Top 10: Fictional TV Bars and Over-21 Establishments
Much like television eateries, where food takes a backseat to the action, bars and over-21 establishments on TV aren't the place to discuss oatmeal vs. imperial stouts, how 2005 Saint-Émilions are drinking, or the merits of different aromatics and botanicals in small batch gins. They run the gamut from happy to sad places, where characters can both celebrate personal victories and wallow in setbacks. Because that's what friends and alcohol are for.
10. Maclaren's Pub, How I Met Your Mother
We know Manhattan apartments can be uncomfortable -- which might help explain much of the city's public life -- but Ted, Barney, Robin, Marshall, and Lily all seem to have fairly nice pads. And yet they'd rather always warm a booth and knock back a few pints at this fairly standard, cozy Irish style pub.
The bar's location near Seattle Grace Hospital, with all those Type A doctors fleeing that pressure cooker of a place at the end of the day, makes for a guaranteed customer base. But there's always so much damn drama. How does Joe put up with it?
8. One Eyed Jack's, Twin Peaks
Residents of Twin Peaks were generally up to no good when they crossed the border to visit One Eyed Jack's. Maybe its customers could legitimately claim they weren't aware of the shady activities happening at the casino and brothel, since audiences didn't know what the hell was going on in David Lynch's world of Twin Peaks either.
7. The Regal Beagle, Three's Company
Even in TV sitcoms of the 1970s and 80s, Santa Monica was portrayed as a pedestrian friendly, tight knit community where Janet, Jack, and Chrissy could go to the Regal Beagle and not have to drink and drive. Food and drink businesses provided other life lessons, too. Jack honed those quick, think-on-your-feet instincts when cooking at Angelino's (and later at Jack's Bistro), which must have helped him keep up the whole gay charade thing and avoid eviction.
6. Bada Bing, The Sopranos
Silvio Dante managed to keep the Bing running smoothly at the front of the house and in the top secret back offices, all while managing his duties as Tony's consigliere. He apparently never bothered to check New Jersey laws, however, because the state prohibits nudity in any establishment where alcohol is served. Then again, Sil, Tony and crew never let a few pesky regulations get in their way.
5. Wherever Isaac is tending bar on The Love Boat
Chances are Isaac wasn't an expert in Prohibition Era cocktails or the subtleties of mixology. Instead, that blender was probably busy blending fluorescent colored tropical drinks. But he must have had some crazy stories from the ship, and his paper umbrella-topped concoctions were the perfect accompaniment to enjoying the open sea.
4. The Tropicana, I Love Lucy
Seeing Ricky Ricardo's place of work was a rare treat on I Love Lucy, because people in sitcoms were mostly limited to domestic settings (and sets). Nonetheless, we hope club-goers could enjoy a decent daiquiri while hearing a hot set from Ricky's band. As for the club's food, there was probably more Steak Diane and less ropa vieja coming from the kitchen.
3. Moe's, The Simpsons
Even if Amada Hugenkiss, Oliver Clothesoff, and Jacques Strap weren't anywhere to be found at the Simpson's favored watering hole, plenty of locals were always around to talk about the latest going-ons in Springfield. (Read more about other food and drink talk in the Simpson's here).
2. Cheers, Cheers
A sense of history. A reliable stable of regulars. Warm predictability. Characters with intriguing back stories. At least one sober guy. These are qualities people want in their television shows and local bars. No wonder Cheers ran for eleven seasons.
1. Archie Bunker's Place, Archie Bunker's Place
What's a retired blue collar widower and recovered gambling addict in a New York City outer borough to do? Open a bar, of course. Archie Bunker's Place always seemed kind of depressing, with the bad lighting, dark colors, and Archie's grief over Edith's death hanging over the dive as palpably as the stench of stale cigarettes and beer. But that's why Norman Lear's television universe was such an interesting place to be. Note: We couldn't fit Sam's butcher shop from The Brady Bunch on the first list, but Allan Melvin, who played Sam, also played Archie's best friend and frequent bar stool dweller, Barney. If only there'd been a special crossover episode.
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