Of All the Gin Joints in All the Towns: The 10 Greatest Movie Bars

By  · Published on May 6th, 2014

Warner Bros.

Sometimes, the urge to crack open a cold one when you’re stuck in the middle of a Netflix binge can get overwhelming. And it’s understandable; so many of our favorite films feature incredible bars and pubs that put our local haunts and dives to shame, intergalactic gathering spots that bring together alien races, chic international watering holes and rough roadsides that may necessitate a bodyguard or two.

While we can’t frequent these cinematic watering holes, it’s okay to daydream and sip a martini or two while doing so. Here are the movie bars at which we’d love to pull up a stool.

10. Rick’s Café Americain – Casablanca

Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the worlds, you had to walk into his. Maybe you’re better acquainted with this joint as Rick’s, the suavest and hippest bar in all of Morocco. Casablanca’s premiere hangout spot for ex-pats was the place to go when you wanted to get noticed, or when you just wanted to scope out the best and most important figures in the Vichy-controlled city.

It’s a place where the booze is flowing, the women are glamorous, the conversations are roaring and the piano is always cranking out another tune courtesy of the ever-reliable Sam. And just like any respectable bar, he’s always ready to comply with requests to play whatever you want again.

9. Mos Eisley Cantina – Star Wars


Tatooine’s hottest club is the Mos Eisley Cantina. It’s got everything: a ban on droids and an in-house droid detector, jazzy music from Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes, that little blue alien who looks like an elephant, the best freighter pilots in the galaxy getting wasted (according to Obi-Wan), spacers, smugglers, wookies, disgruntled aliens, Han shooting first, and a wretched hive of scum and villainy. Care for a drink?

8. Moe’s Tavern – The Simpsons Movie

Maybe this is a cop out since Moe’s is featured predominantly on television, but haven’t you always wanted to go where nobody’s bothered to know your name? Where the Lovematic Grandpa doles out misguided and outdated lady advice? Where you might field a phone call for Hugh Jass or Seymour Butts or Amanda Hugankiss or I. P. Freely from a certain patron’s eight-year-old son on the daily since he’s figured out drunks are easy (and hilarious) targets?

Manned by the always depressing, love-starved, and yet strangely enigmatic Moe Syzslak, Moe’s is the place in Springfield to gulp down a frosty glass of Duff or a tall Flaming Moe. That would be every liquor in the bar combined with Krusty brand cough syrup, set on fire. Kind of like a Flaming Homer.

7. The Korova Milk Bar – A Clockwork Orange

Warner Bros.

Who knew that a bar that doesn’t serve alcohol could be the source of so much debauchery and delirium? The meeting spot for young Alex and his band of droogs to get an ice cold glass of milk (with drugs in it) and rest their weary feet on a table shaped like a naked lady is clearly the coolest place in London – at least when you’re a diabolical teenager.

Whether you’re plotting your latest crime with your closest friends, attempting to pick up some lasses to converse about psychedelic rock or just looking for a quick way to sharpen up your calcium levels, a stop in at Korova might get the job done. Just don’t get swept up in that world of ultra violence while you’re there.

6. The Titty Twister – From Dusk Till Dawn

Granted, the version of The Titty Twister, Mexico’s most rip-roaringest roadside strip club, depicted in From Dusk Till Dawn isn’t the most flattering version of the venue (which quite frankly isn’t the most flattering place to begin with, actually); for the most part, we see it overrun with murderous, lecherous vampires and soaked in blood. But everyone enjoys a good trip to a battered dive bar every once in awhile, right?

The Twister’s the place to be if you’re a fan of cheap beer, the company of cheaper men and getting the chance to see women who look like half naked-Salma Hayek dance onstage. Once you’ve reached that tipsy stage you probably won’t even notice the vampire warfare happening around you, anyway.

5. The Winchester – Shaun of the Dead

Universal Pictures

Everyone has their local haunt that they frequent when they feel like celebrating, or just need to unwind after work, or are having a particularly bad day. But is your dive zombie-proofed? When the world is all going to hell, and you’ve got red on you, North London’s most unassuming pub is the best place to bunker down and ride out the undead storm with some cold pints and your best friends. The Winchester, aside from its extensive, hidden firearms collection (you never know when you need reinforcements) and wide array of beers, is also home to one impressive jukebox – if you enjoy Queen, that is.

4. The Leaky Cauldron – Harry Potter

There’s much to envy about the wonderful wizarding world of Harry Potter, but the Diagon Alley watering hole where muggles and wizards are able to intermix (there’s still a chance for us!) before the latter wrap up their tab and head in to Magic SoHo is a definite stop on the tour map. Cleverly disguised as any old pub in London, the Cauldron allowed witches and wizards a spot to relax and read, have a butterbeer, make plans to take down the dark lord Voldemort…you know, normal bar stuff. It also acted as somewhat of a reverse speakeasy, with a secret entrance to Diagon Alley located in the back made accessible by tapping the bricks with your wand. Everyone loves a bar with a gimmick.

3. Basement Taverna – Inglourious Basterds

Universal Pictures

The place is crawling with Nazis in a basement in the heart of goddamn Germany, but at the music is festive, the beers never stop coming and they have amazing party games. You know the joint has to be pretty great if it’s being frequented by movie stars and her friends. And hey, not all of the Nazis are actually Nazis; they’re just pretending in order to take down the real guys and maybe get a chance to end WWII at some point.

It’s going to destroy the bar and a glasses of schnapps in the process, but before all hell breaks loose (it’s fun to picture it happening every night), wouldn’t it be grand to slap a card on your head, knock back a brew and try to guess whether or not you’re King Kong? Just don’t forget your shoe on the way out.

2. El Sleezo Cafe – The Muppet Movie

Imagine a place so unruly, so dangerous and wild and tough that even the owner gets thrown out for being out of control. Add some flustered Muppets to the mix and it’s a recipe for beautiful disaster. While it’s true that “café” traditionally has that accent mark over the e, the management at El Sleezo has no time for such frivolities, got it?

This is no bar for sissies or the faint of heart. With a menu boasting frogs legs (be careful if you’re green) and patrons that include bikers, sailors, cowboys, lumberjacks, one-eyed ner-do-wells –basically every motley individual you can think of – El Sleezo lives up to its name. Come for some music by the El Sleezo Cuties, stay if you dare.

1. Double Deuce – Road House

United Artists

You’ve got to hit the hidden gems before they become commercialized, and the Double Deuce is a prime example of this disgusting commercialization. Bought by a fancy New York City club owner, the small Missouri roadside bar is more rough and tumble than big city glamorous, but you know that them out of touch folks from the Big Apple don’t understand what a true dive bar is all about: cheap beer, good company and hot tempers.

The Double Deuce was the perfect spot to get obliterated, get in a satisfying fight with another patron, then get your ass saved by Patrick Swayze if that’s what you’re into. Who wouldn’t be?

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