Be it a diner, restaurant, coffee shop or bar, the haunts and hangouts of TV characters can become as legendary as the characters that patronize them. These fictional hangouts are places we wish existed, where we could spend our leisure time chatting wittily with our friend group, which may or may not be comprised of six different but zany archetypes. The following amazing make-believe haunts are celebrated not only for their prominent position in pop culture but also because having just ONE place for the gang to hang out, saves a bundle on sets.
5. Paddy’s Pub – Always Sunny in Philadelphia
So Paddy’s might have been voted the “worst bar in Philadelphia” but that won’t prevent it from making my list, in fact it’s only a boon to it’s greatness as far as I’m concerned. This place is a real dive, if I’m going to be nice about it, dump if I’m not. Somehow Mac, Dennis, Charlie and Frank manage to run this joint, of course with the help of bartender/waitress/drunk girl Sweet D. Seriously, I’m dying to hang out here. The clientele is a mixed bag–shady Asian gambling addicts, mildly retarded white rappers, minors, hobos, dead people, theater enthusiasts, you name it, at some point, each and every kind of person has thrown back a couple at Paddy’s and/or been fucked over by some scheme that began inside its walls . Plus, they’ve got a pool table.
4. Monk’s “The Coffee Shop” – Seinfeld
You will find no patrons so loyal to an unremarkable diner as Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer are to Monk’s aka “The Coffee Shop.” This allegiant foursome has arguably the world’s largest selection of restaurants to patronize, yet time and time again you’ll find them eating the same boring sandwiches and sipping coffee in their usual booth. Sure, sometimes they venture out for “fat free” yogurt or some Nazi-made soup, or occasionally to Monk’s “bizarro” competitor Reggie’s, but not very often because “they don’t have the big salad.” And they’ve had their fair share of issues at Monk’s, from the big-breasted waitress fiasco to George’s ongoing hate relationship with the cranky cashier. Mostly I just liked the dialogue.
3. Central Perk – Friends
How could I not mention Central Perk? First and foremost, it’s a terrific pun, and who doesn’t love a pun? I’m pretty sure this place is partially responsible for the over saturation of coffee houses throughout America. Everyone loves the idea of sipping lattes from brightly colored jumbo mugs while relaxing on a plush davenport and enjoying an intellectual conversation or some light reading or perhaps one of Phoebe’s latest songs. And we all imagine ourselves doing this in a lovely Mom and Pop shop, just like Central Perk, located conveniently on the ground level of our insanely spacious apartment building. Unfortunately, all we have are Starbucks, and if at any time I noticed a six-pack of really attractive friends exchanging hilarious one-liners inside the Starbucks, I would have to assume my coffee had been laced with a mind altering substance.
And a tip of the hat to barista Gunther, who, with the smallest part ever, still manages to have the largest “supporting” role on Friends.
2. Phil’s – Murphy Brown
Even though the show begins with Murphy’s release from the Betty Ford Clinic, it’s no reason to stop going to the bar. Or is it? Phil’s, which is located directly across the street from the FYI studio, provides a perfect respite for the news team. Whether it be for some pub food or a mid-afternoon highball, Phil’s is your place. And Phil is your man! Played by Pat Corley, Phil was always dispensing sound advice for Murphy and the gang. Phil’s was sort of like the last refuge for olden time stereotype journalists–a dark bar where trench coat/fedora hat clad investigative reporters could sip whiskey and crank cigarettes, hoping to overhear some political gossip, which actually was somewhat likely in Phil’s, being that it was (I think) located on K Street in downtown Washington. Midway through the series Phil dies and when his wife, Phyllis and children (who are also named some version of Phil) decide they must sell the bar, the news team bands together and buys it. All of them have ideas about how to improve it (personalize it) but in the end decide to keep it the same including the running gag “CLOSE THE DOOR” when even an ounce of sunlight pours in, which makes sense. No one wants to be reminded that they’re shitcanned in the middle of the afternoon.
1. Arnold’s – Happy Days
No 70’s show about the 50’s would be complete without a Drive-In for the hip teens, with their Rock & Roll, and, and poodle skirts and their issues with authority to hang in out at. Enter Arnold’s, the number one TV hangout, according to me. Arnold’s was run by Al Delvecchio and was frequented by Richie, Joanie, Chachi, Ralph Malph, Potsie and the Fonz,. Seriously, it’s the only public place they ever went. I love it though, because without it, we may have never have seen the Fonz rip his leather jacket off and punch out a couple of rabble rousers and we DEFINITELY wouldn’t have seen him single-handedly (athankyou) “fix” the jukebox. Arnold’s was further ingrained into pop culture when Weezer used it as the setting for their 1994 music video, Buddy Holly. Roll clips. . .