Saturday, 15 November 2008


The Meatpacking District is one of the hottest tickets in town for swish money-guzzling boutiques, such as Stella McCartney, voguish eateries and trendy clubs and bars. Naturally the place is awash with the famous, the not so famous, the slaves to fashion, the wannabees and tourists. The whole area is designer engineered towards presenting the very latest perception of what the "in-crowd" are seeking.

It is surprising that, perhaps, the best known watering-hole in the district is "Hogs and Heifers", 859, Washington Street (corner of West 13th Street) a Country and Western biker bar, always packed, always crazy, where you are greeted by 'Hells Angels' doormen. Known for its energetic and sexy bartenders who encourage all females to dance up on the bar and donate their bra to the collection hanging above the bar. A favorite with bachelorette parties, tourists, locals and motorcyclists, there is no cover charge, cheap drinks and a great vibe.

a haven for celebrities in the mid-nineties (Brad Pitt, Gwenth PaltAfter becoming row, Daryl Hannah, Drew Barrymore, Harrison Ford) the bar skyrocketed to fame after a photograph was taken in September 1996, of Julia Roberts dancing on the bar and removing her bra. The New York Times featured this photo on its front page, and then it went around the world's press and television.

The most famous celebrity visit was on October 23rd, 2003, by the legendary Beatle, Sir Paul McCartney, who also proceeded to dance on the bar (whether he donated his bra to the bar collection is not known) and, again the photograph made its way around the world.

"Hogs and Heifers" was started by Michelle Dell's husband, Allan, in 1992, when the Meatpacking District was known for transvestite hookers and crack, not fancy restaurants, shops and clubs. Dell, with Michelle (she was his first bartender and soon became his wife) slowly built the business , and in the process helped to turn around an entire neighbourhood, turning "Hogs" into a major tourist destination, and the Meatpacking District into one of the hottest club and food destinations in the world.

Allan Dell, died in 1997, aged 31. Michelle Dell continues to operate the bar as its sole operator, as well as operating a much larger location, opened in 2005, in Las Vegas.

Get past the doormen, and a warm greeting is assured. Phew!

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