It’s no secret that we form sentimental attachments to our favorite TV characters. But we also become fond of the places those characters go to socialize. For me, they include bars, malt shops, diners and way too many coffee shops.
FLOYD’S BARBER SHOP
Mayberry wouldn’t have been nearly so entertaining without Floyd’s Barber Shop, where town luminaries such as Sheriff Taylor, Deputy Fife and Gomer Pyle caught up on the latest gossip with Floyd (Howard McNear). I loved Floyd’s spacey, vaguely disapproving manner on “The Andy Griffith Show.” I also loved Eugene Levy’s send-up of Floyd on the old SCTV show.
This was the perfect place for the cast of “Friends” to spend quality time. Coffee shops were just coming into their own as hipster meeting spots, which fit the vibe of the show. One thing did bother me: how did this same group of friends ALWAYS get the good couch?
As animated dive bars go, Moe’s Tavern on “The Simpsons” is the best there is. Moe himself, voiced by Hank Azaria, is a hoot and a half. His place is Homer’s safe haven and the launching pad for some great prank phone calls (“Al Coholic? Is there an Al Coholic here?”)
SATRIALE’S PORK STORE
This place, one of several hangouts for the thugs on “The Sopranos,” absolutely reeked of authenticity. That’s because it’s a real pork store in New Jersey. Also, my apologies to those hoping this List would include the Bada Bing.
More coffee here, this one from “Frasier.” Cafe Nervosa was upscale and classy, in keeping with the tone of urbane wit that Kelsey Grammer & Co. maintained.
LONG BRANCH SALOON
No one would ever accuse the Long Branch, from “Gunsmoke,” of being a realistic depiction of a saloon in the old west. I suspect the saloons on “Deadwood” were a lot closer to the real thing. Yet it proved to be home sweet home for Marshal Matt Dillon – thanks to the ever-patient Miss Kitty.
KARAOKE BAR ON THE NEWSROOM
What seems like an odd locale for the news folk on “The Newsroom” to choose as a hangout is actually very smart. The karaoke bar (if someone knows the name, please let me know) is sleek and flashy, just like the show. It’s also kind of pleasantly goofy, just like the show. It works.
“Happy Days” wasn’t one of my favorite shows, but I loved the local burger joint, Arnold’s. It looked the way a 1950s teen hangout was supposed to look, right down to the jukebox and booths. There’s only one TV teen hangout I like better…
THE SHAKE SHOP
“The Patty Duke Show” wasn’t trying to rekindle nostalgic memories of an earlier era; it was part of youth culture. It just happened to be centered around a ridiculous premise about identical cousins. The local malt shop was the scene of much action. Viva la Shake Shop!
Doc Magoo’s was the dive diner a block away from the hospital on “ER.” As with so many of the places on this List, it reflects something important about the show itself. The characters on “ER” had no lives outside of the hospital, for the most part. They put love, family and even food on the back burner, reducing their meals to something they could run and get down the street from work.
Another shrewd choice of place. “How I Met Your Mother,” like many sitcoms, is about building your own family of people who care about you. This pub, with its cozy booths, warm brown tables and unending stream of attractive visitors, is just the right spot.
Even intergalactic explorers need a place to unwind. On “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” that place was Ten Forward, the Enterprise’s very own bar. Whoopi Goldberg was the proprietor. Best. Romulan. Ale. Ever.
BAR ON RESCUE ME
“Rescue Me” was all about personal demons: alcohol, guilt, you name it. What better place to work on some of those issues than a New York City bar? At its best, this show was an absolute gem, with several incredible scenes set in the tavern owned by the guys from the firehouse.
BOSTON LEGAL ROOFTOP
In all weather and states of being, James Spader and William Shatner made beautiful music together on their law firm’s rooftop on “Boston Legal.” These scenes came to be the real soul of the series. That’s what a great hangout is for, frankly. It’s a place to confide, regale and bask in the glow of belonging.
Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think there’s any question that this coffee shop on “Seinfeld” is the best TV hangout of all time. It’s where George told the blowhole story, for crying out loud! And the place serves up a fine Big Salad. Monk’s was something special in a show about nothing.
Of course, this is all a matter of opinion. Which TV hangouts do you like best?