Have you ever been watching a TV show and wished that you could just transport yourself into their world? Have a cup of coffee at Central Perk or a drink at Cheers? Maybe you just love the show so much that you want to surround yourself with it at all times. Luckily, you aren’t the only one.
In fact, there are all kinds of bars and restaurants created for TV fans – themed around the show in general, or lifted directly from the set to the real world. Settle into these destination dining experiences, and you can pretend that you are living in the same world as your favorite characters, or just enjoy the nerdy thrill of a fun theme. Some of these are pop-ups that had a short lifespan, and others would involve some serious travel, but all of them are small-screen-themed.
Here are the 12 Best TV-Themed Restaurants.
12. Sullivan’s Restaurant and Broadcast Lounge (New York)
No longer in existence, Sullivan’s had a brief moment in the sun of the ‘90s, when the bar and restaurant underneath the Ed Sullivan Theater was the perfect homage to Gleason and Sullivan. Previously Cordial Bar, it was where the two hosts would come to drink and decide whether they wanted steak or Chinese food for dinner.
As a nod to this, the restaurant had two menus, one steak-themed and one featuring Cantonese food. The décor was pure ‘50s greatness, with a bandstand for weekend live music and photos from The Ed Sullivan Show on the walls. A perfect restaurant for New York City, it’s a shame that this one closed down after less than two years on the scene.
11. Salta Burger (Palestine)
In 2014, Palestinian burger company Salta Burger made headlines with the announcement that they were building a replica of Krusty Krab’s – the fast food joint from Spongebob Squarepants. The restaurant is an exact copy of the cartoon burger joint, inside and out. From the flags on the roof to the colorful tables and boat cashier desk, it’s your only chance to feel like you are visiting Bikini Bottom.
The restaurant serves mostly seafood, but features a Krabby Patty as well. Most of the restaurant photos are from construction a couple of years ago, so this cartoon-lovers paradise may not have made it (Facebook posts do show it open last year, however). Still, it was a fantastic concept for anyone wanting to live the SpongeBob dream.
10. All Men Must Dine (London)
This pop-up only existed for a brief time last year, but the Game of Thrones dining experience was incredible. A recreation (of sorts) of the banquet hall at King’s Landing, the immersive restaurant has diners becoming Lords and Ladies of Westeros for an opulent meal. The guests were chosen through a competition – the winners had the best answers to the question “who is your favorite GoT character, and what would you cook to win their heart?”
Treated to medieval entertainment while they ate, the menu featured items such as spiced pigeon, fruit and almond pie and poached veal tongue. We can only hope that HBO comes up with another banquet like this in the future!
9. SDCC Pop Ups (San Diego)
Every year, geeks flock to California for San Diego Comic Con, and the entertainment spills out of the convention center into the streets, bars, and restaurants nearby. There are always TV-themed events going on – immersive dining at pop-up restaurants, themed cocktail nights, even the restaurants without specific events introduce comic, movie or tv-themed specials to the menu.
AT SDCC 2015, these included Carry On My Wayward Cocktails (Supernatural themed night with plenty of beer and pie), SherlockDCC (Sherlock themed drinks party), and a Blindspot-themed restaurant (The Tin Fish, which was revamped for The Blacklist the year before). With SDCC 2016 approaching quickly, TV fans will no doubt have a whole new range of pop-ups and parties to attend.
8. The Black Lodge (Vancouver)
Twin Peaks may have been short-lived, but it has a dedicated cult following, and if you find yourself in Vancouver, you can find other fans at The Black Lodge. The cabin-themed restaurant features tables made from cross-sections of tree trunks, a mountain mural, a photo of Laura Palmer above the bar, a Red Room bathroom and a wanted poster for BOB. Serving vegetarian comfort food, many of the menu items and drinks are named to make Twin Peaks fans smile, and there are plenty of smaller details for hardcore fans to geek out over.
No word yet on whether or not the lodge will be hosting viewing parties for the upcoming revival series.
7. Cheers/Bull & Finch Pub (Boston)
When the producers of the show Cheers were still tossing ideas around, they went out to try and find a location that would convey the ideal American bar, and found the Bull & Finch in Beacon Hill, Boston. As well as serving as the inspiration for the show, exterior shots of the Cheers bar feature the Bull & Finch.
The pub has since been re-named Cheers Boston, with a second bar (Replica Cheers) that opened in 2001. The Replica Cheers has a replica of the Cheers set for the main bar (as well as a patio upstairs). Fans can look at Cheers memorabilia here while you enjoy a beer, including Sam’s Red Sox jacket, Cliffie’s mailman suit, and Lilith’s Eco-podi uniform.
6. George’s Bar (Melbourne)
Based on a love for the neurotic George Costanza, George’s opened in Melbourne this year, and is already a huge hit with Seinfeld fans. Described as more of an homage than a theme, it’s first and foremost a great place to drink. However, there are touches of Costanza everywhere, from the pretzels on the bar to the signed photos on the wall.
Quotes from the man himself appear everywhere, along with a few menu items with punny names (Draped in Velvet, The Hand Model). Of course, there is one particular element that isn’t particularly understated – an enormous mural of George Costanza in his undies on the wall outside!
5. McGee’s Pub (New York)
McGee’s is a friendly Irish Pub in Hell’s Kitchen, and the inspiration for the hit show How I Met Your Mother. Fans of the comedy series will recognize McGee’s as MacLaren’s, the bar below Ted and Marshall’s apartment where they spent an inordinate amount of time.
As it turns out, the creators of the show used to drink at McGee’s while they were working as writers on The Late Show with David Letterman, and decided to use it for their new series. The booths, the mural, the atmosphere – all lifted from McGee’s. The bar now enjoys enormous popularity among fans of the show, and has introduced HIMYM-themed food and drinks, as well as putting up memorabilia from the show and showing it on the big-screen on Mondays.
4. ABQ (Shoreditch)
What started as a pop-up became a regular fixture in London, where patrons can cook up Breaking Bad-themed cocktails in an RV (with a lawn and benches outside to continue the fun). Fans bring their own booze (vodka, whiskey, rum or gin) and buy a ticket for time inside the RV where various tablets and chemical concoctions are added (like a pink tablet, nitrous oxide, or calcium lactate) to build the cocktail.
3. The Pandorica (New York)
The Pandorica, in Beacon, New York, is a restaurant where every detail is related to the famed BBC series, Doctor Who. From the art on the walls to the TARDIS vases on the tables, to the Dalek on the wall, everything is a nod (subtle or otherwise) to everyone’s favorite time lord.
The menu is also Whovian, with Who-mmus and pita points, K-9 corndogs, Solarian nests, and two types of fish fingers and custard. One is a dessert, with battered French toast acting as the fish. Appetizers are ‘spoilers,’ desserts are ‘sweeties,’ and Doctor Who is always playing on the TV. It’s an adorably whimsical way for Whovians to dine.
2. Central Perk/Friends Cafe (Liverpool/Beijing)
The only coffee shop in New York City where there was always a free seat on the big sofas, Central Perk was made famous by the ultimate ’90s sitcom: Friends. While there is no real Central Perk in the Village, there are now two replicas – one in Bejing and one in Liverpool.
In Bejing, the coffee shop is officially called “Friends Café,” although it still bears the Central Perk logo on the window. The décor mimics the show set, the TV is always playing Friends, the staff take on the names of the characters (as do the cupcakes!), and there is a real life smelly cat to snuggle. There’s even an exact replica of Joey and Chandler’s apartment next door. The Liverpool version had brief success as a chain, with three Perk-themed cafes featuring replica furniture and coffee machines, but closed down this year, to the sorrow of British Friends fans.
1. Walter’s Coffee Roastery (Istanbul)
This incredible Breaking Bad-themed café in Istanbul has everything for fans of coffee and chemistry. Every detail has been considered, and this quirky café will really make you feel like you are getting your caffeine from a (very clean and safe) meth lab.
The baristas wear yellow jumpsuits, there is a periodic table stretched across one wall, and the décor is otherwise very clean and clinical. Coffee, milk, and espresso is served in beakers (or to-go mugs with a warning label) and there’s even a Bunsen-style percolator. In a final nod to the show, the café sells blue rock candy in plastic bags (as well as the usual café fare).
Did we miss any of your favorite tv-themed restaurants or bars? Let us know in the comments!