18 Iconic Movie Restaurants and Bars You Can Visit in Real Life
Admit it, you’ve always wanted to tag along for an adrenaline-pumping chase scene, kick back with a magical hobbit/avatar-like creature in an equally mystical setting, or skip around town with legendary superheroes to save the planet. While many of your favorite flicks are filmed on a sound stage to bring these larger-than-life scenes to the big screen, there’s still hope.
Every so often, in between the fabricated stunts and over-the-top CGI special effects, Hollywood gives its viewers a glimmer of reality. Sometimes that comes in the form of a bloopers reel; other times it’s simply when a director creates cinematic magic by filming in a real-life restaurant or bar. In regards to the latter, there are several spots around the world that have been used on the small- and big-screen, oftentimes taking on a character of their own (or at the very least, inspire a fictional joint on camera). So if you’ve ever dreamt about grabbing a round with Sam, Diane, and the rest of the gang at Cheers, time-traveling with Gil to wax poetic about literature with Hemingway, busting a move atop a bar with a bunch of Coyote Ugly dancers, or turning the “Great Balls of Fire” Maverick-and-Goose duet into a trio with your superb vocals, this is your chance. Do your inner film fan a favor and add these 18 legendary movie restaurants and bars to your travel bucket list.
Monk’s Café from ‘Seinfeld’
Real name: Tom’s Restaurant
Do as George, Kramer, Jerry, and Elaine and grab a table (and big salad) at this Morningside Heights cafe to discuss, well, “nothing.” While the interior, which is frequented by many a Columbia student, never actually starred in the sitcom, the exterior and its infamous neon signage appears in nearly every episode.
Katz's Delicatessen from ‘When Harry Met Sally’
Real name: Katz's Delicatessen
This 128-year-old Kosher-style deli may be the site of Meg Ryan's famous fake orgasm scene in Rob Reiner's 1989 rom-com, but it also happens to be the place where you can find the best (and biggest) hand-carved pastrami sandwiches in New York City. To this day, diners can even pull up a seat at the same table where Billy Crystal and Ryan chatted. Just look for the sign that reads: “Where Harry met Sally...hope you have what she had!”
Cafe Lalo from ‘You've Got Mail’
Real name: Café Lalo
Speaking of Meg Ryan, this cozy New York City nook is the exact spot where she and Tom Hanks meet for the first time in the Nora Ephron-directed romantic comedy. But that’s not its only claim to fame. The Upper West Side hangout, which is regularly teeming with tourists, also lures crowds for its charming ambiance (brick walls, Art Nouveau posters) and an impressive display case packed with cookies, brownies, pies, and more.
New York Bar from ‘Lost In Translation’
Real name: New York Grill, Park Hyatt Tokyo
This Park Hyatt Tokyo bar is the perfect place for a chance encounter with strangers, which is exactly the premise of Sofia Coppola’s 2003 film starring Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray. Or at the very least, it’s a spot to soak in stunning panoramic views of the city while sipping on a glass of zinfandel that’s cheekily named Francis Coppola’s Director’s Cut.
Polidor from ‘Midnight In Paris’
Real name: Crémerie Restaurant Polidor
If you remember the scene where Gil requests that Ernest Hemingway read his novel, then you remember this Parisian restaurant. And while his time-traveling fantasy might not have been real, the magical 19th-century café in which their conversation took place is. In fact, the restaurant, which dates back to 1845, was even known to host legendary scribes, including Hemingway himself. Tip: order the boeuf bourguignon.
Cheers from ‘Cheers’
Real name: Cheers (formerly Bull & Finch Pub)
Give that souvenir tee in your closet some context and head to this 1969-founded Beacon Hill staple, where the facade will instantly transport you to the beloved sitcom's catchy title sequence. Inside, you won't spot Sam, Diane, Carla, Norm, and Cliff (the interior was filmed on a Los Angeles soundstage), but you will find the Giant Norm Burger (two patties topped with Muenster, mushrooms, onion rings, lettuce, and tomato). It’s so good, in fact, you might just come back again and again until everybody knows your name.
The Voltaire from ‘Pretty Woman’
Real name: Cicada Restaurant (formerly Rex Il Ristorante)
One of the most memorable moments in this 1990 Garry Marshall flick unfolds in a restaurant where Julia Roberts flings a snail across the room during an important business dinner. Luckily, we can return to the scene of the crime inside this Los Angeles space. Turns out, there’s no escargot on the menu, but diners can still expect the same swanky vibe, courtesy of gold-leaf ceilings, crystal chandeliers, and a lavish bar and lounge.
Serendipity 3 from ‘Serendipity’
Real name: Serendipity 3
This New York City eatery is as well-known for its role in the 2001 romantic comedy as it is for its famous Frrrozen Hot Chocolate, a decadent brain-freeze-inducing treat shared by Jonathan (John Cusack) and Sara (Kate Beckinsale). Tables can often be booked months in advance (with lines as long as an hour), but it’s well worth the wait. After all, it is known to pull off some fortuitous matchmaking.
The Bluebird Cafe from ‘Nashville’
Real name: The Bluebird Cafe
Made famous by the country music drama starring Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere this Nashville club and restaurant is a must-visit. Giving it even more star power, the on-screen characters that have performed inside this music venue join a roster of superstars, including Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift, who have already taken the stage IRL.
Real name: Coyote Ugly
Live out your Coyote Ugly fantasies (well, at least the part where you make it as a songwriter), at this New York City bar. Made famous by Piper Perabo and John Goodman in the movie of the same name, the dive gives off a similar vibe that’s seen on screen (think cheap drinks, women’s bras hanging from the ceiling, and bar-top dancers). Movie trivia: while the film gets its name (and exterior shots) from the East Village location, the interior was allegedly modeled after a Meatpacking watering hole called Hogs & Heifers (may it rest in peace).
21 Club from ‘Wall Street’
Real name: 21 Club
Countless celebrities (Alfred Hitchcock, Dorothy Parker, Humphrey Bogart, Harrison Ford), politicians, and other VIPs have wined and dined inside this sophisticated see-and-be-seen hotspot, but perhaps still one of the most unforgettable moments comes from the 1987 movie Wall Street. A Prohibition-era speakeasy in its past life, the venue makes a cameo appearance during a scene with Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) and Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen), where Gekko recommends the steak tartare. It’s $38 on the menu, in case you’re wondering.
Holsen's from ‘The Sopranos’
Real name: Holsten’s
If this old-school New Jersey diner is good enough to close out the hit HBO series, then you know it has some street cred. The family-friendly joint, which made its small screen debut in the show’s final scene, displays photos of the cast and crew on wood-paneled walls, plus the same booth where the mob family dined. While the shop is known for its candy, milkshakes, and ice cream, make sure to save room for an order of the onion rings. According to Tony Soprano, they’re apparently “best in da state.”
Bistrot La Renaissance from ‘Inglourious Basterds’
Real name: Bistrot La Renaissance
Quentin Tarantino chose to film two crucial sequences (starring Melanie Laurent, Christoph Waltz, Daniel Bruhl, and a seemingly innocent plate of apple strudel) in his 2009 movie at this real-life Parisian bistro. Once inside, you’ll quickly understand why. At this hidden gem in the 18th arrondissement, what you see on screen is what you get. From the spotted mirrors and stained glass to the Belle Epoque staircase, it retains its old-fashioned charm and still draws in the locals.
Kansas City Barbeque from ‘Top Gun’
Real name: Kansas City Barbeque
In 1986, Goose and Maverick spontaneously belted out their rendition of “Great Balls of Fire” on a piano inside a sports bar. Three decades later, the famous scene still lives on inside the real San Diego watering hole in which it was filmed. A memorabilia-packed shrine to the ’80s classic (the space even houses the same grand piano), the joint serves up finger-licking good spare ribs, brisket, and a souvenir Top Gun tee to go home with. Just remember to bring your wingman (or woman).
Smith & Wollensky from ‘The Devil Wears Prada’
Real name: Smith & Wollensky
You probably recognize the green awning exterior of this famed steakhouse. That’s because it’s the same one that played a role in The Devil Wears Prada, a film about a recent graduate (Anne Hathaway) who lands a job as an assistant to Miranda Priestly, the editor-in-chief of a high fashion magazine (Meryl Streep). In one scene, viewers watch as the heel-clad Andy (Hathaway) bolts to the restaurant to pick up a steak for Miranda’s lunch while attempting to also track down a copy of J.K. Rowling’s unpublished manuscript of the new Harry Potter book. Mandatory: order the Porterhouse or filet mignon—just don’t pull a Miranda and leave it uneaten.
Woody’s L Street Tavern from ‘Good Will Hunting’
Real name: Woody’s L Street Tavern
Before The Departed, longtime friends and on-screen duo Ben Affleck and Matt Damon headed to Boston’s L Street Tavern to film Good Will Hunting. The South End dive bar, and regular hangout for Will (Damon) and Chuckie (Affleck), has been renovated since the film’s 1997 premiere, but it still makes for a quality joint to grab a beer and watch a Bruins or Sox game.
Bridges Restaurant from ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’
Real name: Bridges Restaurant & Bar
Remember that hilarious scene when Robin Williams unsuccessfully alternates between playing Daniel Hillard for a business meeting and Mrs. Doubtfire for his ex-wife’s birthday on the same night, in the same location? Well, now you can re-live the action (sans cayenne pepper CPR fiasco, hopefully) in the same restaurant where it all went down. Located in Danville, California, culinary mastermind Kevin Gin helms the kitchen, serving up dishes like the stir-fried Mexican prawns with Thai red curry sauce, cremini mushrooms, toasted peanuts, and crispy noodle cake.
Double R Diner from ‘Twin Peaks’
Real name: Twede’s Cafe
This family-owned North Bend, Washington restaurant will forever be the place where Kyle MacLachlan’s character, Agent Dale Cooper, downed slice-after-slice of cherry pie in David Lynch’s 1990s cult TV series Twin Peaks. Today, customers can still order the same dessert and “damn fine cup o’ coffee,” despite a devastating fire and interior remodeling job.