The TV world is so fascinating; the characters, their storylines, their homes and their hangouts are always so desirable. It isn’t rare when a fictional television set has you so interested and intrigued that you hope and pray that you can visit it in real life. Thanks to studio tours at places like Warner Brother and Universal we are able to set foot on the actual sets of some of the greatest shows on television. And other settings were shot in real world locations. However, what we really long for is the experience and exciting atmosphere of the fictional hangouts, not just a set tour. The places where most of the action goes down, where the characters are at their craziest, in scenes where we the dedicated viewer envy their worry-free, easy going lifestyles– that’s what we want to feel.
It would be amazing to experience what it was like to watch Death Cab for Cutie play at The Bait Shop. Or eat something homemade from Granny’s Diner. We would not even mind sacrificing ourselves to a bunch a vampires just to spend a fraction of a second in Fantasia and bask in Eric’s glow. Here are a list of some of the most fun looking hangouts from television.
15. The Max, Saved By The Bell
The Max was a local hangout for the students at Bayside High. It would normally be featured either before or after a game where the gang would get pumped up or celebrate a big win. It was owned by a magician named Max who always wore wacky clothing and had a big personality. The Max was loosely a 50’s style diner; it always looked like a good time – dance parties, dance competitions, and A.C. Slater’s constant grand entrances. While the food served at The Max was pretty basic, the group always seemed to enjoy the burgers and fries and milkshakes. What is cool about having a place like The Max in real life? Simple, it is so different in this day and age that it would stand out and quickly become the popular place to hang out. The style would be unique to its time. The food might be garbage, but it is a place we can go to just to meet up with friends and avoid going home after school. This would definitely be a Friday night hangout.
14. Mystic Grill, The Vampire Diaries
This place seems so shady but so appealing to a high school student. Does anyone else get the vibe that they serve alcohol to minors at this place? The dark atmosphere of this dive bar/restaurant is one to question, yet we cannot help but think that if a place like this was in our small town we would flock to it. It is almost guaranteed that a mysterious, young, cute waiter or waitress will take up residency there, they always seem to find the seediest of places to work, and the Mystic Grill is no different. The Mystic Grill is a great hangout for the simple fact that it looks like you can just hang out there without having to purchase anything. If you are not into food like Damon and Stefan, then you can mosey on over to the games area and shoot a game of pool and enjoy taking in shots of what looks to be straight whiskey.
13. Granny’s Diner, Once Upon A Time
Something says “warm apple pie” about this place. Granny’s Diner is the hub for the folks of Storybrooke. It is like a home away from home. And technically it is a home because of the inn above the diner. Imagine waking up to the smell of baked goods and coffee every morning, who could resist? This place is officially called The Cannary Cafe, however we all know who is really running the show. The menu is so simple and it is sweet to look at. It is a reminder of how great, simple meals can taste, like one boiled egg, a bowl of cereal, or grilled cheese – how can you not want a place like this around the corner from you? It truly is home cooking when you are too lazy to cook your own meal but do not want to sacrifice the home cooking flavors.
12. Paddy’s Pub, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia
If anyone watches It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia they know that the central hub Paddy’s Irish Pub is where most of the craziness goes down. “Chardee McDennis”, underage drinking, wrestling matches to save the troops, and of course court proceedings for a certain cereal bowl incident. Paddy’s is always empty, and this is due to the lack of good customer service, and the fact that they only sell beer. And also partially due to the fact that the gang holds odd hours in relation to odd things they have planned for their personal benefit. Paddy’s has a lot of space and looks like a good time all around. There is a basement where a bunch of shenanigans take place as well. What makes this place so appealing is the owners of the bar: Mac, Dennis Charlie, Frank and honorary owner Dee. They all don’t exactly get along, so there would always be a fight to watch.
11. Bob’s Burgers, Bob’s Burgers
Yes, there are already a lot of burger joints in town, but Bob’s Burgers is extra special. He has his quirky family helping him run his business, and he always has a special burger that may not always taste good, but it sure is intriguing. The restaurant is diner-style and has a lot of locals in and out of the place. They do not really eat much, they just come to hang out, hence why the place is doing poor business. In real life, Bob’s Burgers would do great. Everyone would flock to a place that had burgers with silly names and incompatible toppings. The diner is homey and you feel welcomed no matter what you are there for. Plus you will probably be the smartest person in the building, and that can be great for anyone’s ego. Bob’s Burgers is by the shore too, so after you grab a bite you could walk out and place your feet in the sand.
10. Tric, One Tree Hill
Tric was the place to be on a Friday night in the small town of Tree Hill. While Karen’s cafe is a great place to get a cup of coffee and home cooked breakfast, Tric was the place to go when you were young, hip and ready to party. The nightclub was known for getting boozy and drinking your problems away (the group only really hung out there when they had a horrible day and wanted to drink A LOT). They did have a few great moments when Tric turned into a venue for sought after musicians like Gavin DeGraw. The establishment is run by Peyton Sawyer, which makes it seem like an even better place to hang out. Who doesn’t want to rub elbows with Peyton? She was the coolest character on the show. Nightclubs are not as fun as they used to be, but since Tric is all about the music it could be great.
9. The Brew, Pretty Little Liars
Nothing like high schoolers drinking coffee all day; The Brew is a great example of what our culture has become. Teenagers getting coffee before and after class, hanging out in coffee shops after school instead of sitting at home doing homework around the dinner table like normal teens. The cool thing about The Brew is the atmosphere; it reminds you of a homely coffee shop that does not cater to the masses. One can assume the coffee is flavourful and fair trade, the treats are local and freshly made daily, and the barista is also the owner, the cashier, the waiter, and sometimes the baker. The full name of this establishment is The Rear Window Brew (an ode to Alfred Hitchcock no doubt), but no one calls it that, which makes it even more desirable with a nickname. The ladies of Pretty Little Liars seem to get up to a lot of mischief while hanging out here, they are here so often that Emily decided to make it official, taking a job as a waitress.
8. Fangtasia, True Blood
A vampire bar just for vampire and vampire “fangers”; you get to hang out with vampires all day, or should we say night. That can be both scary and exciting but mostly exciting. The layout of Fangtasia was eerie; a lot of red and black and a lot of random characters coming in and out, if they made it out alive that is. This bar is not for the faint of heart, but if you can stomach it there is a lot to gawk at; like King Eric on his throne, Pam being Pam, and of course the occasional appearance by Sookie wearing something salacious of course. The bar would make an awesome hangout spot because it is so different; what other bar do you know that has a supernatural presence, a bunch of good looking guys and girls, and can offer you an experience of a lifetime? It is a place that makes all of your supernatural dreams come true.
7. Merlotte’s, True Blood
Merlotte’s is basically the only diner/bar in town besides Fangtasia, which is what made it so special. However, what made it even better were the people who worked there; Sookie was smart-mouthed and could read people’s thoughts, Lafayette, the chef, was not afraid to tell you off for sending a meal back, and Arlene was all kinds of a mess. It was fun to watch them interact; Merlotte’s was a cross between a dive bar and a wannabe high end restaurant, and there was always something happening: vampires dying, secrets being spilled, marriage proposals, and never a dull moment. The proprietor, Sam, has his own little secrets that make the bar/diner even more exciting to be in. Imagine having a place like this in real life. You would never need your own drama and you can eat and drink while you watch everyone else’s crap unfold.
6. The Bait Shop, The O.C.
A club by the beach, need we say more? As a teenager, having a cool beach club that you can go to seems so sophisticated and grown up. However, The Bait Shop always seemed to have a lot of fights, and one has to suspect they were serving alcohol to minors. The best thing about The Bait Shop was the amazing artists and bands that played there. Seth was our resident music guide, so wherever he was great music was sure to follow. He snagged himself a janitor job at The Bait Shop just so he could watch some of his favorite groups perform. This place must have been every hipster’s dream venue. Death Cab for Cutie and even The Killers performed there. One of the best features of The Bait Shop? If you got sick of being inside, all you had to do was walk out on the patio, and with a few more steps you could be on the water. Maybe after a good surf session you could come in for a beer.
5. Luke’s Diner, Gilmore Girls
This is pretty much Stars Hollow’s only diner, and with a character like Luke Danes running it, who would be crazy enough to compete with him? Luke must make a great cup of coffee and a decent burger because Lorelai and Rory ate there every day. In every episode it was their go-to for whenever they wanted coffee. The best thing about this hangout was all the random quirks in the building, like the “No Cell Phone” signs above the counter that Luke fearfully enforced, or how good or bad the food would taste depending on the mood of the temperamental proprietor. A lot of good also happened at this diner, which is probably why it will always be a fan favorite. Lorelai asked Luke to marry her there, and Rory and Jess had some pretty choice moments as well. This diner is a favorite because of the nostalgia. It will be interesting to see what role the diner will play in the upcoming Gilmore Girls re-boot on Netflix.
4. MacLaren’s Pub, How I Met Your Mother
MacLaren’s Pub was the place to go when you wanted to hear the craziest stories of the day told by the likes of Marshall, Lily and the rest of the How I met Your Mother characters. MacLaren’s is based off of an actual bar in New York City called McGee’s, which is where the creators frequented while working on Late Show with David Letterman. McGee’s even has a HIMYM menu, but it’s not nearly as cool as MacLaren’s. The gang spent what seemed like every night there summarizing their day and participating in outlandish activities, which is what bars are for, right? MacLaren’s looks like a good time all the time. The atmosphere is always crowded and rowdy, there is always something to see or do, and they even serve food, which apparently tastes pretty great. Plus Barney always seems to leave with a lady on his arm and if it’s that easy to score in that bar, how much better can it get?
3. The Peach Pitt, Beverly Hills, 90210
The retro ‘50s style diner seemed a bit out of place in a world full of plastic, and unnecessarily expensive fashion labels. Considering the 50s were about family, friends and not the lifestyle of the rich and famous, the diner felt like a breath of fresh air when you wanted to get away from the drama. The Peach Pit was run by Joe, who seemed so out of place in a bright and shiny material world. The only reason why the viewers knew of the Peach Pit was because Brandon Walsh was not as rich as the other characters, so he actually had to get a job to keep up. The Peach Pit got a new lease on life when 90210 came back with a fresher, younger crowd, this time Dixon was working. And while the Peach Pit got a small face-lift, it remained quite similar, except at night it became somewhat of a club called The Peach Pit After Dark. Super creative name, right?
2. Central Perk, Friends
The popular Friends hangout looked more like a New York City apartment than a coffee shop. Granted the size was way bigger, but the decor was comfy apartment living all the way. The best friends regularly gathered there not only to watch Rachel Green work but to convene daily and complain about life’s hardships. At one point Joey took a job there while he worked on his acting career, and like Rachel, Joey hated the job. The coffee house looks ridiculously vintage, with the big, tacky orange couch that is a constant fixture. And don’t forget Phoebe’s horrible acoustic performances. The shop is happily cluttered and for most of the series, it remains that way. The only change in the shop was the artwork and posters, which one of the creators, David Crane, had changed every three episodes.
1. The Planet, The L Word
The L Word was an iconic show so it is only fair that they had a memorable, sought after hangout as well. The Planet was the central hub for all the characters, and where the audience was able to catch up on what was going on in everyone’s lives. Alice met her “man/girlfriend” there, Marina and Jenna went at it on so many occasions in the back office, and Tina told the crew about her pregnancy there. The Planet was at first only a coffee shop until Kit bought it and upgraded it to a cool lounge at night where musicians in the LGBT community could perform. It had the coolest set-up with all the natural light coming in from the patio. The Planet was an emotional investment for the viewers and the characters, so many moments happened right there.