R.I.P. Don Hill's, A Look Back At Our Favorite Moments

by Mara Siegler · April 27, 2011

    Less than a month after nightlife legend Don Hill passed, the eponymously named club has shut its doors. The New York institution, with its gritty glam and open door policy, has been turned over to developers Ponte Equities. We take a look back at our favorite moments at one of our favorite places.

    Nur Khan gave a statement to Page Six stating:

    "After the unexpected passing of Don Hill, there was no doubt in my mind about continuing his legacy by bringing in incredible talent over the last year, such as Iggy and the Stooges, the Kills, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, as well as nurturing younger talent. Don Hill was loved by the community. Unfortunately," he added, the property offered a "moneymaking opportunity unconcerned with preserving Don's legacy. I will be sad to see the doors close as it was such a passion project for me."

    [Photo Credit: David X Prutting/BFAnyc.com]

    [Daily Style Phile: The Many Rings Of Nur Khan]

    It's surprising how suddenly the doors were shut. Just last week, the space held the after party for Urban Catwalk and Julia Roberts and her husband Danny Moder hung out on Saturday night after their new film Jesus Henry Christ screened at Tribeca Film festival.

    [Guests Show Off Their Best Street Style For Urban Catwalk Launch Party At Don Hill's]

    [Last Night's Parties: Julia Roberts Hangs Out At Don Hill's, Jeremy Piven Plays Pool]

    Don Hill's reopened during Fashion Week with a line-up that secured its spot as the place to be come sundown. It saw Iggy Pop, The Yeah Yeahs, Crystal Castles, and Courtney Love singing Lady Gaga. Scenesters like Terry Richardson and Waris Ahluwalia filled the room, and random celebrities from Mickey Rourke to Juliette Lewis brushed elbows with downtown cool kids. It kept the momentum up post-Fashion Week and was named our number one nightlife spot this year by GofG.

    [2010 Superlatives: The Best In NY Nightlife]

    [Style reporters Shocked To Find Fun fashion Week Parties]

    [Don Hill's, Already A Legend (Again) With Yeah Yeah Yeahs Performance]

    [Nur Khan On Why Don Hill's Is Not All About Fashion Week]

    [Iggy Pop images via The Cobra Snake]

    It was the place some scattered to when the Beatrice closed:

    [The Beatrice Inn: Where Are They Now?]

    Don Hill was a giant supporter of the music scene and if the space was known for anything, it was for rock n' roll. The Kills drew in a crowd that included Debbie Harry just last month.

    [Photo Credit: David X Prutting/BFAnyc.com]

    [The Hip Set Comes Out For The Kills At Don Hill's]

    [SPIN Hosts The 2010 Year In Music Party With Performance FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE]

    [Don Hill's Opens Its Doors For Creem Magazine]

    Except for nights where there were major events, there was no guest list, one of the best things about the space.  Hipsters, artists, the young, the old, the beautiful, the ugly, and the Olsens could all co-exist, not give a shit about posturing, and have a good time.

    [Photo Credit: David X Prutting/BFAnyc.com]

    [Photo Credit: David X Prutting/BFAnyc.com]

    [Photo Credit: David X Prutting/BFAnyc.com]

    [Chloe Sevigny Celebrates Her New Opening Ceremony Line At Don Hill's]

    [THE TRAIN & THE BOX New York Event & After Party]

    [ADAM KIMMEL & CARHARTT Celebrate The 2011 Collection With HANK III]

    When Don passed many wondered what would become of the legendary space without him. He was a nightly fixture- hanging near the corner of the bar, always quietly looking on.  He was the spirit of the place.

    What's sad is that Steve Lewis made a prediction of Nostradomian proportions about what would happen:

    "In an age where bottle service pays the bills, greed might win out. Paul and Nur will do their best, no doubt, but death brings vulture--types who feed on despair and confusion. They may have other less fabulous ideas about the property. We must support the legacy of Don Hill, and maintain one of the few places in town where guys like him and I could actually hang out. Don Hill was a gentleman, and that's the greatest compliment I have about a fellow."

    [Nightlife Legend Don Hill Passes Away]

    [NYers Send Off Don Hill]

    What happened to this?

    [Nur Khan To Erect Shrine To Don Hill]

    I'm personally heartbroken at the loss. Don Hill's was the one place in the city that went beyond just a guaranteed good time. Something about the place made you feel like you were part of a larger moment, even if that moment was as personal as your own youth. Along with the evenings captured here, I am sure we all have our own stories to tell. I think of my early 20's, of discovering this thing called the MisShapes, of Fashion Week spent smoking on a banquette dancing and sweating my face off and getting lost in whatever music was being played live on stage, of a recent birthday dancing (always dancing!) till I was dizzy and happy enough to not care what age the date on my driver's license said, or running into my ex boyfriend who had dumped me a week earlier and going to cry in the bathroom only to be wrestled out by good friends after he left. They bought me shot after shot until I was ready to get the dance party started again and forget all about my broken heart-and dance and forget I did, thus claiming the spot as my own.  He could have whatever he wanted. But I got Don Hill's.

    Let us know your stories in the comments, please!

    [Top Image by Billy Farrell for BFA]