Local 138I was once in a union. It got me an extra twenty-five cents an hour on top of minimum wage and all the soda and popcorn I could eat at break time. Between the dues (which, after being adjusted to the extra quarter brought me below minimum wage of $4.25) and the rat poop in the kernels, my one union experience was not as stellar as you’d think it might be. A teamster I was not. As ambivalent as I was to my union experience, I couldn’t be sunnier about Local 138 and its faux union theme (a play on the address, obviously, and not like the bartender’s or smelter’s union) wrapped in the skin of a good old fashion dive bar. I immediately warmed to its oddball, wood paneled interior as The Smiths swelled from bar’s speakers and the low key crowd talked in small groups and the bartender (who was actually a dude!) served us inexpensive domestics at one of the few stools at the small-ish bar. With its jutting corners, unfortunate cheap mirror placement and overall choppy aesthetic, it does elicit the feeling of being in a fraternity basement or VFW rec room—albeit a very dark one with good music. This place certainly ain’t a rip-roarin’ time, but one could certainly do worse than hangin’ with a couple friends, listening to some 80’s college rock and drinking a cold Bud without douchey crooked hat kids, a Euro DJ spinning ambient acid jazz or Jersey shore-lookin’ assholes doing Woo Woo shots out of the bartender’s navel getting in your way of a pleasant night. [MF]


138 Ludlow St.
212/477-0280