Have you ever watched one of your favorite TV shows and thought, “I wonder if that coffee is any good” or, “I could go for some of that pie right now”? You’re in luck! Whether limited-run pop-up events or permanent tourist attractions, many of the iconic restaurants, bars, and cafés from beloved scripted settings have been made into real-life locales. Today, we’ll look at 4 fictional restaurants that TV-fan foodies can visit in real life.
Cheers—Visitors to Boston often flock to take a photo beside the iconic “Cheers” sign used in the opening credits of the wildly popular, long-running sitcom. However, the inside of the landmark bar (established all the way back in 1895!) doesn’t resemble the sound stage setting in which the eclectic patrons’ antics ensued.
Fortunately for dedicated fans looking to feel like they’re actually sipping a brew in the place “where everybody knows your name,” Cheers opened a second location in 2001 that’s a convincing replica of the fictional bar, complete with memorabilia like Sam’s Red Sox jacket and Cliff’s mailman suit.
Central Perk—Fans of the immensely popular 90s sit-com “Friends” may soon be able to experience the characters’ favorite hangout spot in the real world. According to People Magazine, Warner Bros. Entertainment recently secured a trademark request for the name Central Perk to be used for coffee shop and cafe purposes—complete with the exact window logo used in the show.
This potentially permanent manifestation of the fictional cafe comes after a successful and widely Instagrammed Manhattan pop-up version of Central Perk in 2014. The temporary set-up was for a 10-year anniversary celebration of the show’s finale and featured sponsored brew by Eight O’Clock Coffee, familiar set decoration and memorabilia, and even Gunther the barista. No word yet on whether Jennifer Aniston will be available to waitress or Lisa Kudrow to play guitar for open-mic nights.
Moe’s Tavern—With nearly 30 years on the air, The Simpsons is the longest-running scripted series in TV history, and it has a die-hard fanbase to match! At Universal Studios in Orlando, Simpsons enthusiasts can step inside the brightly-colored hangout spot where Homer and his buddies unwind after work.
Guests can take a picture with resident barfly, Barney, or try a pint of Duff beer—exclusively brewed for Moe’s—while they bask in the friendly, technicolor ambiance.
Tom’s Restaurant—Cue the slap bass! The exterior of Tom’s Restaurant in Morningside Heights in New York City is one of the most recognizable diners in the world. That’s because it was used as the establishing shot for every scene set in Monk’s Cafe—the fictitious go-to eatery for the four central characters on Seinfeld.
These days, Tom’s is a frequent photo op for tourists (though the inside looks nothing like the studio set used for the show’s conversations-about-nothing scenes) and a popular late-night snacking destination for sleep-deprived Columbia University students looking for a great milkshake.
Whether your weekend includes getting out to a new restaurant or just binge-watching your favorite shows on Netflix, we hope you find ways to bring your foodie imagination to life! Happy Foodie Friday!
And, of course, for something a little weird…
There’s so much attention to detail that goes into creating convincing fictional restaurants, bars, and cafes for TV shows. The design elements of the spaces in particular showcase the personalities of the characters and sets a literal stage for the story to unfold.