The Meatpacking District is a small neighbourhood of about eight blocks sandwiched between Chelsea to the north and the West Village to the south, though technically I guess it’s part of Greenwich village.
The area has undergone rapid gentrification in recent years. In the 80s it was associated with drugs and prostitution, but in the 90s the yuppies and hipsters moved in and by 2004, it was “New York’s most fashionable neighborhood” according to New York magazine. I remember going to a fantastic club here back in 2006 and I presume it’s still a nightlife hotspot. This time though my visit was in the evening rather than late at night.
The Standard (Advanced A-), 848 Washington St, www.standardhotels.com
This hotel has a roof terrace bar with fantastic views of the downtown skyscrapers, the River Hudson with Jersey on the other side and in the distance, the Statue of Liberty.
It’s very popular with a young and trendy crowd and is a great place to watch the sun go down. A Negroni (B), served in plastic glass, cost me €16 in 2015.
Hogs & Heifers (Advanced A-), 859 Washington St, www.hogsandheifers.com, NOW CLOSED
This is (was) a classic New York dive bar. If you’ve seen the film Coyote Ugly you’ll have a good idea of what goes on. The barmaid uses a megaphone to abuse customers who don’t buy enough drinks or to howl like a banshee in accompaniment to the hard rock soundtrack.
What to drink when you’re in a dive bar? We settled for tequila shots and cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon, quite possibly the worst beer ever made.
This is not a place to be unpatriotic; police, vet and Teamster paraphernalia covers the walls. Nor is it a bastion of female emancipation. The barmaids encourage female customers to dance on the bar with them and remove each other’s bras, which are then added to the huge clump hanging above the bar. You can see the goings-on in this video I took.
Apparently back in 1996 Julia Roberts danced on the bar here and left her bra. The owners calculate that 16,000 bras have been removed since the bar opened in 1993.
I have recently heard that Hogs & Heifers closed in 2016 due to the rent being put up. It wasn’t my kind of place by any means but it was fun to have experienced it while it was still around. Here are six more ‘bra bars‘ should you feel like you’ve missed out.