Moving up from The Meat Packing District to Chelsea is a weird move for this honky-tonk barbecue joint. Ignore the fact it now sits directly across the street from a much more popular bbq, Hill Country, and think about pool and foosball tables, hog heads on the walls, ladies’ night, American beer, eagle decorations and a Jagermeister machine sitting in the land of the leather pants (and not in a biker kind of way) and the Euro-dance DJ. Granted, the MPD has turned into that over the years too, but there was something about the cobblestones and the relative grittiness of the actual meat packers who still reside down in that location that seemed like the perfect fit for a bar with “hog” in its name. Of course there was the old Swinging Hog Bar in Chelsea, but that’s a whole different story… This new incarnation has dark wainscoting up one third of the blood red walls, two kinds of Tabasco on every worn wood table and flames painted on the mirror behind the long-ish bar. The space is much improved, and much more comfortable than the old space, but has certainly lost some of its red neck charm. Gone is the galvanized tub filled with beer, the metal prison plates and the college puke-fest stank emanating from its low-ceilinged innards. This one comes off as a more straightforward bar that, dare I say, is actually quite pleasant and inviting. We didn’t eat here this time, and probably shouldn’t have at the old one given the roach to people ratio, but the beer was cold, the space relatively empty and my stool quite comfortable. [MF]
37 W 26th St.