HBO Was Once Sued Over An Iconic ‘Sex and the City’ Scene

During its six-season run, Sex and the City had a ton of defining and hilarious moments. While fans generally love any scene that includes Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big, one of the most discussed episodes of the entire series had nothing to do with them. In the season 6 episode, “The Post-It Always Sticks Twice”, Carrie discovered that her boyfriend had broken up with her on a Post-It note. To drown her sorrows, she and her friend head out on the town, only to find themselves on the hunt for marijuana. The episode ended when Carrie was almost arrested for smoking on a street corner. While fans love the episode, the bar whose name was originally used in the bar scenes was not pleased. In fact, the bar, Down the Hatch, sued HBO to ensure their establishment would not be connected to the illegal sale of drugs.

The owners of Down The Hatch sued HBO

Just one week before “The Post-It Always Sticks Twice” set to be released, Down the Hatch filed paperwork to prevent HBO from airing the episode. The bar, which had been business for more than a decade in 2003, took issue with the fact that Carrie scored an illicit drug while hanging out at the nightspot. According to The New York Post, a lawyer for the establishment claimed the use of the bar’s name could cause damage to the business.

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In the 2003 statement made by the establishment’s lawyer, the owners of the nightspot claimed Down the Hatch had a spotless record with the city. Reportedly, the owners feared an association with the show, and the show’s character buying marijuana could cause trouble for them with patrons and the police. The bar’s name was removed from the episode, and no one was any worse off for it. Down the Hatch still operates today at its original location on West 4th Street, and the episode aired with only minor alterations.

The episode was never filmed at the location

It was easy enough for HBO to swap out the name of the bar where the four pals procured a joint. The cast never actually filmed inside Down the Hatch. Instead, filming took place inside 7B. The Avenue B institution is known by several names and has appeared in a variety of different films. The Goodfather II filmed scenes inside the bar. 7B, which also goes by the name, The Horseshoe, was also used for scenes in The Verdict, according to Untapped New York. It’s easily identifiable from the street by its bright red door and Tudor-style windows.

Close up of the HBO logo at the Game of Thrones Premiere
The HBO logo | Liam McBurney/PA Images via Getty Images

So why didn’t HBO ever film inside Down the Hatch if they used the bar’s name? Down the Hatch would have been a logistical nightmare for the crew. The bar is small and dark, thanks in part to the fact that it sits below street-level. Most people would hardly consider it a true dive, though. While Charlotte York described the fictional version of Down the Hatch as smelly, the actual bar is popular and, frankly, smells like most other bars. It’s best known for its jukebox and Sunday brunch.  

HBO changed the name of the bar that Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte went to buy marijuana

To fix the issue, HBO decided to change the name of the bar in the episode. Instead of Down the Hatch, Miranda Hobbes, and Carrie both identify the bar they walk into as Drown the Hound. No such bar exists within New York City. The name was likely chosen because it closely resembled Down the Hatch, at least when mouthed. Because the scenes had already been filmed, the team behind Sex and the City, simply went back and created voiceovers for when the bar’s name was spoken. Using a name that was close to Down the Hatch was likely the easiest option.  

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If you watch the episode back, you may notice that neither Miranda nor Carrie’s lips fit what they are saying. It is unknown why the production team decided to use the bar’s name in the first place, instead of simply using the name of the bar where they filmed the scenes. It’s possible that 7B was fine with the show being shot on-premises, but refused to agree to the suggestion that people were dealing marijuana inside the establishment. The sale of marijuana is still considered a felony in the state of New York, although the possession of marijuana for recreational use has been decriminalized.