John Waters’ Guide to Hampden


“I’ve always been inspired by Hampden,” says Waters, a Baltimore native. The director maintains a local studio that he claims to have furnished mostly from Hampden’s thrift shops (which, he says, are a source for some of Manhattan’s savvy dealers). Washington Post



John Waters talking to Ed Helms for a segment on The Daily Show, in front of Atomic Books

(old 1100 W 36th St location – which is now The Old Bank Barbers).


“If there is a demimonde today like the kind at Martick’s, it’s in Hampden. Hampden is an uneasy mixture of redneck culture and hipster culture, which I love. Hampden is definitely the hipster neighborhood and a great neighborhood.” - Baltimore Sun


Pecker, John Waters’ 1998 movie – was mostly shot in Hampden.



Service Photo - Chuck Shacochis, the photographer who took Pecker’s black & white photos in the movie, works there. The current location of Service Photo is also in the building of Pecker’s dad’s bar.

Philly’s Best - Pecker’s workplace in the movie.

Hampden Food Market - Now a brand new restaurant and bar, was the facade for the grocery store scene.

Padma Salon - Once was the laundromat where Shelley worked.

Holy Frijoles bar room – The location of Pecker’s mom’s vintage store.

St. Luke’s Evangelical Lutheran Church – Their basement was used for the voting booth scene.


A Few Hampden Highlights:



Atomic Books - John’s had his fan mail sent to Atomic for over 25 years! You can leave a letter for him there. All of his books and DVDs in the store are signed.

Hampdenfest  - The annual neighborhood festival that John tries not to miss.

Rocket to Venus - John says, “It has a great mix of people, and it’s the only restaurant where a fan has ever asked me to sign their house.” The house is across the street.

Zissimos - John says, “The bar I recommended that everyone go to when I was on CBS Sunday Morning.”


John WatersMr. John Waters

John Waters at Hampdenfest.