Much of the Williamsburg that existed in the neighborhood's early '00s heyday is gone now -- from Glasslands to Daddy's to Tops to that empty lot on the corner of Bedford & N. 1st -- but one thing we're glad is still around is Union Pool which opened in 2000 and quickly became known for live music, its backyard, and general debauchery. A new feature in New York Magazine's blog The Cut celebrates Union Pool's enduring presence, as well as its reputation as a hookup spot:
“Well,” says Melanie Koch, 40, “it was really the first bar to cater directly to the students and artists who were flooding in. It was a hookup bar from conception, wasn’t it?” She’s lived in Williamsburg since 2001, right around the corner from the bar.
[Zeb] Stewart, the founder, has a “scientific” theory for Union Pool’s success at bringing people together. “You have the front door, then you have the backyard. And you have this zone that’s kind of, like, private doors on the way out to the backyard — but basically you have to walk through that zone to go to the photo booth, to the bathrooms, to the pinball machine, to the taco trucks, you know, anywhere.” And so, he explains, “it creates all this natural movement where people are constantly, casually grazing by each other, holding the door open for each other, saying hello to each other, smiling at each other, and it mixes people up, makes them interact.”
He’s aware of the bar’s reputation, he says. “I have friends who’ve met at Union Pool and gotten married. I’m sure we’ve also ruined some relationships.” He attributes some of that chemistry to the vibe he reinforces at Union Pool. “We have bartenders looking out for creeps— people get blacklisted from the bar. I feel like women are kind of running the show. You know, we work hard to kinda create a warm environment where people feel comfortable.”
Cheers to you, Union Pool.