The Top 10 Greatest TV Bars Of All Time
Nothing beats enjoying a drink at your favorite bar. Whether it’s the crowd, the music, or an incomparable cocktail, there are many factors that make a watering hole superior. Over the years, television series have taken us to many bars – from dive to divine – with counters we’d love to sidle up to and bartenders we’d love to chat with if we could only crawl inside that small screen. Here we toast the 10 greatest TV bars ever.
#10 – MacLaren’s Pub (“How I Met Your Mother”)
In an effort to illustrate to his kids how he met their mother, “How I Met Your Mother’s” Ted Mosby mostly reveals the shockingly vast amount of time he and his buddies spent drinking in a bar. MacClaren’s Pub was the setting for this hit sitcom’s best moments and here we learned very intimate details about all their lives and loves. Our parents’ tales of yore mostly centered around dream car sightings and family spats incited by casserole recipes. But in New York City, young adults are just as hip as the spaces in which they choose to tie one on, and MacClaren’s may not be chic, but it attracts a devoted crowd of beautiful people.
#9 – Rosie’s Bar (“M*A*S*H”)
Being a wounded American soldier in the Korean War is bad enough, but imagine if all the surgeons working to patch you up were a bunch of inebriated bastards. Yes, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, and the medical staff of “M*A*S*H’s” 4077th were always upmost professionals while at work, but when they were off duty, like the Omega Mus, they sure did know how to party. And Rosie’s Bar was a frequent stop of theirs to let off steam, drowning the sorrows of war in whatever bottle of booze could make it across the front lines.
#8 – The Peach Pit After Dark (“Beverly Hills, 90210”)
With all the nightlife LA has to offer, if “Beverly Hills, 90210” taught us anything it was that the only place to be was The Peach Pit After Dark. Spending days on end in the diner portion of the enterprise was just not enough. The venture needed to expand so they could drink and rock out right next door. Who needs the poser crowds of Hollywood and The Sunset Strip!? So our rich kid heroes convinced alta cocker Nat to adjoin a nightclub on the premises and he abided. The Peach Pit After Dark was such a hotspot that it overcame a merry-go-round of inexperienced, underage business partners to go on to host the likes of The Flaming Lips and Christina Aguilera!
#7 – Merlotte’s Bar And Grill (“True Blood”)
Definitely a workplace of diversity, as it employed a shape-shifter, vampire, magical fairy, witch, and a medium. And although they all seemed to be elsewhere on one supernatural adventure after the next, no one seemed to complain about the service. Merlotte’s would often serve as a makeshift home base during many deadly crises. And although lots of staff members and customers alike were killed or somehow harmed in or around the premises, this was the only bar in town, so no matter how many Yelp reviews or warnings might appear on their page, the beers and shots kept aflown’ through it all.
#6 – The Drunken Clam (“Family Guy”)
Who says they don’t know how to party in Rhode Island? Animated proof is the Drunken Clam, like most of the bars on this list, the launching pad for many an episodic adventure. Here Peter Griffin and friends find legendary ways to stir up trouble and simultaneously spend precious time away from their wives and girlfriends. Pawtucket Patriot beer is the drink of choice at this beacon for celebrities and other famous notables. Not only have the likes of Jesus, God, and Death patronized The Clam, but, most impressively, so has – at the very height of her popularity – the irresistible Molly Ringwald.
#5 – Bada Bing! (“The Sopranos”)
Unlike most real life strip clubs, the Bada Bing! is no Disneyland. It is the place where gangster hits are discussed, planned, greenlit, or canceled. A place where employees are prone to beatings, assaults, and even murder. Maybe it’s more like Sea World. But as with everything in “The Sopranos” universe, there is something unavoidably tantalizing about The Bing! that has nothing to do with the topless staff. Our fascination with the mob and their (mis)deeds goes way back, but “The Sopranos” and HBO took it to a whole new level as an evolutionary marker in the progression of series television. And by the grace of Godfather, we got to eavesdrop into this 21 and over playground without the hassle of a warrant or wiretap. A terrible destination we couldn’t avoid peering into – a place from which if one got eighty-sixed, they could well wind up six feet under.
#4 – Paddy’s Pub (“It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia”)
There are rats, carbon monoxide leaks, and general despair here, and those are some of the better amenities. In other words, the quintessential South Philly bar. “Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s” Paddy’s Pub has been host to many things – allegedly including the historic cracking of the Liberty Bell – but steady success is not one of them. Run by a quintet of underachieving, unethical schemers, a pattern of neglect has created a dirty, uninviting watering hole – yet somehow they’ve never failed an inspection. “Sunny’s” broken home might be as dark and depressing as the antics deployed by its caretakers if those antics weren’t so damn hilarious.
#3 – Moe’s Tavern (“The Simpsons”)
A proud purveyor of Duff beer, Moe’s and Paddy’s share a common dinginess and were both once transformed briefly into gay bars. One of Springfield’s most squalid drinkery, it is none-the-less a second home to the likes of Homer, Lenny, and Barney Gumbel. Moe himself is the host with the most… though what might end that sentence could be anger, unprofessionalism, or susceptibility to continually fall for prank phone calls. The second animated bar on our list, Moe’s Tavern might be a bit more lowbrow than The Clam, but since its been providing us nonstop entertainment for the last twenty-five years and counting, it ranks high here on our pub crawl.
#2 – The Regal Beagle (“Three’s Company”)
When misunderstandings wrought too much chaos into the “Three’s Company” roommates’ home lives, there was always an escape. An escape called the Regal Beagle. There was something romantic about this bar – and not because of the mostly misconstrued, sexual exploits of its patrons. It was small but grand with deep booths covered in scarlet red tablecloths, lots of sultry ferns, a suited barman, and female servers dressed as barmaids. The white wine flowed endlessly – frequently splashed into someone’s face or atop their head – and we suspect there was a kitchen though they only seemed to serve cold sandwiches. Regardless, The Beagle dutifully served a young, vibrant Santa Monica crowd and their landlords.
#1 – Cheers (“Cheers”)
Billed as the bar “where everybody knows your name,” after eleven delightfully hilarious seasons, it was the name “Cheers” that was recognized the world over. With the exception perhaps of Paddy’s, all the above establishments were divergent settings where the action either precipitated from, was carried along in or conclusively debriefed. Here Cheers was the action, a stage in bar’s clothing, where comedy and romance and binding relationships were served each week to a happily parched audience. We didn’t need to actually go out for a drink those nights “Cheers” would air – what occurred in that beautiful bar was better than anything we could find outside in real life. Not only one of television’s best places of business, but our greatest television bar of all time.