offer a place to relax between flights. The suites include a pillow, ear plugs, water bottle, “calming” spray from Cowshed, and a radio-like device that plays soothing sounds like gentle rain, ocean waves, and other white noise.
United Polaris Lounge EWR Buffet
The breakfast buffet was fairly limited, but had several items that looked tasty. Had I not dined in the lounge restaurant, I would have sampled a bagel and breakfast burrito. Impressive that there were three salsa choices with the burritos. Other items included scrambled eggs, yogurt parfaits, sausage, hash browns, and two types of oatmeal.
A drink station included coffee machines, soft drinks, water, and light snacks. If you like coffee, don’t bother with these machines. Instead, ask a barista at the bar to whip up some fresh coffee.
United Polaris Lounge Newark A La Carte Dining
Without a doubt, the highlight of the visit was the excellent dining room. Service was superb and the food truly sensational. And what a beautiful place to eat:
Here’s the full menu:
I began breakfast with a cappuccino and a strawberry mint açaí bowl (which was served like a frozen yogurt topped in fresh fruit).
Next, I enjoyed Eggs Benedict, served on rye bread with a chipotle hollandaise sauce. That sauce was wonderful, making this dish the best Eggs Benedict I’ve ever had. Even the sliced heirloom tomatoes were brimming with flavor. This dish is a winner.
Finally, I enjoyed an order of French Toast, which was delicious but not more than a few bites. I augmented the last course with a bowl of berries and one more cappuccino.
Seriously, this was an excellent breakfast. I love the a la carte dining concept and this lounge delivers on it.
Next time, I want to visit for lunch or dinner, because the rest of the menu also looks fabulous.
And I must give a shoutout to the excellent staff in the restaurant. One told me she was so proud of the new lounge and now loved coming to work. I appreciate that so much, because I remember clearly what this lounge space used to be like: overcrowded, limited food options, and many broken power ports. What a metamorphosis…
United Polaris Lounge Newark Bar
I did not have any alcoholic drinks during my visit, but a full range of beer, wine, and cocktails are available. And even Bloody Mary’s in the morning if you like those (I don’t…).
Here’s the full bar menu:
United Polaris Lounge EWR Coffee + Barista Bar
Finally, I must again underscore that the lounge coffee situation has improved tremendously with a new coffee machine and trained baristas.
In addition to the cappuccino with breakfast, I also enjoyed a macchiato, which was excellent.
Like in San Francisco and Chicago, United has another winner here. I love this lounge and see it as a new reason to connect through Newark. The a la carte menu is better than SFO and the lounge is quite spacious. I’m sure it fills up more prior to the evening bank of European departures, but I do not suspect it will ever be standing room only. If you have access to this lounge before or after your next flight, it is definitely worth a visit!
> Read More: United Polaris Lounge San Francisco (SFO) Review
This is probably one of the best lounge reviews I have read. Great photos!
Thank you! I’m sure you’d photograph the food even better! 😉
Matthew, my wife and i are leaving tomm nite 11/ 22 from Ewr to madrid, Spain so we will fill you in on our experience at dinner in early november .
I think this is also a very significant reason to consider United over Delta when flying internationally out of New York City. Way, way, way, way, way (way way way way way way way way way) better lounge experience, judging by this review. Full disclosure: I’m a Delta flier.
Except that UA still has 2x4x2 biz on many of their planes. The 2x2x2 isn’t great either. A lounge doesn’t make up for a bad hard product onboard.
Nice to get another real world review. Thanks, Matthew. You’re right about that menu. It dies look a lot more appetizing compared to SFO. They really botched that.
Amazing looking lounge. Congratulations to UA for making the investment.
Matthew: I echo @UA_Flyer, super review with your attention to detail and excellent pics on display. Thanks for what you do for all of us……at no charge. I certainly hope your’s and John’s new business is doing well too.
Thanks Mike. Appreciate your comment. And all photos from an iPhoneX. So happy to be able to leave the big camera at home now.
Great photos and review Matthew. I was thrilled to be in the lounge on opening day June 4th!!! It’s absolutely fabulous. Thank you United, you have set the bar for other airlines now. This is equal to first class lounges.
Our flight was on Polaris 777-300 EWR-FRA and we loved it.
Matthew – flying in Swiss Biz class from EWR to Zurich in March – I’d have access to the lounge, right?
David, the only thing is that SWIS departs from terminal B so make sure you leave enough time to catch the shuttle bus (post-security) over to terminal B from terminal C where the Polaris lounge is located.
I have a flight from LHR-EWR departing 6pm UK time (1pm EST) and arriving 10pm EST. My domestic connection is the next day at 3:15pm EST (it’s the next scheduled flight). Do you think I will have access if I arrive before 1pm EST (i.e. within 24 hours of the scheduled departure of my Polaris flight)?
Doubtful since it is a “voluntary” overnight connection, but if both boarding passes have an “I” on them, I would try to enter and say nothing. If the system denies you, tell them you are connecting from London and say nothing more.
I have a business class flight with Austrian from VIE-EWR and a couple hours in EWR before my next flight. Do I have access to Polaris? Thanks!
Unfortunately, you do not. Connecting domestic access is only if you flew in Polaris Business Class.
Does Houston have a Polaris lounge? I rarely fly through the US. I’m flying Vancouver- Houston – Santiago and flying home Santiago – Houston- Vancouver. Thanks !!
Hi Zara, Houston has a smaller but very nice Polaris Lounge:
Hey Matthew, great review! I connected through Newark last week and visited the lounge for the first time, and thought it was fantastic! I had only been to the LAX and IAD Polaris lounges before, and the buffet at EWR was much better than both of those. The crowd wasn’t bad at 1pm but I know Newark gets the most crowded at night, maybe a reason to pick a different hub to depart.
I know I asked you this a few months ago, but I’m curious if your position has changed at all given your recent trips. Would your rankings of the Polaris lounges still be: IAD, LAX, SFO, IAH, EWR, ORD?
My goal is to visit all of them within the next 6 months or so! Cheers Matthew!
It’s a good question, but a hard one. I think the IAD lounge is the most impressive overall, but EWR is great. SFO is also beautiful. ORD has cut back on the buffet (I noticed when I stopped in wtih Tom, though I have not visited the lounge as a passenger this year). LAX is great because it is always quiet and a more intimate lounge, but the buffet is pretty and at LAX. I think the good news is that all the Polaris lounges are excellent.
Polaris lounges are wonderful. Why can’t the planes and experience in the air be the same?
Definitely an “indepnsibebale” (sic) lounge.
The menus look appetizing and well balanced. Something for everyone. And the buffet looks to be a good option for those in a hurry.
Pity about the “perfect pairin” (sic) wine suggestion to go with the cod in the printed menu. Attention to detail seems underrated.
Fixed. Thank you!
Looks like your gym commitment is paying off Matthew 😉
Indeed. Why not share a picture with your shirt off, Matthew?
I like your blog and I am a regular reader here, but reading this review and comparing this with my very own experience maybe 6 weeks ago… I dont know how you could possibly arrive at such a conclusion.
1. Yes, the lounge is well appointed. But that´s it. When I was there the place was filthy. And no, I dont just mean a little dirt here and there, but outright filthy. Very poor cleaning in the whole place. Especially the restaurant.
2. The food in the restaurant there was AW-FUL. Awful. Fish was raw, risotto was mealy and bland, greens had sand in it. Coke didnt sparkle anymore. It was just bad. Very bad.
3. The wine at the bar was cheap and the glass wasnt clean. By then I had seen enough of this.
If I compare this with e.g. the signature suites or even a random contract loung this was bad. Like, very disappointing. I must´ve been unlucky or you were in luck…
Not sure if the previous review needed to be included. Better to just highlight some of the major changes instead.
But still, Polaris definitely seem like some of the best lounges in the US overall, and arguably the best lounges offered by a US airline.
My spouse and I were at the Polaris EWR in August; what a mess and disappointment as compared to the Polaris at ORD. First problem: children. Polaris isn’t a day care center during long layovers but in EWR the kids dominate the space with badly behaved parents allowing them to rule and United personnel either helpless or clueless to the hundreds of other guests in the lounge. Either create a special “Kids area” or don’t allow anyone under 13. Second, the materials – tile, glass – used in the space are such that sound echoes throughout, there is literally not one area that offers a respite from the noise of harried travelers, business calls, and the aforementioned over-stimulated kids. The service was appalling for a “premium” product: wait staff were surly, yelling at each other about mixed-up orders or shift changes. The food choices were acceptable and tasty, and the bathrooms were immaculate. Not an experience I wish to repeat and certainly not worth the hype.
Was there just last week. Hour wait for the dining room…no thanks. Buffet options were far, far worse than what you showed. Record profits, record under-investment now for UA.
Very sad to hear this.
Hello Matt – In July, I’ll be making a connection at EWR ( 3 hr layover) from Europe. Can you tell me what’s the difference between United Polaris Club and United Club? Flying business class, I’ll have access to either lounge. Is one a step up from the other? I enjoy your posts.
Polaris is a far superior lounge with a sit-down restaurant.
You can compare it to this review of the United Club:
The Polaris Lounge is a joke. It’s over crowded and in the 3 times I accessed the lounge I was unable to find a seat, in addition to use the toilet I had to join a line and wait for over 15 minutes. You have failed to disclose the reality.