When a sweet girl named Violet (Piper Perabo) decides to swap her New Jersey hometown for the bright lights of New York City to pursue her dreams of becoming a published songwriter, her loving father (John Goodman) is desperately worried. So it's no surprise when his financially strapped daughter doesn't reveal all the details to her dad about the new job she's landed at Coyote Ugly, a watering hole that redefines "rowdy".
Only hard drinks and beer are served in this dingy bar packed full of standing patrons. Order water, and you'll get a shot -- right in the face from a water-shooter wielding barmaid. And when the girls aren't pouring eight shots at a time, they're likely clogging atop the bar in their skimpy outfits, sometimes even lighting a trail of booze to enhance their dance. Hired more for their ability to prance and tease than their drink mixing skills, these gals (nicknamed "Coyotes") are the life of the party... and the bar.
It takes a while for Violet to fit in, but the tips are great, allowing her to continue dropping off tapes with music producers. To counteract the continuous rejections, Violet slips up to the roof of her shabby flat to play her electronic keyboard (we assume she packed a long extension cord). She also relies on her new boyfriend Kevin (Adam Garcia), with whom she's having a sexual relationship, to provide emotional support. Convinced her music is good, he arranges an audition and tries to help Violet overcome her fear of performing her works in public.
It's a strange phobia considering she has accepted singing popular tunes to the bar's jukebox in front of a hundred leering men while adhering to the bar's usual dress code. But like Jerry Bruckheimer's last film Gone in 60 Seconds , where audiences were expected to root for a gang of car thieves, this Bruckheimer epic expects audiences to believe that selling your self-respect makes you a hero. When even Violet's dad becomes convinced of this fallacy, there is little left for families to howl about.