It is my understanding that there are people who spend a significant portion of their lives–nearly or actually part of every day–sitting in a dimly lit bar or tavern or pub, knocking back beer and referring to the time spent there as socializing. Frankly, I don’t believe this existence can be found outside the television. Bars, taverns and pubs that I have spent as little time in as possible have all been dark, dank, utterly depressing locations that is the opposite of somewhere you would want to socialize. I could be wrong. Surely these memorable bars, taverns and pubs in TV history were inspired by some real life analogue. Which would be incredibly sad if true.
This local watering hole in NYC started out as a successful radio show and carried over into TV land its unusual concept that the titular owner of the bar was never seen. Instead, the action focused on the crazy schemes of its manager, Archie. The wacky schemes played out in “Duffy’s Tavern” ranged from getting Duffy’s daughter (who is seen) to pose as rich heiress and to hiring a French chef to work in a dingy bar to the old chestnut of having two dates on the same night.
Grant’s Toomb: The Corner Bar
The actual name of the bar on this 1972 series was Grant’s Toomb. Just a typical neighborhood pub found on many streets in New York City that was first owned by Harry Grant, but in the second season was co-owned by a woman named Mae and a man named Frank Flynn. What kind of socializing could be done at a tavern called Grant’s Toomb? Well, if you were a right-winger, you could get into a debate over politics with an African-America who had just had his consciousness raised. If you were a typical lounge lizard, you could hit on Mary Ann, the waitress. If you happened in thinking it was a gay bar, there was at least Peter Panama, the fashion designer. And it goes on.
Moe’s Tavern: The Simpsons
Moe’s Tavern reminds me of every bar I’ve ever been in. And the barflies in there remind me of most of the people I’ve seen in these bars. Every once in a while Moe’s Tavern undergoes a facelift. Among the brief themes Moe’s has experienced over the years include a complete overhaul into an fake family-friendly restaurant/bar like Applebee’s, a gay bar rechristened as Mo’s, the Nag and Weasel British-style pub, Flaming Moe’s which was the town’s hottest nightspot named in honor of the specialty drink Moe stole from Homer and others.
Kelsey’s Bar/Archie’s Place: All in the Family/Archie Bunker’s Place
The dream of many of regular visitor to the neighborhood bar is to one day own a pub of his own. Or so TV has told me. Frankly, I’ve never a single person in my life who ever dreamed of running a bar. Maybe I have just run with a higher class of people or just haven’t been friends with that many. Probably both. At any rate, Archie Bunker is the prototypical TV character who lives this dream. Many an episode of “All in the Family” had Archie Bunker even heading to Kelsey’s Bar, coming back from Kelsey’s Bar or indicating his intention to spend time at Kelsey’s Bar.
The Regal Beagle: Three’s Company
A whole lot of sexy stuff almost went down at the Regal Beagle in “Three’s Company.” If you find The Regal Beagle to actually be memorable, I’m betting you might be one of those people who finds such bars appealing in real life. The Regal Beagle may paradoxically be the most realistic bar in TV history. Sick, sad, love-starred people trying to connect within an atmosphere of total artifciality.
MacLarens: How I Met Your Mother
It is my understanding that MacLarens is a memorable bar on a popular show. My only knowledge of MacLarens and “How I Met Your Mother” for that matter is in promos of the show that air during other shows I am watching. So, you know, it’s your call. Doesn’t look all that fascinating to me, frankly, but to be fair…none of these other bars seem that fascinating to me, either. Except for Moe’s when it’s the British pub.
The godfather of all TV bars. Television’s number one haunt for alkies. Everybody knows your name there, especially if your name is Norm. What I never really got about “Cheers” is why people like Frasier Crane would spend so much time there. Norm? Sure. Cliff Claven? Well, if anybody needs a few beers after work, I guess it’s a mailman. But surely a psychologist would know better, right? Then again, before he moved back home to Seattle, Frasier was seriously messed up.