A few weeks back, we did a Writers’ Roundtable and talked about bar “must-haves.” It got me thinking about phasing out a lot of bars that I go to and just honing in on the ones that have the best attributes. Life’s too short for spending time in a sub-par bar. Then I started thinking what it would be like if I owned a bar, but I couldn’t get past the name. I couldn’t come up with a good one. The name is vital, and, personally, I couldn’t stop thinking about the bar that Barney and Ted created in How I met Your Mother, Puzzles.
Why’s it called Puzzles? That’s the puzzle. Fuckin’ brilliant. And no last call? Every other bar should just pack up and go home. Alas, Barney and Ted never fully realized their dream as they quickly found out that running a bar is pretty tough, so they just stuck to MacLaren’s. Which, if we’re being honest, is a dope bar itself. But is it the best fictional bar of all time? Let’s do what we do here and rank ‘em.
15. Coyote Ugly Saloon (Coyote Ugly) – This place was WILD. I’d be coming here looking to get shit faced. Getting sprayed by a hose while Tyra Banks, Piper Perabo, and Tom Brady’s baby mama Bridget Moynahan dance on top of the bar sounds like a helluva night.
14. Chubbie’s (Boy Meets World) – For those of you who aren’t 21 yet (maybe we have some genius readers who graduated early…) I can’t think of a better joint than Chubbie’s. Shoot some pool, watch Cory and Topanga make out, or get some nice little life advice from the coolest teacher in TV history, Mr. Turner.
13. Bada Bing! (The Sopranos) – Topless bar. Mafia ties. What else could you want? While I do love me a good pair of up-tops, I’m not sure I’d have the balls to frequent it if I knew Tony Soprano had an office in the back room. Regardless, in the chess match that is the constant battle between brain and penis, penis always wins. So yeah, I’d probably be at the Bing all the time.
12. Snakehole Lounge (Parks and Recreation) – Now, I’m not suggesting I’d like to hang out in Pawnee, because I’m not the type to hang in Indiana, but I’d certainly love to spend time at the Snakehole. Thursday is ladies night, 2-for-1 drinks, and I’d pay good money to try Tom Haverford’s high-end VIP drink SnakeJuice, but mostly because I love Aziz.
11. Moe’s (The Simpsons) – I have to admit I’m not a big Simpsons guy, but everyone’s telling me I had to include this on the list. The ladies room is a converted office, they’ve had a raccoon infestation, and they have a safe room. But the real reason this cracks the list is the owner. Moe is bonkers, and posting up next to Homer and shooting the breeze with Moe seems better than sitting on my couch right-swiping on Bumble.
10. Gaston’s (Beauty and the Beast) – We don’t know the actual name of the pub in Beauty and the Beast, but there’s a large portrait of Gaston above the fireplace (classy), so you gotta assume it’s his joint. Buxom women, bear skin rug, walls lined with deer heads, a cozy fireplace, the giant barrels of ale behind the bar, and just the perfect amount of rough housing.
9. The Winchester (Shaun of the Dead) – Can’t have a list of best bars without having a shady north London establishment. Guarantee this place gets ROWDY during a North London Derby (Tottenham v Arsenal…#COYS). Incredible jukebox, loaded shotgun above the bar, this place has character. Couldn’t think of a better fictional bar to watch soccer at…or defend yourself from zombies.
8. The Improv (Seinfeld) – Okay, technically The Improv isn’t a bar. It’s a comedy club. It does have a bar in it, though. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t love to grab a vodka soda, put up with a few minutes of Kenny Banya spewing pure heat about Ovaltine, and then get to watch Jerry Fucking Seinfeld.
7. Rick’s Café Americain (Casablanca) – Classy, elegant, romantic. You want to come to Rick’s you better be dressed dapper AF. Even a guy like me who lives for wearing sleeveless shirts can appreciate donning the finest suit and drinking the nicest of drinks. Refugees, expatriates, whoever, this place was a nice little escape from the war. If I wanted to find an exotic European chick, I’m hitting up Rick’s. Added bonus: house pianist Sam absolutely slays it.
6. Drunken Clam (Family Guy) – A nice little dive in fictitious Quahog, Rhode Island. I know I would love this bar. New Englanders love all things local. Local clothing lines, local celebs, and especially local beer. You bet your ass I’d post up here and slam Pawtucket Patriots and marvel at the pure idiocy of Peter and co.
5. Kavanagh’s (The Wire) – You can’t deny that it’d be fantastic to drink with a bunch of hardened local cops, knock back Jameson, and listen to them bitch about the job (read: Marlo Stanfield). Plus, come often enough, you’ll soon be celebrating the life of a fallen hero, blacking out and singing “Body of an American” by The Pogues as a dead cop lies on the table, then stumble into the street and vomit alongside Bunk and McNulty.
4. Cheers (Cheers) – Probably the most famous fictional bar. It’s a sociable place where everybody knows your name. If you want a friendly familiar face, this is where you go. A Boston-based bar whose owner is an ex-ball player? Sign me up.
3. MacLaren’s (How I Met Your Mother) – This is just a fantastic bar. Always seems to have a new crew of smoke shows to hit on, the food looks pretty good, and the drinks are affordable enough for the gang to drink here as often as they do. The staff is awesome. Carl the bartender and Wendy the waitress can play for my team any day. This place is big, it never seems to get too crowded, and the bar just seems like it’d be a great place to hang out.
2. Paddy’s Pub (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) – The name of the game is hijinks, and anytime you walk into Paddy’s there’s a strong chance you get sucked into the vortex that is Mac, Charlie Kelly, and crew. Do I want to be part of one of their adventures or schemes? It depends. But one thing you can’t deny is that’d it’s bound to be memorable.
1. Mos Eisley Cantina (Star Wars) – Greatest bar in the universe. You want a wild time? Post up, listen to Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes, and watch the most dangerous creatures in the galaxy conduct business. Han Solo, Grido, the dude with the fucked up face who doesn’t like Luke (death sentence on 12 systems? That’s Dahmer territory). Everybody in there is terrifying, but probably has incredible stories; these guys have seen some shit. You’re almost guaranteed to see someone get killed. And the best part? No droids allowed.
And what’s a “best” list without a comparable “worst” list? I’ll make it short. Here’s your two worst ever fictional bars. The one from Piano Man (the Billy Joel song) and that joint from the second season of True Detective.
I’d rather do that wing eating challenge than post up at The Bar from Piano Man. Look, I like Billy Joel as much as the next guy, but the patrons of this place are literally the most depressed people on planet earth, and the only thing keeping them from offing themselves is Billy Joel on the ivory. If I walk into a bar and see Tom, a real estate novelist who’s never had time for a wife, I’m turning right around and walking out. If I post up on a stool and the waitress is practicing politics, I will throw a fit. I will not be sharing any drinks called loneliness.
And the bar from TD2? What a dumpster fire that place is, huh? That girl plays that same damn song that depresses everyone every damn day. I’d lose my mind listening to that music over and over and over and over. Though it still might be better than listening to Pizzolatto dialogue.
There you have it. And I did come up with a name for my bar: “Third Base.” It’s the place you go before you go home..
Image via YouTube