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Making It | Zoe Hansen of Manitoba’s

For every East Village business that’s opening or closing, dozens are quietly — or not so quietly — making it. Here’s one of them: Manitoba’s.

Zoe Hansen of Manitoba'sShira Levine Zoe Hansen

Since shutting down her two brothels in 2002, Zoe Hansen has refocused her hustle, using her entrepreneurial skills to bring some semblance of order to the punk rock bar Manitoba’s on Avenue B. Her husband, Richard “Handsome Dick” Manitoba, may be the public face of the dive (he recently told The Local, “I’ve got to keep it going if just for one thing: I can’t let another Subway move in here”) but the husband and wife are very much a team. So much so that they’re shopping a reality show about their life in the East Village. We spoke with Ms. Hansen about sex, drugs, rock and roll, and… management?


You used to be a sex worker and ran a brothel. How did that prepare you for tending and running a bar?


I ran and owned a brothel on Park Avenue and 23rd Street and another on Second Avenue and 22nd Street. It’s all good material for me now that I am a writer. It’s just business, so it wasn’t any different. It was about being there all the time to make sure things are happening and flowing. It was really an office environment. We had to keep up, creatively, with advertising and marketing. Read more…