Union Pool

Bar / Live Music Venue
Union Pool The quintessential Williamsburg live music venue, Union Pool has spent a decade showcasing New York's best local musicians performing everything from synth-pop to grindcore. New York United States 40.714907 -73.951713
3.49 11
Union Pool - Bar | Live Music Venue in New York.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review The quintessential Williamsburg live music venue, Union Pool has spent a decade showcasing New York’s best local musicians performing everything from synth-pop to grindcore. Usually filled with wizened hipsters and tattooed... ... read full review

  • Subway:

    G, L: Lorimer Street/ Metropolitan Avenue

  • Phone:

    718-609-0484

  • Links:

  • Hours:

    M–F 5pm–4am, Sa–Su 1pm–4am

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth Union Pool Review

The Scene

The quintessential Williamsburg live music venue, Union Pool has spent a decade showcasing New York's best local musicians performing everything from synth-pop to grindcore.

The quintessential Williamsburg live music venue, Union Pool has spent a decade showcasing New York’s best local musicians performing everything from synth-pop to grindcore.

Usually filled with wizened hipsters and tattooed punk rock girls, this aqua green former pool supply shop features a bar with a glass-paneled wooden fridge covered with candles, toys, and skulls, as well as a few green leather couches where neighborhood pre-gamers and the night’s musicians gather to throw back Tecate.

A simple patio decked out in Christmas lights and wooden benches offers fresh air, a view of the BQE, and a central stone pit used as a pond in the summer and a fireplace in the winter.

Here aged rockers smoke by the double doors between the bar and the stage, while relaxed groups of local scenesters lounge around enjoying sinful Mexican food from the skeleton-covered El Diablo taco truck parked out back.

Once the doors open, the crowds pile into the dimly-lit theater, where bands rumble the paneled walls from a small red-curtained stage. Drunken excitement builds as the night wears on, and by the time the headliner takes the stage, the patrons have turned into a packed mass of sweaty foot stompers and headbangers.

A cool mix of hot music and lowbrow coziness, Union Pool remains the standard for young musicians looking to play Brooklyn and hardcore fans looking for an unforgettable night.

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Tip from Jonah:

Union Pool shows never start on time, but that’s okay – the patio is awesome, and the crowd is always friendly. You can dip your feet in the pond in the summer, and feel free to bring your own marshmallows to roast in the winter. Nothing tops a truck taco like a s’more!

  • Crowd

    Indie rock kids, hipsters, punks, metal heads, and local musicians, 20s to 30s.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Live music almost every night, from new wave to hardcore. Rev. Vince Anderson & The Love Choir on Mondays, various local acts during the week, touring bands on Sundays and Tuesdays.

    Occasional events like chili cook-offs and fondue take-down competitions. Patio with seasonal pond/fire and photo booth.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    El Diablo taco truck serves food until 3:30am. Happy Hour daily 5–8pm.

  • Prices

    Tacos $3, tamales $3. Beer $3+, wine $6+, cocktails $6+, soda $1+.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Casual rocker chic: tight jeans, leather jackets, sneakers, hoodies, vintage dresses.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Mid-week for local band showcases, or Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays for touring acts.

  • Close By

    The nearby Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) showcases the upper crust of underground music.

Union Pool User Reviews

Average rating:
Summer Thunder!
Ingrid Rachel T. Jun 20, 2013
Union Pool is one of my favorite dive bars. Like most of the glowing reviews, my favorite part is the delicious taco truck and the cheap drinks. It's a perfect place to hangout during the day, when the crowd is small and the people are friendly. I've had many a run-in with popular indie musicians here, which is probably my favorite part. During the Summer, they hold weekly concerts as part of a "Summer Thunder" series. You'll listen to great local music in their backyard, while sippin' on a cocktail. I've never had trouble with the line for a drink, as there is a bar inside and a bar outside. Basically, this place is perfect, as long as you're into good music and friendly people. Good vibes all around.
Everything you want from a dive bar... plus tacos!!
THEA C. May 28, 2013
I love Union Pool. Yes, the crowd often looks like an ocean of clones and it can get overly crowded on weekends and sunny days, but, as far as dive bars go, this place has pretty much everything. Not only are drinks cheap - i'm talking $3 beers and $6 happy hour cocktails - but it also has a back room dedicated solely to live music, a huge outdoor space AND a taco truck located in the garden. That's right, once you start getting a little tipsy on the cheap margaritas, you can soak up some of that booze with chips and guacamole, freshly made tacos and mexican corn. The food isn't mindblowing but it is cheap and it is exactly what you want after a hard day of summer drinking. Late nights this place tends to be packed both indoors and out, and usually by 1am the inside bar becomes a room for dancing. Rumour has it this is the place to be if you want to pick up or be picked up that night, and I can see that - it's definitely the kind of place you end up chatting to the people next to you and there is also a good mix of both New Yorkers and out-of-towners. The crowd is predominately under 35, hipster and artist types, so don't get dressed up to the nines if you want to fit in. Pluses? Well, just about everything. Like I mentioned previously, it's cheap, busy and most importantly fun. Downsides? Not many. It can get a little crowded but sometimes that's what you want. The cocktails aren't much to go for either, but then again, who goes to dive bars for cocktails anyway? Here, it's all about endless quantities of cheap PBR and tacos in the afternoon sun.
Tacos, drinks and outdoors, enough said.
Dana C. May 13, 2013
This bar is the perfect summer spot! A taco truck, two bars (indoor and outdoor), a fire pit, a large outdoor area and awesome music. I unfortunately went here when it was a bit cold, but since the outdoor space was so amazing I stuck it through! I don't completely agree with the last review because I had an incredible time dancing, laughing and making new friends. Union pool is definitely a place to stop at while in Brooklyn!
Perfect On Paper, Yet Lacking
fic n. Feb 22, 2013
On paper, Union Pool lacks nothing: A decent-sized indoor area with a nice bar and a few booths; a relatively massive outdoor area with a fire pit and an incredible taco truck; and a nicely-acousticed concert area with a small stage and its own moderately-sized bar. The vibe, however, is off, and it isn't just the judgmental looks from hipsters (and we're talking HIPSTERS, not, like, "hipsters"). It should be more fun, and it's not. For one, in the winter it gets too crowded because no one (rightfully, of course) wants to go outside; in the summer it gets too crowded because, in general, the bouncer lets waaaaay too many people into the bar, and even then there's always a line if you get there too late. I think the thing for me is that no one seems like they're having a good time when they're there, and that attitude is contagious. Being a friendly person isn't necessarily a virtue at Union Pool, and I think that sort of thing, odd as it sounds, is directly related to how many times you'll stumble out at 2:30am talking about how incredible a night you just had. Again, technically, the place can't really improve; for my money, you can't really beat wandering in for a shot and a Bud Heavy any day of the summer. It just gets a little bit more stressful when I stay longer than 30 minutes.
Rock on
Chris K. Nov 15, 2012
Union Pool really has everything you'd ever want from a Williamsburg rock venue. You've got your up-front bar with its slightly pool-themed decor and huge chest fridge full of endless beers. You've got your outdoor terrace with its taco truck sporting a koi pond/fountain in the summer and a raging bonfire in the winter. And then, there's the venue itself,a rickety-looking converted theater space where some of the best up-and-coming punk, indie, and metal bands in the country get together to scream bloody murder as one of the dudes from Wizardry slings beer and whiskey. A great place to go if you want to get sweaty, loud, and out of control.
Hanging with the Hipsters
sandy h. Aug 16, 2012
My very first weekend living in NYC and my roommates, who had informed me that since moving to Williamsburg the official nomenclature I now carry is that of the "hipster", had dragged me to apparently THE place to be on Friday night: Union Pool. I had my reservations for this place when they informed me that my usual LBD for going out would be too dressed up and that I can leave my credit card at home and only bring cash. I immediately had my expectations set for a shady dive bar during the balmy walk. What I got was a very pleasant surprise. The main room with the bar was swarming with people. I was sandwiched between so many people to the point that I didn't even need to walk; I was just passed around by the standing crowd shifting left and right. When we finally got to the sweet open air of the back yard I was relieved to find open pockets where we could situate ourselves into a loose circle and I can scope the place out. The taco truck immediately called my attention and after a 35 min wait in line the carne asada taco successfully appeased my appetite although the chicken one was a little dry. We explored the back room next which was not as densely packed as the main room but still had its share of people. The music blaring was a refreshing sound of the Ska genre which I preferred to the old time R&B playing in the main room and there was even room to dance. When we were tired from dancing it was easy to find a spot in the backyard on one of the picnic benches or stone seats where we always seem to meet another group of friendly patrons who were either visiting for the first time or were old regulars. No one had an indifferent opinion of Union Pool. The surrounding trees and the makeshift pond in the middle of the yard brought a slight breeze that was just enough to tame the scorching heat. Along with cold sips of beer (that stayed cold thanks to the cute beer cozies they passed out) last call sneaked up on us sooner than I would have liked. Ever since that first night me and my roommates have been back at least once a month to duck in or stay the night. We have met people from all walks of life, mostly out-of-towners or Long Islanders since UP has prime real estate next to the BQE. Over time, the quality of the taco has lowered (not enough char on the meat and skimping on the pico de gallo) and Bud Lites have slowly risen as the beer of choice over PBRs but Union Pool will always remain THE best place to spend a summer night.
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