Neighborhood: Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Address: 484 Union Ave.
HARK! O, Union Pool, standby that you are, petri dish of many a strand of The Herp for too many Williamsburgians to count. Union Pool, which provides all the worst elements of a hipster bar while offering the same kind of drunken, dirty hedonism reminiscent of fratboy rape dens. This former pool store is a moist sweatbox of an alpha-male meat market. Close your eyes, and feel your Chuck Taylors connect with the ungodly essence of this sticky-floor party spot, an unholy abomination. The signs near the bathrooms make it plain that only one person is allowed per stall due to an excess of “debauchery” (read: keybumps and not-unrequited summer camp lust). There's even a bathroom attendant posted up to enforce this. You may think that bars shouldn't be like schools, where hall monitors enforce certain behavior among the youths, but this is what Union Pool has become: a microcosm of a school where that would happen. Though previously a legitimately cool spot where you might see the Rapture perform unannounced, it's now a poor simulacrum of what once was. Look no further than the pulsing heart of the bar: a taco truck—yes, a truck—permanently caged inside the yard's walls like a hipster culture mausoleum. It's a faint assurance of the eventual decline of this culture, or perhaps this civilization.
Decent tacos, though, all things considered.