More Racist B.S. At Union Pool?

From our mail bag. Why do we keep hearing about this shit happening at Union Pool?

We were in the back room at Union Pool on Wednesday night for an event. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the back room of Union Pool, but there’s a bar, a stage, and a balcony with stairs leading up to it.The place was really crowded with spectators that night and there were roughly seven people on the stairs, including my girlfriend, J., and 2 other friends of ours. I was on stage.
My buddy J. was the only black guy in the whole place.
Early in the event this white guy, likely in his 40’s—beard, darker hair, medium build, short hair, pretty non-descript—goes plowing up the stairs through the people to get to the balcony, muttering about people being on the stairs, but really shoves J. hard. J. says something to the effect of ‘Stop pushing people dude’ and the guy gets in his face with ‘just get out of my way’ and goes on up.
Soon after he comes plowing back down, but this time puts his hand on J.’s face and shoves him, very much singling him out. J., quite naturally says again ‘Yo dude, stop pushing people’ and the guy gets in his face again.
Then, he goes back down, gets the two bouncers, who come to the stairs, not even knowing who they’re supposed to be looking for. The guy points to J., they put their hands on him, he says ‘get your fucking hands off me.’ One of the bouncers says something about J.’s ‘attitude’ and tells him he’s got to go, which he does, with my other two friends following him out.
I’m on stage for all of this so I missed the whole thing. I got this story from my girlfriend and all three of the other guys, plus some girl who was standing on the stairs too. They were all saying how weird it was.
Important note: after the show, I’m telling this story to a friend of mine’s boyfriend, who says to me ‘oh yeah I used to work here I’m not surprised. They’re totally racist here, this shit happens all the time’
I didn’t get to talk to him long enough to find out who ‘they’ are. But wtf.
Later i found this:
Bottom line: J. was the only black guy there, and it was packed. Even if this isn’t a race thing, the guy was a prick regardless, and they seem to have a record of this kind of shit. J. did nothing wrong, nothing I wouldn’t have done myself.
I’m particularly pissed since my band has played there many many times and brought them plenty of drink-buying people, we even had a record-release show there a couple years ago which sold out. This particular night brought a huge crowd too, and while i’m doing my monkey act on stage, they’re throwing out my friend, who didn’t even want to raise a stink over this. All three of them are like ‘hey man it is what it is, don’t sweat it’
An added sting is that these guys don’t hang out in ‘hipsterland’. I.e. they’re the kinds of guys who use that word. Know what i mean? So I talk them into coming to this event my other friends and I put on, and they get kicked out inside of 20 minutes. Just fanning the flames of the ‘fuck williamsburg’ thing.


  1. I was there, 6 inches away from J watching the whole incident.
    Here are two more important notes.
    1) It wasn’t about us being on the stairs because right after my 3 friends left, the stairs filled up with a new bunch of people that were not harassed for the duration of the entire event.
    2) When my friends left, the bouncer or non-descript employee said “you two can go back in but the black kid stays out”. NO JOKE!
    I’m not one to jump on the racist blame wagon, but this really came out of nowhere.

  2. Sounds like more of a ‘fuck union pool’ than a ‘fuck williamsburg’, dontcha think?

  3. I couldn’t agree more sir. I’ve been here for years, love it, and would prefer it didn’t let this kind of bullshit slide.

  4. i’ve been going to UP for over five years and know a lot of people who have worked there. Being of some color myself, it seems it was more of an asshole prick picking on some dude. the black guy comment is weird. hmmm… overall the place is not racist, but sucks such incidences do occur.

  5. I remember when the place first opened, it was one of the first bars around, and I am ethnically latina light and went in and sat at the front of the bar with a black girlfriend happy for happy hour, only it never rolled around to us.. there were maybe 20 people in the whole place and we clearly made eye contact with the bartender, but we were not being served- and we were,not that this should matter “chickenheaded hip-hoppy chicks” we had our usual artist /uggs /vintage/ funky hair/7 jeans bullshit on and after waiting 20 minutes we just left. this was about 7 years ago and I thought I was imagining it.
    I’ve gone there after that for a charity event, but that rockabilly redneck steez of theirs is just such a turnoff, even when a few years ago I heard they were having some kind of hip hop night. go figure..

  6. Union pool is probably the worst bar in Williamsburg. I’ve only been here two months and been to it twice and both times was lame. Plus, all anyone has ever said when UP becomes the topic of conversation, i almost ALWAYS here the same comment: “That’s where you find someone to take home with you, basically.”
    That’s disgusting. I’m really not surprised something like this happened at that lame fucking bar.

  7. V: You may not be imagining. I was there earlier in the summer with an Asian friend (I’m also Asian) and it seemed like the bartender was serving everyone before us. Not though, that when I go with my white friends, this is not the case.

  8. Who is the guy who singled ‘J’ out? What’s his function? Is he management? I think that’s an important question here…

  9. The guy who singled J out was just some white guy who got mad, and then got two bouncers to come eject J. The problem here is that when the bouncers came, all of the apathetic fucks on the stairs stair who witnessed the event and knew J was not at fault said nothing to his defense (according to this account). If it was so absurd that the bouncers would be throwing him out, someone should have just said to one of the bouncers- hey the guy who told you to throw J is the one with the attitude problem, throw him out. If no one on the stairs protested, for all they (the bouncers) knew, this kid really was starting shit and need to be thrown out! If no one tried to explain what happened, I don’t really see how you can hold the bouncers, and therefor UP responsible. So i guess, Fuck all the people on the stairs?

  10. i was in the back patio once, when a guy was pissing in the corner. the guy happened to be hispanic. it had just rained, so everything was wet, and he was way in the corner in the back. the bouncer came out to take out the trash, and noticed the guy. the bouncer WENT COMPLETELY APE SHIT and started screaming at the guy and kicked him out, following him relaly close behind like he was going to physically pick the guy up and thro him out at any moment. he continued screaming at the guy as the guy said absolotuely nother back, and was clearly on his way out, totally embarassed. i didnt go inside to follow, but the verbal harrasing continued all the way to the patio door. so it was obv pretty stupid to piss in the back patio- the bar was empty inside and out, it would have been so easy for him to just to go the toilet- but anyone watching would agree that this guy flipped out in an extreme, dispassionate way (if i was the guy i would have been really shaken up). was race involved? maybe maybe not

  11. scot free says:

    Went to Up the other day and it was the worst bar we’ve been in since we arrived here on holiday from Glasgow.
    Rude staff; ruder customers. Won’t be going back.

  12. fuck the pool. come to savalas, probably the most diverse bar in wburg. ive seen hasidic jews party it up here.
    and the staff is alot cooler than th.e douches at union racism

  13. To AJAX – I was there and did in fact come to J’s defense to both the employee who started trouble with him in the first place and the henchman bouncer that came to kick J out later. It was clear they came and just wanted to get J out. They were determined. But to a bigger point, is it the patrons’ responsibility to make the employees of UP to run their business right? Why shift the blame?

  14. Yeah AJAX, I don’t see your point either.
    Say, a cab runs over a pedestrian and a witness fails to chase down the cab, is it no longer the cabbie’s fault, but the witness’s?
    The guy who had the bouncers throw J out works for Union Pool. The bouncers took their orders from that guy; doubtful they’d have suddenly seen the light if the others contradicted him- some of them in fact did. Maybe they’re just not as brave and badass as you are.
    But that’s irrelevant in the first place. Union Pool is responsible for its employees’ actions, not the customers who keep their business alive. Maybe these awful people on the stairs just didn’t want to make any more waves? Or get kicked out themselves? Or get hurt?
    Fuck all the people on the stairs? You really mean that? Why would you even go there?
    Do you work at Union Pool?

  15. MidwestJackAsses says:

    Williamsburg has been taken over by morons from the midwest that have never seen black people before.

  16. Free Barabbas! says:

    I guess we can only rely on the eyewitnesses and it sounds like they clearly saw some racist bullshit. I have gay friends who have been harassed lately as well with “Faggot” being thrown around by Bouncers at the end of the night.
    I find it weird that a Bar wouldn’t worry about alienating its customers but I guess a place like Union Pool is always packed so maybe they figure they don’t need to worry about that. I’ve stopped going since the scene there has gotten lamer and lamer over the years. This just cements the place as dead to me.

  17. “Williamsburg has been taken over by morons from the midwest that have never seen black people before.”

  18. Union Pool has a myspace page with a caption thing at the top that says “Please, don’t be stupid”. Real nice Union Pool, real nice.
    Fuck you.

  19. Williamsburg has been taken over by morons from the midwest that have never seen black people before.
    I’m from the Midwest and have seen more racist bullshit from native New Yorkers than I ever saw in the Midwest. Go fuck yourself. Dumbfuck.

  20. texanvixen says:

    dude, FUCK this bar!!! The music always sucks, the crowd is lame, the OVERPRICED tacos are ridiculous. Never goin back…

  21. all of you are the idiots. I am glad you all are chatting about how you hate UP so much, so all of you never go again. I am asian and I never have a problem getting a drink or getting harrassed. the story teller neglected to say that the stairs are clearly roped off, in fact it is kind of hard to climb over the rope and up the stairs, as well as completely lying that there was only one black person there. are you kidding? Are black people invisible to you? so convenient that you left out that there is a black bouncer who was working that night. I know because I was a girl who wrestled that night and saw the incident and saw the bouncer. you all are crazy and nay sayers and need to get a serious life. please DON’T go to the union pool, because I don’t want to encounter people like you.

  22. Yeah it’s true, this whole story got misnamed really.. who knows if the dude is really racist or not. Ultimately it’s probably irrelevant.
    If you go to big places like Union Pool you just have to know what you’re getting into.. places like that churn a lot of people through them as opposed to smaller bars, so big bars need bouncers to handle the knuckleheads that sometimes do in fact require a kick in the ass.
    And any of us who’ve worked in bars know what it’s like to get irritated with customers. We know what it’s like when all those people out there start looking more and more like glassy-eyed cattle; it shouldn’t be surprising at all that Union Pool’s got some aggro staff since places of that ilk invariable draw a good number of creeps who play their part in jading (some) of them.
    So I think ultimately the guys on the stairs were just guilty of not knowing they were skating on thin ice as soon as they walked in the door. No big surprise, what happened soon thereafter.
    As for ropes across the stairs: that rope wasn’t in place that night, and even if it was there earlier in the evening, the guy who got tossed didn’t know about it since folks were on the stairs already when he and his two friends got there. By the way, one of the 3 guys is a NYC Forensics Investigator. He probably would’ve noticed a rope barricade.
    Bottom line is Union Pool will just continue to draw more and more of the kind of crowd that belongs in places like it, and fewer of the ones who don’t. It is what it is.
    Peace out people

  23. I’ve been going to union pool for years and have NEVER encountered or witnessed any situation (or persons) to be racist. This situation on the stairs…I’ve gotten away with sitting on the stairs for shows, BUT THERE HAS ALSO BEEN TIMES I’VE BEEN TOLD TO MOVE OFF THE STAIRS! This is not a race issue this is a SAFETY ISSUE! If you’ve ever worked in a bar you’d know it is simply not safe to have people who are consuming alcohol hanging out on stairs! Not to mention it being potentially dangerous for the employees trying to continuously make their way through the crowded stairs. I was at union pool for the election and was proud to be in a place that reflected what America was so joyously celebrating…the unification of all people on all walks of life, of all races! I can’t believe that in a time when this country is finally moving forward that there are people in our community misdirecting their
    anger towards a place and a people that do not deserve it! SO FOR THE RECORD UNION POOL IS NOT RACIST. UNION POOL IS WHERE YOU GO TO HAVE A BEER.

  24. Union Pool is not racist. They let minorities sell coccaine out of there regularly.

  25. that’s right, giselle. they really got a hold on the affirmative action thing.

  26. Faces Of Seth says:

    Is it any wonder that a place that used to sell swimming pools would have an atmospheric aversion to black people?
    Imagine if they opened up a bar where they once sold dance floors. I bet crackers would be turned away left and right

  27. Union Pool Sucks Enough says:

    Union Pool was rad a few years ago when FREDDY was the bouncer. Freddy was not only really chill but knew how to handle shit. The bartenders have changed also. Haven’t been there in a long time, but the last time I was there I hadn’t been there for 6months and one of the female bartenders with tattoos automatically assumed I was another Asian girl who had apparently been banned or kicked out the night before. I told her it wasn’t me and that I hadn’t been there in several months but she, and her racist convictions, were so fucking sure I was. At that time Freddy was still bouncing and I had to get him to say to this bitch it wasn’t me. (Even beyond this night, this clown ass bitch also made some shitheaded remarks about leaving her tips when we already did.)
    Needless to say, that was my one and only throw back racist encounter at Union Pool and clearly I’m fucking over that place. I’m actually so used to getting racist bullshit sometimes I think it’s just me. But apparently not.
    FUCK THIS PLACE. Obama might have won, but there’s still plenty of ignorant motherfuckers to reharsh everything.


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