''Sex and the City'' suit is averted. The show agrees to change the name of a New York nightspot depicted as a drug den

By Gary Susman
Updated August 04, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

A New York nightspot’s 11th-hour bid to prevent HBO from airing Sunday’s episode of ”Sex and the City,” which depicted the bar as a place where the employees sell marijuana, was averted when HBO agreed on Friday to weed out the objectionable references. According to the New York Post, the initial version of the episode had called Down the Hatch, a bar in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, ”smelly” and ”a dump,” had staged a brawl there (though the episode was filmed elsewhere), and had depicted one of the characters buying pot from a bartender. But before the lawyers for Down the Hatch could seek a temporary injunction against the show, the cable network agreed to change the references to allude to a fictional bar.

Apparently, HBO thought the club would be flattered by the drug reference. The averted suit claimed that HBO had told Down the Hatch’s owners that being named in the show would ”result in positive publicity and increased patronage,” the Post reports. But the owners said they were worried that being thought of as a drug den could lose the nightspot its liquor license. Upon settling, HBO released a statement, saying, ”The show obviously meant no disrespect at all to the owners, and because the bar was uncomfortable with the reference we changed it.”