Some say Williamsburg is over, or that the young and hip have moved east to Bushwick, but there is no denying that Union Pool is still the place to be.
While you won’t find an actual pool, there is much to love about this hipster hangout. Calling it a bar doesn’t do it justice, because the spot also boasts a stage in the back that has rockin’ indie bands (like Nude Beach, Shannon and The Clams, and The Men) melting faces most nights of the week. There is also a large outdoor patio with a full-service taco truck called El Diablo, serving up the best Mexican food north of the border. A wide beer selection includes standards like Bud, Tecate, and Guinness, as well as local brews from Brooklyn Brewery and Sixpoint. Or, you can order a delicious and cheap-ish house cocktail like the Ginger Toddy, Greenhook Gimley, and the irresistible Absolut Mule.
If you’re waiting on line to get in (which is usually the case on the weekends) and look up, you’ll see the loud and sprawling Brooklyn Queens Expressway, adding to the industrial feel of this gritty East Williamsburg intersection. While just a block away, Union Avenue is lined with luxury apartment buildings for the newer inhabitants. Union Pool is where those two worlds collide.
The website promises “cheap drinks and good times” but without “pool tables, tv’s, or swimming pools.” Yes, Union Pool is a place without all of the distractions of your Midtown sports bars or dance clubs. Perched on the retro barstools and the picnic tables in the back garden, you’ll find Brooklynites young and old just talking and laughing, getting to know each other; the way a bar should be. This is a place to go when you feel like living the Williamsburg life.
484 Union Ave., Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-609-0484, Subways: L to Lorimer St. or G to Metropolitan Ave. Hours: Mon–Fri 5 pm–4 am, Sat & Sun 1 pm–4 am; Website: http://union-pool.com.
Bio: Contributing writer, Jordan Reisman is a music journalist, drummer, and podcast freak. He lays his (knit) hat down in South Brooklyn.
Photo courtesy of Union Pool.