The next morning they were calling to get something back on their chest.
Tens of thousands of women took off their bras while inebriated to add to the collection decorating the East Village’s famous coyote gin Coyote Ugly Saloon.
Some, however, withdraw their support and phone the next day to request that the discarded lingerie be collected.
“It was almost like the call of shame, ‘I left my $90 Victoria’s Secret bra. It’s, you know, a 34C. Could I get it?'” the girl explained. bar owner Liliana ‘Lil’ Lovell, who celebrated the honky-tonk’s 30th anniversary on January 27.
“So they would come back and get their bra, get drunk again, and leave the bra they were wearing.”
When the original saloon on First Avenue between Ninth and Tenth Streets was renovated in 2014, bras were placed in a bag and then misplaced by the bar’s doorman.
“He actually went and took them to the cleaners or something,” Lovell, 55, said. “And all of a sudden we’re going to reopen, I’m like, ‘Where are all the bras? So we had to start from scratch. »
Now they hang on the back wall of the honky-tonk, which moved to East 14th Street in 2021.
The brunette beauty first opened Coyote Ugly with her then business partner and now ex-husband Tony Piccirillo in 1993.
She decided to staff it with all the women – who put on cowboy boots and dance on the bar.
“Women were just making more money…it’s as simple as that,” she says. “I’d like to pretend it was a feminist program, but that’s just not true.”
Back then, they had to serve food to get a liquor license.
“We put a microwave behind the bar and…a can of chili,” she recalls. “We did it just in case. [an inspector] entered.
The place is so hot there was real fire coming out of Lovell’s mouth.
“I was a good fire eater…you drank [151-proof Bacardi Rum] and you spit into a flame and it would blow fire,” Lovell said.
In 1997, former Coyote Elizabeth Gilbert, who went on to write the blockbuster memoir “Eat, Pray, Love,” wrote a story-filled GQ essay behind her bar. He inspired the 2000 Hollywood cult classic “Coyote Ugly.”
The film – in which Maria Bello portrays Lovell – grossed over $113 million and sparked worldwide interest in the bar. The saloon keeper now operates 27 locations worldwide and the brand has generated over $1 billion in revenue.
“I opened in Kyrgyzstan,” she said. “I didn’t even know where Kyrgyzstan was.
After more than three decades in the bar business, she has made some interesting observations.
In New York, bartenders never call in sick “because their rent is $2,000 a month,” she said. But his New Orleans bartenders can be creative.
“They were calling sick, ‘Lil, I can’t come today. I had rough sex with my boyfriend and one of my fake boobs burst,” she said. “I had a daughter…who said, ‘My boyfriend locked me out of the apartment and I’m naked and he cut off my fingers.'”
The Westchester native and NYU graduate started pouring drinks in her early 20s, when she worked for a brokerage firm by day and was a bartender at Village Idiot by night.
“I was making $250 a week on Wall Street,” said Lovell, who now lives in San Diego. “But, you know, as a bartender in New York, I could go home on $1,000 a night.”
She says the movie wasn’t quite accurate.
“There is a part…where she buys the whole bass per turn. I would cut my finger before doing that.
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