Don Hill Has Died

Categories: Nightlife

Don Hill was one of the legendary club owners of New York--a man who cared about rock and roll, his performers, and his audiences.

Don never wanted things to be complacent or boring, but he did all that with a decency and low-key niceness that made business dealings with him very palatable.

I sometimes wondered if he was some hillbilly who'd wandered into the NYC club scene by mistake--he was that unpretentious!

In the '80s, Don opened the Cat Club, which featured all kinds of bands, celebrity drop-ins, bridge and tunnel people, plus a stage revue of "the Cat Club dancers".

More significantly, he went on to open the world famous Don Hill's (511 Greenwich Street) in the 1990s, which became the home to the rock bash Squeezebox and has long catered to other music and charity events with a ragtag elegance and a smashing spirit.

It's a dive in the best sense of the word.

Don Hill really rocked.

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29 comments
Itinerants
Itinerants

He was a True Gentleman. I remember hangin' with him at the Tropical Pub in Bradley Beach.One of the nicest guys in the bizz...He will be missed

Ruben
Ruben

Greenwich village greatest R.I.P. Brother Don you are always in my heart (street musician - Ruben Riera -Flautist

kevin mcnamara
kevin mcnamara

don always made you feel like a part of whatever was going down lol...he was the most down to earth cat i have ever met...AND...you never paid for your first beer...played there,loved it there,got lost there(hahaha)...gonna miss you don!!! kevin mcnamara(tidewater grain,the bleeding hearts/philly)

JennBell
JennBell

I worked for Don Hill as a cocktail waitress for sometime in the 90's, he was a sweet, gentle, and genuine person dispite his support of super rock star egos. Don gave everyone the same level of respect. From the occasional drop in personalities like John Waters & Debra Harry to now famous designer Richie Rich and Lady Bunny. He made stars out of his staff Bobby, Tommy, and I forgetting the super hot female bartenders who were equally cool and tragic. No one has mentioned that you couldn't talk to Don with out getting a shower. His lisps was as legendary as his club, but though you may have come out of conversation with a little spit on the face for a young girl work Squeeze Box a little spit was the least of my worries. RIP Don I thanks for keeping NYC cool.

Above-n-beyond
Above-n-beyond

Don Hill was a breath of fresh air in the night club business. He gave me one of my first residencies as a deejay at the Cat Club... which later evolved into Kookhouse Nights with Bobby Bradley and Paul Broadbeck. He was alywas fair and supportive.

Spencerdrate
Spencerdrate

People would like to pay respects to don at his funeral and it would help if this info could be posted here-date,time and place location-thank you and god bless don.

Tom Finn
Tom Finn

Don was a very soft spoken, quiet, shy and unpretentious guy. I spent many countless hours in his presense. Uptown Kenny's Castaways in the early 70's was where he paid his dues. Working as manager for Patrick Kenny, a tough Irish immigrant who dId things one way, HIS WAY wasn't easy for Don who always looked like something was wrong or he was very nervous, but despite what he looked like, Kenny's was the perfect place for him to learn. Which he did and went on to make NYC club history. I always will think of him fondly and with admiration. Tom Finn

Spencerdrate
Spencerdrate

A Good Man-Good Friend-Was the fire behind Pat Kenny's "Kenny's Castaways"and other venues.Sorely missed in the Music Biz.He touched so many peopleand me.A shock!-Spencer Drate

Villager421
Villager421

Between the Cat Club and opening his own club, Don co-managed a band that was signed to RCA and recorded an album that was never released. That's when I met him. He was always a gentleman in business dealings, and many years after the band was dropped from RCA, he still remembered me and made me feel at home when I went to his club.

Barkley
Barkley

Love that place. Met Furious George there one night, he had a Manhattan Cable show.

jrosario
jrosario

Back in the days when Hard Rock ruled the New York City Club life. Most club owners/bookers were the biggest A-hole, attitude laden jerks you every wanted to do business with. Don was the only exception to the rule. Whenever I needed to book one of my bands at the" Cat Club" or his namesake club, Don would open the book and simply say " Joe pick a night" . A true gent and class act. He will be missed.Edit Reply

DJJason
DJJason

Don Hills was a nice guy, and in 1993 had his own self named club, but he was only manager of the Cat Club. Roy Webb the legendary club operator from "The Salvation" "The Electric Circus" "The Copacabana"...etc, opened NYC's Cat Club.

Parksideny
Parksideny

I knew Don, back at Kenny's Castaways. He had a great ear for talent, and a deep love of musicians. Peace to you, Don. You have many friends in the Angel Band.

Pink Chocolate
Pink Chocolate

I hope the spot will be able to stay open and keep rock going in NYC. It was a great place to play, and I'm gonna miss it if it goes.

Eamoncronin
Eamoncronin

RIP Don.Thank you for being you.One of a kind.~Eamon Cronin

Bryan Feinberg
Bryan Feinberg

I'm sure that anyone that had the pleasure to just hang out with Don knows what a special soul he was. His Sandbox was all about keeping the music going. I cant even begin to imagine how many bands he elevated over the years. As much as his events reached legendary status, just kicking back there with him was always special. He held court in his own way and will surely be missed.

bm345
bm345

I loved don hills and spent most of my 20s there, got to know him a little- he was exactly as described above, super nice, never a dick despite the fact that his club had lines around the corner. I went once and watched as the bouncers insisted that both Gisele and Macauley Culkin wait on line like the rest of the world. You've gotta love a guy who makes that a rule with his staff- and that would never, ever happen today. RIP Don Hill, you will be missed.

Kwnyc
Kwnyc

I had some of the best times in that club...saw some amazing performances, and found an odd sort of home.

Musto
Musto

PS: Varying reports have it that he either was found died in his apartment or died in the hospital. I'll try to find out more details.

Spencerdrate
Spencerdrate

DON HILL FUNERAL INFO: St Patricks Cathedral-WEDNESDAY-6:30 PM-263 MULBERRY STREET...AFTER RECEPTION AT DON HILLS-8PM ON

Raymond Correa
Raymond Correa

Along with Pat Kenny.

Rest in Peace Don. Pleasure working with/for and knowing you.

elmtr
elmtr

have some respect, dickhead. People knew this guy and loved him.

Spencerdrate
Spencerdrate

Can people who want to pay respects to don get info on funeral-date,time and where info here.

Spencerdrate
Spencerdrate

I support of what you just commented-"negative" OR "lack of respect" people are NOT wanted on these posts.

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