You may have observed there was no new post last week, and (upon careful reading of this post) will notice we didn’t visit a new bar this week. We have a couple of reasons. For one thing, Mindy is visiting her dad in Indiana this week. Also, we’re doing some concentrated work on our book about last year’s trip (we might really get it finished some day). So we decided to do something different this week.
It’s a list!
These are bars we’d like to visit if, like Mia Farrow in Woody Allen’s Purple Rose of Cairo, we could jump into the movie screen. And you get a list of ten bars, because that’s a proper number for a list.
10) Bob’s Country Bunker from The Blues Brothers (1980): the owners and patrons of this bar seem less like good ol’ boys and more like surly rednecks, so this is at the bottom of our list. But on the positive side, you might get to see Jake and Elwood and the band perform. And how much fun would it be to throw bottles at that chicken wire barrier?
9) The Winchester from Shaun of the Dead (2004): We went to a zombie shelter bar last year (which we’re sad to learn has since closed). But fortunately, shelter from the zombie storm will live on in this cinematic bar. Shaun and his friend, Ed, rarely leave their house, preferring to sit on their couch playing video games. When they do leave, they go to the Winchester -- so it must have something going for it.
8) Rick's Café Américain from Casablanca (1942): I would go just to hear Sam play. I wouldn’t want him to play “As Time Goes By” very often, since it seems to make Rick cranky, but even that would be fun. I wouldn’t gamble in the back room because the games are fixed. Rick’s would really be a great place (if it wasn’t for the Nazis and World War and such).
7) Mos Eisley Cantina from Star Wars: A New Hope (1977): It’s dangerous. You never know when you might slip on some bloody arm left on the floor. If you’re like people watching, you might like the creature watching available at this bar even better. And the band is happening.
6) Club Obi Wan from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984): You might notice a connection between the previous bar and this one. That’s right, at both bars, English is not the primary language. Both also have great entertainment. The floorshow at this nightclub is great fun, even if you don’t understand Mandarin. The service staff is excellent, though you need to watch out for strangers putting something in your drink. (I went with this bar over The Raven from Raiders of the Lost Ark because The Raven -- another notedly multilingual bar -- didn’t pass the health inspection.)
5) The Double Deuce from Road House (1989): I’m not a big country music fan, but there is decent entertainment in the place; on the stage and with the drama among the patrons. And I appreciate the emphasis of the management on Niceness. The staff is urged to “Be Nice,” and I think that’s nice.
4) The Midnight Star from Silverado (1985): There were many bars from Westerns, but I like the management of The Star. Stella (Linda Hunt) and Paden (Kevin Kline) are charming people who both value quality in their bar.
When Paden first meets Stella, he says, “Compliments to you Miss Stella. This is what I call a saloon.”
Paden replies, “And I know what I’m talking about.”
Stella: “You like a good saloon?”
Paden: “It’s the only place I’m happy.”
Stella: “Me, too! What’s wrong with us?”
Both are concerned about serving a good pour in their drinks. They seek to keep the games honest and the fights to a minimum. And I love the way Stella manages to look customers in the eye.
3) Park Hyatt Piano Bar from Lost in Translation (2003): Sometimes the thing people value in a bar is that people can find people like themselves. For actor Bob (Bill Murray) and wife-left-alone Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), this Tokyo bar is the place to find company and speak English. (Let it be said, if there was a good chance of meeting Bill Murray at a bar, I’d be there.)
2) Martini’s from It’s a Wonderful LIfe (1946): Even though this bar isn’t completely violence free (movie bars seem to have a problem with all the punches thrown), the management of this bar is competent and friendly. When it’s run by Martini (Bill Edmunds) in the regular world, this is the place you want to be. You probably don’t want to be in George Bailey’s (Jimmy Stewart’s) alternate world bar, Nick’s. As Nick the owner says, “We serve hard drinks in here for men who want to get drunk fast, and we don’t need any characters around here to give the joint ‘atmosphere.’” Nick’s is pretty much the the opposite of our top movie bar.
1) Charlie’s from Harvey (1950): An old fashioned neighborhood bar has a special attractiveness. It’s the Cheers appeal, which is a common element in this bar and Martini’s. There’s something wonderful about a place where an eccentric man like Elwood P. Dowd (Jimmy Stewart) who sees six foot tall talking rabbits can be at home. I could sit and listen to Elwood for hours. Maybe, after all, the most telling sign of a great bar is finding Jimmy Stewart there.