This weekend, we made a point to swing by the new incarnation of The Hog Pit. We’ve spent many whiskey fueled nights at the original location in the Meatpacking District. We were pleased to learn that the bar survived a rent hike by moving itself to a new front on 26th street. The whiskey, and the fried pickles, will live on.
We were struck by the scale of the new location: the small and gritty Hog Pit of the past has become an industrial scale slaughterhouse. Country music still blared from the jukebox, but the mood was nothing like the seedy roadhouse vibe that staked its claim on West 13th Street. The vaulted ceilings and $7 draft beers left us longing for what we love about the original: it’s a dark corner to drink in. As we sipped our beer, we worried that the new locale may have more in common with neighboring club Porky’s than with the quality meat of the original location. Cavernous ceilings. Too bright lighting. Demoralizing lack of character.
We wish the new Hog Pit luck – it just opened, and we’ll definitely head back with hopes that a line of motorcycles will be parked outside. If enough piggies show up to feast on some succulent BBQ / drink themselves into the muck, then they might just be able to pull it off. We are rooting (oinking) for them.
As it stands, we fear that the brand has lost its magic in the move. Much like the Meatpacking District, it seems a shell of its former self. The whiskey may still flow, the fried pickles may continue to come out of the kitchen, but any real butchering stopped long ago. We hope that this will be one plus side to the current economic downturn. With the real estate market starting to fall, greedy landlords won’t be able to raise rents, and our favorite whiskey soaked haunts (whose numbers have sadly dwindled) won’t be forced to move in the first place.
The original location is open until January. Rumor has it that its slated to become an upscale retail store – a fact that makes us gag more than another shot of Jack. We’ll be back before it closes for good, and hope that the party, like the bar, can make its way to 26th street when it’s all over.