Last night, Brooklyn Community Board members voted 6 to 2 in favor of a motion to deny Union Hall a liquor license renewal. The bar, opened in 2006, is one of the most popular watering holes in the entire borough. The epitome of hipster-chic (dusty bookshelves, ironic taxidermy, my-grandma-had-that furniture), it is packed most nights from happy hour to the wee hours. I should know: I lived directly across the street for two years.
Opponents of the bar complained mostly about the noise, claiming that drunks, smokers, and loud curbside cell phone conversations were disrupting their sleep. In the summer, they argued, the side garden is open and the racket is even worse, making a good night's rest nearly impossible.
Unless the owners of Union Hall take harsh and drastic steps to cut back on the din—including halting the sale of alcohol at midnight—they will likely have to shutter, which I think would be a shame.
More than a place to pop by for a pint, Union Hall features indoor bocce courts; live comedy, music, and readings; and one of those awesome, double-sided fireplaces. They serve food, too: mini chili dogs, Kentucky beer cheese with Ritz Crackers, and crisp chicken pot stickers.
I would guess that the entire time I lived on the block, noise from Union Hall woke me up about ten times (and it was always from people out on the street—never music or thumping bass lines from inside the actual bar). Annoying, yes, but nothing a loud fan or white-noise machine couldn't quell. Most nights, I simply turned on my ancient, humming air conditioner and was back asleep in minutes. Maybe I grumbled and was a little bleary-eyed the next morning, but in the end, it was a price I was definitely willing to pay for their giant, triple-olive bloody Marys.
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