What would our favorite shows be without a common ground, a "hang-out" if you will, to bring all of our favorite characters together? There have many fine fictional establishments over the years but of course a few stand out amongst the scrap heaps of Central Perks and Bada Bings. It does seem a lot of the best hang-outs seem to be a bit New York-centric so we tried to give this as much of a regionalized flavor as possible (sorry MacLaren's from "How I Met Your Mother
", maybe next time).
5. The Maxx - "Saved by the Bell"
Nothing sums up the quintessential teenage hangout quite like The Maxx did on "Saved by the Bell" (narrowly edging out The Peach Pit from "Beverly Hills: 90210
" based solely on the fact there was never a "The Maxx: After Dark"). In fact many would argue that The Maxx - and its magician owner named, ironically, Max - was such a entertainment Mecca that the children of three completely different families (The Morris' Zach, The Powers' Screech and the Turtle's Lisa) would convince their parents to move them from suburban Indianapolis to Bayside, California. To those who do not remember, the first season of Saved by the Bell (then known as "Good Morning Miss Bliss") did in fact take place in Indianapolis, IN. Since no other realistic explanation was ever offered why three characters from the first season now live in California, we will just assume it was the attraction of magical splendor offered at The Maxx.
4. The Regal Beagle "Three's Company"
One of the first sitcoms to have a neighborhood bar be the central meeting place for the characters on the show, as opposed to a restaurant or a malt shop. Of course this was overlooked considering the basic plot of the show, a single man living with two single women that tells their landlord he is gay so he can live there, was controversial enough. The Beagle served everyone; from swingers looking for a date that evening such as Jack Tripper and Larry Dallas, or a married man, Stanley Roper, looking to hide from his wife for the evening. Debatably the funniest moments from this groundbreaking show occurred at the Regal Beagle. Unfortunately in the shows final seasons they group spent more and more time at Jack's new restaurant, Jack's Bistro, and less at the Regal Beagle. Which is a shame because it seemed that not only did the show lose an interesting hangout, it also lost a lot of its edge.
3. Monk's Diner - "Seinfeld"
The food in the fictionalized Monk's Diner must be something quite out of this world considering how often Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer eat there. What makes this quite astounding is that Jerry lives on West 81st and Monk's (using the exterior shot of Tom's Restaurant) is on 110th street. For those of you not from New York City, Jerry travels a mile and a half from home to dine at Monk's in an area of town not many people from his part of the Upper West Side frequent. Not to even mention Monk himself is never particularly nice to them. Though considering how many hare-brained schemes were hatched at Monk's, perhaps we would keep going out of the way to eat there as well.
2. Arnold's Drive In "Happy Days"
Arnold's let a 1970's viewing audience either learn, or remember what a 1950's era Milwaukee drive in felt like (at least to a point, the pinball machine displayed was not quite invented yet when this show takes place). Arnold's became a second home to series regulars Richie, Ralph and Potsie while Arthur Fonzarelli ruled the roost (and the ladies) with his unique ability to turn on the jukebox just by hitting it with his fist. Arnold's had quite a bad month in January of 1980. On the January 8th episode it was the first time in the history of "Happy Days" that Arnold's did not make an appearance. To add insult to injury in the January 22nd episode Fonzarelli's little cousin Chachi Arcola leaves the grill on overnight burning Arnold's to the ground. It was like losing a cast-member and the rebuilt Arnold's never caught on with viewers.
1. Cheers - "Cheers"
What? Did you think the best television hangout of all time would be Gary's Old Town Tavern? Quite possibly the first and only television show the completely takes place at a television hangout. Based loosely on the Bull & Finch Pub in Boston, this sitcom centering around a bar quickly became one of the most popular television shows in history because we the viewer cared about the characters that spent (most of, it would seem) their time at this bar. Former Red Sox pitcher, recovering alcoholic, and ladies man Sam "Mayday" Malone would create the perfect straight man and focal point of the show as a spectrum of diverse personalities patronized his establishment from want-to-be know-it-all Cliff Clavin to actual know-it-all Frasier Crane. Characters such as Diane Chambers and Coach would come and go (Shelley Long
would leave to pursue a film career and sadly Nicholas Colasanto
would pass away in 1985) but the heart of the series, Cheers itself, would live for 11 seasons.
Central Perk - Friends
The Peach Pit- Beverly Hills 90210
Moe's - The Simpsons
MacLaren's - How I Met Your Mother
The Bada Bing - The Sopranos
The Boar's Nest - The Dukes of Hazzard
Cafe Nervosa - Frasier
The Warsaw Tavern - The Drew Carey Show
Story by Mike Ryan
Starpulse contributing writer
Other Starpulse Features:
- The 'That Guy' Encyclopedia, Letters L Through Z
- Three Best & Worst TV Shows Turned Into Big-Screen Films
- 'Flavor Of Love' Reunion: Flav Proposes To...
- Stars Who Hit The Right Notes With Their Musical Mates