10 Fictional Bars You Can Actually Visit
If you’re a TV and cinema buff, as well as a barfly, you just might be able to combine your passions together. The characters inhabiting our film and television fantasy worlds need places to hang out, just like we do.Sometimes those trendy spots (or dives) are works of the writers’ imaginations, like Central Perk in the long running television show ‘Friends.’ But on occasion, the bars and cafés we see on our plasma screens actually do exist, and can be visited, even if a few of them go by different names than their television and movie counterparts.
If you like trivia, booze and travel, we have a list for you here of some of the coolest film and television bars you can visit in real life.
Fans of the 1980s sitcom ‘Cheers’ know that most of the action takes place in a bar of the same name, where “Everybody knows your name.” It’s the place where Sam and Diane had there on-again, off-again romance, and the actor Woody Harrelson first broke into show business. The real bar, located in Boston, is named The Bull & Finch. Located in Beacon Hill, the bar is now something of a must for ‘Cheers’ fans. If you loved the show, you should certainly swing by for a visit. (You can also visit a replica bar made to look like the show’s set in the Faneuil Hall area of Boston.)
The ‘Lost in Translation’ Bar
If you’re series about your cinema bars, and you’re a big fan of the Sofia Coppola film ‘Lost in Translation,’ you’ll have to dip into your piggy bank and make a trip to Tokyo. Once you arrive in Japan, you can visit the New York Bar & Grill, located at the Park Hyatt Shinjuku (be prepared to spend some serious coin here). This was the location where Bill Murray’s character hung out a lot and met Scarlett Johansson’s young character. You can have dinner here if you so desire, and maybe chat with some folks at the bar too, just like it happened in the iconic film. We can’t promise the lounge singer will know all the words to ‘Midnight at the Oasis’ however.
‘Notting Hill’ Pub
Who can forget how Hugh Grant’s amiable bookstore owner wins the heart of Julia Roberts in the late ’90s romantic comedy ‘Notting Hill’? If you head over to London, you can sign up for a walking tour that will lead you to various set locations used in the film.
While The Castle Pub didn’t feature prominently in the film, it has the good fortune of being located right across the street from the classic film’s famous “blue door.” It’s a great place to stop for a cold pint of beer, and a breather from your Notting Hill tour, especially for those people in your group who aren’t as into Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts as you are.
In the film ‘Barfly,’ Mickey Rourke played Henry Chiasmi, who was a fictional representation of the writer and poet Charles Bukowski. The story revolves around drinking, bars and alcoholism, as the title would suggest.
While the movie was filmed in Los Angeles, the actual bar where Bukowski got much of his inspiration for the story is in Philadelphia. The bar’s name was the Horn of Plenty, but it has since changed names, and is simply called “Jay’s 17th Spot.” The next time you’re in Philly, why not drop by this local watering hole for a drink, and raise your glass in toast to the genius of Bukowski?
The ‘Good Will Hunting’ Tavern
If you enjoyed Ben Affleck, Casey Affleck and Matt Damon in the film that arguably launched their careers, you can also enjoy a bit of nostalgia at Woody’s L Street Tavern in South Boston. This was the bar where the boys would gather in the movie to hang out at sometimes, and it’s also the location where Matt Damon’s character Will first meets the girl (Minnie Driver) that’s going to eventually capture his imagination and his heart.
‘Coyote Ugly’ Saloon
You can’t have a list of famous cinema bars without mentioning the raunchy Coyote Ugly Saloon. This New York bar, where the girls dance on the counter tops, was the inspiration for the appropriately titled film. The Coyote Ugly Saloon first started serving eager customers (mostly male is our guess) in the early 1990s. Since then, quite a few more “Coyote Ugly” bars have opened up around the country. If you want to visit the saloon that launched the phenomena, you’ll have to make a trip to the Big Apple, and stop by the original premises in Manhattan’s East Village.
‘The Wire’’s Irish Bar (NSFW)
If you’re a fan of the gritty HBO series ‘The Wire,’ you should visit the Irish pub where the police detectives and uniform officers held their rowdy wakes for the cops who died of natural causes, or in the line of duty.
On television, the bar was known as Kavanagh’s Irish Pub, but in reality, it’s called The Sidebar Tavern. Apparently it’s full of lawyers these days, as opposed to police officers. Maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll be able get one of the suits to sing “Body of America” by the Pogues with you.
‘Top Gun’ Bar
Do you fancy yourself a bit of a “top gun?” If the answer is yes, and you want to experience some nostalgia associated with the movie that put Tom Cruise on the map, why not pay a visit to San Diego’s Kansas City Barbecue?
This establishment, which is also known as the “Top Gun Bar,” served as a main shooting location for the film. The characters Maverick (Cruise) and Goose (played by Anthony Edwards) would hang out here and entertain the ladies. Now you can put ‘Take My Breath Away’ on the jukebox and do the same.
Bridget Jones (Renee Zellweger) and her gal pals liked to spend time at the Tate Modern Restaurant, on the South Bank of the Thames River, in London, England. The views of the city from this trendy place are spectacular, and make for a great spot to rest your weary feet and get a drink and meal after a hard day of trekking around the British capital. You can even pretend that, just like Bridget Jones, you’re out and about seeking love among the sea of humanity coursing through London.
‘St Elmo’s Fire’ hangout
St. Elmo’s, the DC bar frequented by the Brat Pack actors in this ’80s coming of age film, doesn’t actually exist. It is, however, based on The Tombs, the famous bar that is still a favorite of Georgetown University students today. (It’s also pretty close to those famous ‘Exorcist’ steps.) While a bar set was built in Los Angeles for interior shots, some outdoor scenes were filmed in front of the Georgetown bar Third Edition which doubled for St. Elmo’s.