More a faded decoration museum than dive bar.
Hogs & Heifers is a Las Vegas dive bar in the same sense that the Venetian is an authentic Italian experience. And while there is certainly some kind of charm to be found in women using bullhorns to scare tourists into buying expensive shots, labeling Hogs & Heifers as an actual dive bar would do a disservice to some of the city’s true dive bar icons like the Double Down Saloon or The Dive Bar. The décor is very on-brand for a dive bar but the vibe inside is something decidedly different.
The evolution of the bar from actual dive bar to dive bar-themed Las Vegas attraction mirrors the evolution of the original Hogs & Heifers Saloon location in the Meatpacking District of New York City. Founded in 1992 by Allan Dell when the neighborhood was decidedly less gentrified, the original Hogs & Heifers Saloon location attracted up-and-coming celebrities like a young Brad Pitt as well as over 18,000 bras stapled to the bar’s walls.
A rent increase brought on by the newfound affluence of the Meatpacking District eventually spelled the end for the New York Hogs & Heifers Saloon branch. The Las Vegas incarnation of the bar opened in 2005, new owner Michelle Dell moving cross-country when the New York location was shuttered to focus on the Vegas location. The bar is Freemont Street Experience-adjacent, a few blocks from the heart of Fremont along what is called the Third Street Promenade, an outdoor seating-friendly zone bordered by the Grand Casino.
The Hogs & Heifers Saloon exterior looks promising, weathered wood paneling covered in random decorations ranging from a mounted shark to sticker-covered traffic signs. Two large entrances flank a broad patio that stretches toward the pedestrian walking zone in front of the Las Vegas bar. Motorcycle parking here is always free and the vibe definitely fits a biker bar if such a thing could be found this close to Vegas’ historic downtown core.
And then the screaming starts. Anyone with a passing familiarity with Coyote Ugly can picture the scene inside Hogs & Heifers, where the walls are covered in attractive dive bar fashion but the atmosphere doesn’t really match. A set of bartenders, armed with one or more bullhorns, are aggressive very much in line with the way a cornered animal might behave. On the plus side, no one ever waits too long for a drink. On the con side, prices can run a bit steep and the avalanche of highly recommended doubles piles up quickly.
Hogs & Heifers Saloon is more a floor show than a dive bar despite the impressively weathered decorations that line the space. Faded dollar bills, posters, photos and t-shirt cutouts can be found on every wall and across the bar’s ceiling. An homage to the bar’s original New York incarnation, bras can be found behind the bar above the liquor bottle selection. Where the overall vibe is a bit disappointing, a trip through Hogs & Heifers over delivers as far as dive bar-friendly eye candy. In true dive bar keeping, an Elvis shrine can be found in one corner of the bar’s footprint, photos, original artwork and a gold record or two serving as tribute.
Live music commands a stage in the rear of Hogs & Heifers Saloon and the bar thankfully has a policy of never charging a cover, a rarity in Las Vegas. At the end of the day, Hogs & Heifers Saloon looks like what it is, a copy of a dive bar transported to Las Vegas with all of the pros and cons that come with themed drinking spots in a city full of such businesses. The decorations are worth the visit, but aggressive, bullhorn-enabled selling perhaps suggests the visit should be a short one.