Special Report

The Most Iconic Fictional Bars in TV History

Ever since Jackie Gleason’s Joe the Bartender character struck up a conversation with the unseen customer Mr. Dennehy on “The Jackie Gleason Show” in the 1950s, bars have been an essential location in television comedies and dramas.

Bar scenes have played an integral part in the story-telling and character development of comedies and drama on television. Bars are places where characters feel comfortable enough to debate politics, argue over sports, meet for a date, complain about the boss, commiserate over the loss of a friend, or escape a nagging spouse. (You might be surprised at the age of the oldest bar in every state.)

To identify the most iconic fictional bars in TV history, 24/7 Tempo consulted a number of internet sources, including IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon. 

On some shows, the bar itself is the star, as with the long-running NBC sitcom  “Cheers.” (Like some of the other places on this list, “Cheers” is based on an actual watering hole.)

Speaking of sitcoms, bars have been essential for the storylines in shows such as “How I Met Your Mother” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” The animated series “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy” feature taverns that serve up their own running gags, too. (These last two count among the 15 best animated sitcoms of all time.)

Click here to see the most iconic fictional bars in TV history

There are few laughs, on the other hand, in the bars frequented by the emergency personnel and hospital staff in “Chicago Fire” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” whose characters seek refuge from a grueling day on the job. 

Unwinding over a glass of something is not reserved for earthbound folks, either; it’s also a respite for space travelers in two sci-fi series – “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “The Mandalorian.”

Source: Courtesy of CBS

> Show: Archie Bunker’s Place
> Fictional location: Queens, NY

“Archie Bunker’s Place,” which ran from 1979 to 1983, was the sitcom that succeeded the landmark comedy “All in the Family.” Carroll O’Connor reprised his role as TV’s most lovable bigot, who has purchased the bar – variously identified as Kelcy’s and Kelsey’s – that he frequented on the previous show. He changed its name to Archie Bunker’s Place.


Source: Courtesy of Fox Network

And Jeremy Piven
> Show: Arrested Development
> Fictional location: Newport, CA

And Jeremy Piven is a fictitious nightclub in Newport Beach, California, created by the showrunners of the comedy series “Arrested Development” (2003 -2019), to poke fun at the actor’s placement in the credits of his series “Entourage.”

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company

> Show: Cheers
> Fictional location: Boston, MA

One of television’s famous bars, where everybody knows your name, “Cheers” (1982 to 1993) won 28 Emmys and boosted the careers of Woody Harrelson, Ted Danson, and Kelsey Grammer, among others. The bar that inspired the television tavern is located in the Beacon Hill section of Boston; now rebranded as Cheers, it was originally the Bull and Finch Pub.

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company

Molly’s Bar
> Show: Chicago Fire
> Fictional location: Chicago, IL

Molly’s Bar is where the firefighters from the fictional Firehouse 51 and Chicago’s paramedics gather to celebrate and mourn on the television series “Chicago Fire” (2012- ). Many of the scenes are filmed at an actual bar called Lottie’s Pub in Chicago’s Bucktown section.


Source: Courtesy of Disney-ABC Domestic Television

Josie’s Tavern
> Show: Daredevil
> Fictional location: New York, NY

Josie’s Tavern is a bar frequented by superhero Daredevil (2015-2018) in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan. In actuality, the bar used as the location is Turkey’s Nest Tavern in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Source: Courtesy of Home Box Office

The Gem Saloon
> Show: Deadwood
> Fictional location: Deadwood, SD

A Western would be missing something essential if it didn’t have a saloon. Much of the plot in the Emmy-winning “Deadwood” (2004-2006), named after the South Dakota town steeped in corruption and violence, unfolds at the Gem Saloon.


Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Television

The Boar’s Nest
> Show: Dukes of Hazzard
> Fictional location: North Georgia Hills

The Boar’s Nest was a fictional bar on the series “The Dukes of Hazzard” (1979-1985), located just outside of town and the center of much of the social activity in the community. It was based on a now-defunct real bar with the same name. The bar also appeared in various “Dukes” spinoffs and in the film “Moonrunners.”

Source: Courtesy of Fox Network

The Drunken Clam
> Show: Family Guy
> Fictional location: Quahog, RhI

The Drunken Clam, with its signature animated neon sign, is where Seth McFarlane’s characters Peter Griffin, Glenn Quagmire, and even Peter’s dog Brian Griffin hang out in “Family Guy” (1999- ). In the show, the bar was destroyed by a hurricane, became a karaoke bar, and even an English pub.

Source: Courtesy of American Broadcasting Company

Emerald City Bar
> Show: Grey’s Anatomy
> Fictional location: Seattle, WA

The Emerald City Bar or “Joe’s Bar” on “Grey’s Anatomy” (2005- ) is located across from Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. Hospital workers and firefighters repair to the bar after shifts to decompress from work and meet for dates. During earlier seasons, the bar scenes were filmed at the former McMurphy’s Restaurant & Tavern.


Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

> Show: How I Met Your Mother
> Fictional location: New York, NY

MacLaren’s Pub on the sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” (2005-2014) is based on four New York City bars where show creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas used to drink.

Source: Courtesy of CBS

The Tropicana
> Show: I Love Lucy
> Fictional location: New York, NY

One of the earliest of the fictional drinking establishments on this list is The Tropicana, the night club where Desi Arnaz’ character Ricky Ricardo leads the orchestra and performs in the iconic sitcom “I Love Lucy” (1951-1957).


Source: Courtesy of 20th Television

Paddy’s Pub
> Show: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
> Fictional location: Philadelphia, PA

Paddy’s Pub of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” (2004- ) is a failing watering hole owned and operated by various members of the cast. The place has served as a boxing training room, child beauty pageant, and gun-shooting range. The location of the pub is actually the Nate Starkman & Son Building in Los Angeles.

Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Rosie’s Bar
> Show: M*A*S*H
> Fictional location: Uijeongbu, South Korea

Rosie’s Bar in the smash comedy series “M*A*S*H (1972-1983) was an off-base bar for irreverent but dedicated military doctors Hawkeye Pierce and Trapper John McIntyre and other characters in the series. A real Rosie’s Bar in Seoul inspired the TV version.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Duffy’s Tavern
> Show: Duffy’s Tavern
> Fictional location: New York, NY

Running for one season (1954), “Duffy’s Tavern” was a televised extension of a long-running radio show and an all-star 1945 movie of the same name. Based around a fictional Irish pub, it centered around the adventures of the manager, Archie, who began every show by answering a ringing phone with “Hello, Duffy’s Tavern, where the elite meet to eat… Duffy ain’t here – oh, hello, Duffy.”


Source: Courtesy of BBC Worldwide

Catherine’s Bar
> Show: Death in Paradise
> Fictional location: Honoré Saint Marie

Members of the police department and their friends on the fictional Caribbean island of Saint Marie, focus of this comedy-mystery (2011- ), meet often for a beer or a rum at this bar owned by French expatriate Catherine Bordey. A real bar called La Kaz in the town of Deshaies on the island of Guadeloupe stands in for Catherine’s.

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company

The Snakehole Lounge
> Show: Parks and Recreation
> Fictional location: Pawnee, IN

The Snakehole Lounge, dubbed Pawnee’s “sickest nightclub,” was an investment opportunity for Tom Haverford, one of the workers on the sitcom “Parks and Recreation” (2009-2015).


Source: Courtesy of Showtime Networks

The Alibi Room
> Show: Shameless
> Fictional location: Chicago, IL

The Alibi Room on “Shameless” (2011-2021) was the go-to bar for the shiftless loser character Frank Gallagher, who rarely had money for drinks.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Ten Forward
> Show: Star Trek: The Next Generation
> Fictional location: Deck 10, Star Ship Enterprise

Ten Forward is the intergalactic watering hole for the crew of the USS Enterprise, located at the forward section of Deck 10, on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (1987-1994). The mural of the Milky Way is cool, and the views of space are unmatched. Not much of an atmosphere outside though.

Source: Courtesy of Disney Media Distribution

Mos Eisley Cantina
> Show: The Mandalorian
> Fictional location: Mos Eisley, Tattooine

We first saw the Mos Eisley Cantina in the original “Star Wars,” where Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker fended off easily insulted patrons. The bar with the dodgy creatures from all corners of space returned in the series “The Mandalorian” (2019- ).


Source: Courtesy of Fox Film Corporation

Moe’s Tavern
> Show: The Simpsons
> Fictional location: Springfield

Moe’s Tavern has been on the Emmy-winning animated series “The Simpsons” (1989- ) since the first episode. Though the state the show takes place in is never specified, creator Matt Groening has said that his Springfield is based on the one in his native Oregon. The bar received a nightly prank call from Bart Simpson in the early seasons. The dank and dreary watering hole for Homer and his pals has fought off numerous attempts to shut it down. In ral life, pop-up versions of the bar have appeared periodically at malls around the nation.

Source: Courtesy of Home Box Office

The Bada Bing
> Show: The Sopranos
> Fictional location: Lodi, NJ

The Bada Bing was the strip club/bar run by the New Jersey organized crime family headed by Tony Soprano in “The Sopranos” (1999-2007). The name comes from a famous quote by the Sonny Corleone character in “The Godfather.” The actual place is a strip club on Route 17 in Lodi called Satin Dolls.


Source: Courtesy of Home Box Office

Kavanaugh’s Bar
> Show: The Wire
> Fictional location: Baltimore, MD

Kavanaugh’s Bar in “The Wire” (2002-2008) was the redoubt of cops who mourned their own at Irish wakes in Baltimore. The real bar that substituted for Kavanaugh’s was a punk club called The Sidebar.

Source: Courtesy of American Broadcasting Company

The Regal Beagle
> Show: Three’s Company
> Fictional location: Santa Monica, CA

Roommates Jack (John Ritter), Janet (Joyce DeWitt), and Chrissy (Suzanne Somers), as well as their landlord Stanley Roper (Norman Fell) met regularly at the Regal Beagle on “Three’s Company” (1976-1984).

Source: Courtesy of American Broadcasting Company

Bang Bang Bar
> Show: Twin Peaks
> Fictional location: Twin Peaks, WA

The Bang Bang Bar, known by its local nickname The Roadhouse, was a popular tavern in the southern part of the mythical Twin Peaks. Bar shots were filmed in Fall City, Washington, at the Fall City Roadhouse Restaurant. “Twin Peaks” first aired in 1990-1991 and became a cult favorite. A feature film followed in 1992, and a third television season aired 25 years later.

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