hole in the wall n.
1. a brothel.
|‘Upon report there should be no more Terms’ in Rump Poems and Songs (1662) i 297: And Purgatory furnisht but with Carrion: / Th’ Abomination of the Hole i’ th’ Wall, (A Bawdy-house).|
2. (US) an illicit liquor store or bar; see also sense 6.
|Iroquois Republican 25 Dec. 2/3: A ‘grocery’ — a ‘doggery’ — a ‘hole-in-the-wall’ — is an ‘odious damned spot’ in any community [DA].|
|(con. 1920s) No Mean City 213: Another pub raid – but a smaller affair than the magnificent ‘hole in the wall’ achievement – supplied the booze.|
|Thrilling Detective May [Internet] Billy Austin’s mouserie was a hole-in-the-wall where the Scotch had an accent.‘Don’t Meddle with Murder’ in|
3. a small shop.
|Big Clock (2002) 71: What kind of person would do that, buy a mess like that in some hole-in-the-wall?|
|Fowlers End (2001) 7: You go right on, straight ahead, past the hotels for men only, past the second-hand box-mattress shops, and the bituminous hole-in-the-wall where a man and his wife, black as demons, sell coal and coke by the pound.|
4. (US, also hole in the road) a small, insignificant, remote place.
|DN III:ii 141: hole in the road, n. phr. A hamlet. ‘After driving several miles we came to a hole in the road’.‘Words from Northwest Arkansas’ in|
|DA].Golden Gate 212: For the shipping of lumber, small brigs and brigantines were in wide use at first, craft that could go into the ‘holes in the wall’ along the ragged Pacific Coast [|
5. a tiny, cramped apartment.
|DA].Story of Mine 51: Many lived in ‘dug-outs,’ which they called ‘holes in the wall’ [|
6. (US) a bar; see also sense 2.
|DN IV:i 27: hole in the wall, n. [...] Also applies to dives under basements.‘Word-List From The Northwest’ in|
|Somebody in Boots 249: Nubby knew every dive, every joint, every hole-in-the-wall from Twenty-Second to Wabush.|
|Good Night, Sweet Prince 139: Let’s find some hole-in-the-wall that serves liquid dynamite.|
|(con. 1920s) Schnozzola 49: One evening Nolan’s hole-in-the-wall was held up by Jimmy’s old friend Big Joe Tennyson.|
|Goodbye to the Hill (1986) 50: I went to the hole in the wall and ordered two pints of Guinness.|
|Cherry Pie [ebook] [T]he Elwood Lounge, a groovy little hole in the wall just around the corner from my one bedroom flat.|
|Frank Sinatra in a Blender [ebook] It was still early enough to catch Happy Hour at a little hole in the wall I knew.|
7. a restaurant.
|Ocala Eve. Star (FL) 4 Dec. 3/1: Sweet milk, always fresh at the Hole in the Wall.|
|Banjo 281: He saw a policeman coming out of one of the holes-in-the-wall and finger wiping his long mustache as if he had just finished the most appetizing hors-d’oeuvre in the world.|
|(con. 1918) Rise and Fall of Carol Banks 200: We went to a little hole in the wall over in the Rue Caumartin where they had the finest food in the world.|
|in By Himself (1974) 392: Field enters a dumpy restaurant. It is a hole-in-the-wall.|
|Teen-Age Mafia 105: A real hole-in-the-wall. A battered wooden counter [...] a stud in a dirty apron messing around in the rear.|
8. an automatic teller machine (ATM), installed in the external wall of a bank or building society branch.
|Everyday Eng. and Sl. [Internet] Hole in the wall (n): ATM.|