Bartender Chronicles: Kerry Lacy, Union Pool

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Photos by Sarah Jacobs

Have you ever wondered what life is like for those kind and patient people pouring shots behind the bar? This summer we’re bringing you a meet and greet with some of your favorite faces behind the bar at your favorite haunts. After the jump, Kerry Lacy from Union Pool shares what she thinks is the “official” drink of Brooklyn.

How long have you been a bartender?
It has been almost four years.

What brought you to bartending?
Just the flexible hours. And I quit my job in a coffee shop and it was so exciting to have all of my days free and be able to make cash and have a job that was social and fun and didn’t even seem like work.

What else do you like about it?
Right now at Union Pool it’s definitely the people I work with. It’s such a family and everyone always has each other’s side, just that sense of being on a team that really cares about you and people give you massages when your shoulders are sore and let you bitch about annoying customers and just really kind of unique to bartending. It doesn’t really–I mean, it does exist in all sorts of things, but this is a special bartender team and family that’s really special.

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How long has Union Pool been open, and are there any traditions from the early days that you’ve kept going?
It’s been open since I think the year 2000 or the year 2001. We definitely drink a lot of Cazadores [tequila]. We try to have affordable drinks, and we don’t cater too much to–I mean, still keeping our customers in mind, but we don’t cater too much to the changes and we kind are just still a humble rock and roll bar with good music.

What’s your advice for a good customer?
Say please and thank you and leave a good tip. That’s really all there is to it. And don’t hit on your bartender. There’s plenty of other girls in the bar that you can hit on.

What’s rule No. 1 for a good bartender?
Just fast and friendly. I think it’s pretty simple. Look people in the eye, and just try not to take it too personally. Just do your job. That’s something I often have to remind myself of.

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If you could pick an official cocktail for the borough of Brooklyn — or more specifically Williamsburg — what would it be?
Well, even though it’s getting fancier, I would say a shot of Jameson and a beer. Keep it real.

What’s your go-to after-work drink?
I’m a tequila lady myself.

When you’re not bartending, what do you do?
I am finishing up my undergrad degree at the New School. I’m in my last two weeks…I’m a visual artist…I also book shows at Union Pool in the afternoons once a month called Afternoon Hang — you can find it on Facebook. Keep an eye out for it. I also book shows and DJ.

Do you think there are any similarities between bartenders and whiskey?
They’re both strong and smooth. [Laughs.]

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What is the worst way for a customer to get your attention?
Just like whistling and yelling, it’s just so rude. Just be patient and make eye contact. That’s the most polite way to get someone’s attention…Or when people ask you your name just so they can yell your name to get your attention. I hate that, too.

Come say hi to Kerry at Union Pool during Northside Festival–check out the lineup of shows at Union Pool.

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