The Best Fictional Bars to Celebrate New Year’s Eve
by Theresa Bane
If only there were a way to pop into a fictional environment. There are a bunch of places I would like to go to, sights to see, and things to experience; I would not even know where to start if I had to make a list. However, with a great deal of focus and direction I did manage to narrow it down to a few fictional bars I would like to spend my next New Year’s Eve in. Historically, the husband and I game that night, as we are uber nerds and this is what geeks of our level do. BUT, if the opportunity to jump into one of these fantasy environments ever happened upon us, here are the places, in alphabetical order so as not to show preference, I would be in this New Year’s Eve if gaming were not an option.
The Bronze, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Seems like the city council of Sunnydale would not give a liquor license to a bar whose main clientele is the local high school student body, and yet, they did. Maybe they were able to convince the city it was really a coffee shop, as the Scoobs did all drink cappuccinos, coffee, and coco while they were underage, although, Spike was often seen pounding beer while playing pool. Apart from it also being a hot spot where, not just vampires, but other monsters-of-the-week visit at least once an episode, they always managed to book a great band including “real world” Aimee Mann, Angie Hart, Cibo Matto, Darling Violetta, Garbage, K’s Choice, Michelle Branch, Nerf Herder and Splendid. Seven Mary Three was the “real world” band who covered for the TV show band Dingo’s Ate my Baby, of which Oz, one of the characters, was in. This night-time social setting located in the “bad side of town” is where I personally would like to be, if only for a chance to run into the platinum haired bad-boy vampire Spike played by James Marsters. If we get lucky, maybe he’ll get drunk and perform for us some of the poetry he composed back when he was known as William the Bloody or Railroad Spike.
Chalmun’s Cantina, of the Star Wars Universe
You’ll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy the whole galaxy through! (Disney, please don’t sue me.) Located in spaceport on Mos Eisley, on the planet Tatooine, Chalmun’s Cantina is a rocking dive bar featuring the cool jazz stylings of the Maxx Rebo Band as well as the Modal Nodes. Chalmun’s has a wild assortment of exotic and strange aliens, freight pilots, scruffy looking nerf-herders, and bounty hunters drinking, dancing, and letting loose. I don’t know why they don’t allow droids, I suppose it’s because they do not drink and therefore are not paying customers. Chalmun’s may not be the safest place to be New Year ’s Eve, you never know who will be the first to shoot, but as for me, I like my chances there rather than in the freezing cold of Time Square, NYC. This one story building was originally constructed by a guy named by Cedo Partu as fort to withstand attacks against Tusken Raiders. Btw, if you need some quick Geek Points, Chalmun is a Wookie.
The Golden Krone Hotel, Transylvania
No kidding folks, this is an actual place real money can take you to. Located in Bistritz in northern-central Transylvania, the Golden Krone Hotel was one of the places the fictional character Jonathan Harker stops at in Bram Stoker’s novel, “Dracula.” Today, the inn offers the meal Harker described eating there, the “robber steak.” In truth, the Golden Krone was not in existence during the time Harker would have visited; the inn was built entirely for the pleasure of tourists doing the whole “Dracula thing.” Nevertheless, how incredibly cool would it be to ring in the New Year in a nearly fictional setting? On a scale of 1 to 10, “Pretty Damn,” I think.
The Green Dragon from the novel, “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”
If the Prancing Pony is not your idea of a good time but you refuse to leave Middle Earth then I guess you’ll have to go to the Green Dragon in Bywater for a relaxed and very subdued New Year’s Eve. Apparently the Green Dragon caters to not just the Hobbits of Hobbiton but local drunks and old people; there is likely to be a Senior Citizen Discount offered as well as an Early Bird New Year’s Eve Ball Drop at 4 p.m. sharp. For me, this would not be what I would classify as a “good time,” but if I were in a partying mood I may start off my pub crawl for the Early Ball Drop before wassailing myself anywhere else.
The Leaky Cauldron, The Three Broomsticks, and The Hog’s Head from J. K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series
J. K. Rowlings, the brilliance behind the “Harry Potter” series of books, has a trio of bars in her ‘verse that I would not mind one Knut spending a New Year’s Eve in. A popular wizard pub and gateway between the Muggle and Wizard World, the Leaky Cauldron is noted for its delicious and excellent lunch. This old pub built way back in 1500 has rooms which can be rented out in case you to have a bit too much to drink and want to sleep it off or need to hide from your nemesis. Located in London on Charing Cross Road, it has a magical doorway, which opens up to Diagon Alley. Next, the cozy, crowded, and smoky Three Broomstick Pub and Inn is located in Hogsmeade and was founded during the medieval era, so this place must have perfected the New Year’s bash by now. Harry and company spent a large portion of their free time and spending money here. Finally, the Hog’s Head Inn and Pub is also located in the wizard town of Hogsmeade but is described as being small and filthy; think of it as the Chalmun’s Cantina of the Harry Potter-verse. This is not necessarily a bad thing, after all, in spite of all its ickyness it was the location of the Potter Prophecy, where Dumbledore’s army first gathered, and where the recipe of the Philosopher’s Stone was hidden.
MacAnally’s, from Jim Butcher’s “The Dresden Files”
Owned and operated by “Mac” McAnally this pub is frequented by the magically inclined of the Dresdenverse. The layout of the place was designed in such a way as to disrupt the natural flow of magic so if ever two disagreeable parties should decide to throw down in spite of the fact the locale has been deemed neutral ground for all signatories of the Accords, their magical power would be greatly reduced if not canceled out. This failing, the wise barkeep keeps a shotgun behind the bar. Mac is the head chef whose specialty is a steak sandwich he cooks over a wood-burning stove; he is also the brew master of an award winning dark microbrew. Jim has yet to write a scene in this setting where I am not ravenously hungry after reading.
Milliways, better known as “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe”
Very likely, this is the coolest place in the known universe a being can spend their New Year’s Eve. In Douglas Adams’ book, “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe” he describes how patrons can only get to Milliways by time traveling to the exact moment when time and matter cease to exist. Admittedly, doing this is tricky, but if you want to hang out and rock in the New Year with potentially everyone who has ever existed and ever will exist then it’s worth the effort to double check your math. Notably serving Aldebaran liqueurs and for not serving tea, Milliways is best known for its trademarked drink, the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster—it’s been described by its creator, Zaphod Beeblebrox, as “having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon, wrapped ’round a large gold brick.” An additional attraction to Milliways, apart from its nice chandeliers, is its fine dining menu of talking food. Reservations are never necessary because after your visit you can make the reservations retroactively when you return to your own place and time.
The Prancing Pony from the novel, “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”
The Prancing Pony, also known as the Inn of the Prancing Pony for you Tolkien purests out there, is located along the old Great East Road in the village of Bree. This was the location where Frodo Baggins first met Strider the ranger. Owned and managed by addle-brained Barliman Butterbur, the Pony made a pretty penny, as it was one of the two other inns in all of Middle Earth (the Forsaken Inn, was likely destroyed in the War of the Ring). Since the Pony has rooms for both man and hobbits alike, it stands to reason they have alcoholic beverages, which cater to each race’s constitutions. I wonder what Merry and Pippin were drinking when they were drunk and singing Karaoke all night long? I suspect the short, squat, and sturdy hobbits would have a high tolerance for alcohol and therefore their brew would really get a human New Year’s Eve party off to a rocking start. Who knows, maybe if Strider, a.k.a. Aragorn son of Arathorn, gets a bit tipsy he may forget about his sweetie long enough for a paranormal romance to happen.
The Slaughtered Lamb from the movie “An American Werewolf in London”
Albeit this place is all but guaranteed to be filled to capacity, where else can you double your chances of running into a werewolf on the Yorkshire moors? Featuring a pentagram painted with lamb’s blood on the wall, the Slaughtered Lamb does not serve coffee or food but will, most begrudgingly, offer a cup of tea if you look sufficiently pathetic, cold, and wet. Don’t bother asking for a Campari and soda, as the bartender will shake his head, never having heard of the stuff—just settle for a well-poured Guinness and play a game of chess with one of the locals while listening to colorful tales and local gossip.
Last Call for the alcohol! None of the above doing it for ya? Fine, here is a list (again in alphabetical order so as not to show preference) of other fictional place you can “visit” after you guzzle down a case of Christol.
Admiral Benbow Inn, from the novel “Treasure Island” whose signature drink is rum and is frequented by pirates (the “real world” location is called the Pirate House and is located in my hometown of Savannah, GA).
Bada Bing, from the TV series “The Sopranos” (1999 – 2007) whose signature drink is a body shot of tequila and real world location is in Lodi, NJ and is called “Satin Dolls.”
The Bang Bang, from the TV series “Twin Peaks” (1990 – 1991) whose signature drink is a mug of beer served with peanuts. Look out for dancing midgets.
The Brick, from the TV series “Northern Exposure” (1990 – 1995) whose signature drink is beer and whisky.
Chastubo, from the 1984 William Gibson cyberpunk novel “Neuromance” whose signature drink is beer.
Cheers, from the TV series “Cheers” (1982 – 1993) whose two signature drinks are beer and Carla’s Cocktail and everybody knows your name…a little creepy if you ask me.
Dexter Lake Club, from the movie “Animal House” (1978) whose signature drink is beer and was frequented by the boys of Delta House.
The Double Deuce, from the Patrick Swayze movie, “Road House” (1989) whose signature drink was called “the Revenge.”
The Drunken Clam, from the Fox animated TV series “Family Guy” (1998 to date) whose signature drink is a beer named Pawtucket Patriot.
The Eight Ball Pool Hall, from the Disney movie “Pinocchio” (1940) whose signature drink is beer. Yes, little knot head Pinocchio was drinking in the movie, God bless the 1940s and their censorship.
The Gem Saloon, from the TV series “Deadwood” (2004) whose signature drink is a shot of whiskey—just be careful who you ask for that shot.
The Gold Room, from the 1977 Steven King novel “The Shining” whose signature drink is a shot of Jack Daniels; mind the dead bodies piling up faster than the snow.
Greely’s, from the Clint Eastwood movie, “Unforgiven” (1992) whose signature drink is Jonathan Collier Whiskey—come for the billiard but stay for the “billiards.”
The Hip Joint, from the animated TV series “Futurama” (1999 – 2003) whose signature drink is the Martini Cloud.
The Ink and Paint Club, from the film “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” (1998) whose signature drink was whisky on the rocks.
Korova Bar, from the novella “Clockwork Orange” (1962) whose signature drink is milk—mmm, milk, it does a body good!
Last Resort, from the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie “Total Recall” (1990) whose signature drink is Neon Shit. Appetizing.
Maccadam’s Old Oil House, from the comic Transformers whose signature drink is oil and is frequented by Autobots, Decepticons, and Neutralists.
Moe’s Tavern, from the animated TV series “The Simpsons” (1987 to date) whose signature drink is the Flaming Moe.
Munden’s Bar, from the comic Grimjack whose signature drink is “Booooze” and is frequented by former child gladiators, mercenaries, sword for hires, and war veterans.
Porky’s, from the 1982 comedy movie “Porky’s.” I will never be old enough to go to this place.
Rick’s Café Americana, from one of the best movies of all-time, “Casablanca” (1942) whose signature drinks is champagne and brandy.
Tabard Inn, from Geoffrey Chaucer’s novel, “Canterbury Tales,” whose signature drink is beer. This is where all good pilgrims get liquored up before going forth.
Ten Forward, from the TV series Star Trek frequented by the crew of the starship Enterprise, who do not have a signature drink but rather offers an array of alcohol and synthetic beverages. How yawn worthy, no signature drink, really?
The Winchester Tavern, from the movie “Shaun of the Dead” (2004) whose signature drink is a pint of beer and a flaming shot. Life don’t get no better than that, and who’d want it if it did?
Happy New Year all!
QrT – Theresa Bane
uber nerd of the Fictional Pub Crawl