Booze may be universal, but where you drink it certainly isn’t. Cinema has afforded us with plenty of places to nurse a beer or start a brawl, but few bars are as memorable as the characters that drank at them. I don’t know the dive Ron Burgundy was holed-up at before assembling his Channel 4 news team. I can’t recall the joint Eddie Felson shot pool at in The Hustler. However, in the course of the movies, a few spots have left an indelible mark on my liver.
6. The Coco Bongo Club*, The Mask
There are some funny things happening down at the Coco Bongo. First, it appears the club may be doubling as a hangout/headquarters for some up-to-no-good thugs. Secondly, there’s a way overqualified bombshell dropping sultry numbers to a hungry audience. And then there’s that weird guy in the back in the yellow suit. If you’re lucky, he might just take the stage and absorb a comically large amount of bullets or do a rather spot-on Sally Fields impression.
Drink of choice: Tropical cocktails, but don’t try to drink them if you’ve just been shot-up with a Tommy gun – they’ll go right through you.
*technically, the Coco Bongo is real, but you won’t find Cameron Diaz there, so let’s just let it slide
5. The Winchester, Shaun of the Dead
Fancy a pint? The regulars seem a tad depressed, but you can always count on the Winchester for a few rounds and perhaps an orangutan impression. On the downside, the aesthetics are paltry, the selection unremarkable and the atmosphere somewhat stale. Not a recommended location for an anniversary dinner. In the event of a zombie apocalypse, the bar can double as a hideout. And remember, the fruit machine can be a lethal distraction.
Drink of choice: Pint of beer.
4. The Gold Room, Overlook Hotel, The Shining
You won’t have to wait long for a drink at the Gold Room. In fact, odds are you’ll be the only person there. Lloyd the bartender is a good listener, so feel free to unload your gripes about the wife and kid. The Gold Room has been known to host costume parties, so don’t be surprised if you come across one of the Overlook’s previous employees. Relax and have a drink. You know what they say about working too much, right?
Drink of choice: bourbon on the rocks.
3. The House of Blue Leaves, Kill Bill Vol. I
If you like dancing, don’t mind yakuza and happen to be in Tokyo, stop by the House of Blue Leaves. The 5678s rock the dance floor hard, and if you’re really mean, a guy dressed like Charlie Brown will bring you your drinks! From the snowy back gardens to the traditional interiors, this place is a feast for the eyes. Be mindful of occasional bloodbaths and vengeance sword fights; it’s easy to accidentally trip over a severed limb if you’re not careful.
Drink of choice: sake, or maybe some water from that crazy bamboo fountain in the garden.
2. The Titty Twister, From Dusk til Dawn
Did the barker inspire you to come inside? His description of the entertainment is quite convincing. Be sure to catch main attraction Santanico Pandemonium and her python – that girl can dance. Don’t get too cozy though; things get a little chaotic at night. Bonus: free valet parking behind the bar!
Drink of choice: tequila, and don’t get caught-up about the drinking age.
1. Chalmun’s Spaceport Cantina, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Leave your droids at the door. This rough and tumble intergalactic saloon is considered by some to be a wretched hive of scum and villainy, but hey, what bar isn’t? Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes keep the tunes coming, and hookah enthusiasts will feel right at home. Be warned: the Cantina is no stranger to violence. Be ready to shoot first.
Drink of choice: something strong. You’ll need your liquid courage here.