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10 Television Hangouts I'd Love To Visit

I grew up in what I considered to be a small town.  Or, at least it seemed like it to me back then.  I felt like I knew everyone, and most everyone knew me and my family, who had been residents in town for decades.  

In all honesty, it was more likely that I lived in a bubble like all kids do.  The world revolves around us at that age.  I will admit, however, the area has since been built up, and the number of houses has nearly doubled, but my world was admittedly much smaller than I thought back then.  

I played sports throughout my time in school and had friends in all different groups and cliques.  We never all hung out together, and it was rare that the groups would ever cross.  The lunchroom was pretty segregated by "social status" in those days.  It probably still is.  

Even outside of school, there were very few places where any particular group would cross paths with another.  Besides "the mall," where all we did was walk around to kill time, there was never really a place where everyone gathered.  We never had a place where we could say "meet you later, at..." or "see you tonight, at..."  

That's where television comes in.  

Classic sitcoms, the comfort food of television, always had great places for everyone to hang out.  All different groups of people would meet and mingle at these hotspots.  Of course, the show's main characters would become regulars who befriended the owners and staff and were often given special treatment.  Since I never had one of these places to hang out in, I was always envious of the local watering holes that television characters would drop in to hang with friends. 

With that thought in mind, I figured it would be fun to look back at ten of everyone's favorite television hangouts (in no particular order) from YesterYear!

1.  The Rusty Anchor - The Golden Girls

The Rusty Anchor is a somewhat upscale bar in Miami frequented by Blanche throughout the run of The Golden Girls.  It appears just as you would think a bar in the late 80s would, complete with lots of heavy woods, fern plants, and brass railings.  

The Anchor was mentioned several times throughout the series, but it was only ever seen during a Season 7 episode titled "Journey to the Center of Attention."  Rue McClanahan (Blanche) was noted as having called that episode one of her top favorites over the years.  Many fans include the episode on their favorites list, too.    

In "Journey to the Center of Attention," Dorothy plans a quiet night at home but is convinced by Blanche to tag along to her favorite bar, The Rusty Anchor.  There, Dorothy upstages her friend and quickly becomes the center of attention of the barflies that normally swarm around Blanche.

2 - Nemo's Pizza - Everybody Loves Raymond

Nemo's Pizza was the favorite dining option and hangout for the Barone family and the rest of the characters on Everybody Loves Raymond.  The Long Island pizza joint was featured many times during the series' nine-season run.  Ray and his friends would often retreat there for a bite out or just an escape from his meddling parents.  

The pizza parlor itself became central to several storylines on the show.  Nemo, the namesake owner, sponsored several of Ray's adult league sports teams.  In another episode, Ray's brother Robert, an off-duty policeman, would foil an armed robbery as Ray looked on in terror.  Late in the season's run, the father of Robert's ex-girlfriend Stefania would purchase Nemo's and rename it after himself, Marco's, leading to several funny jokes about Nemo "disappearing."   

When it wasn't the focus of an episode, it became the backdrop for double-dates, family dinners, or after-work gatherings with Ray and his friends.  Nemo's poor hygiene and the restaurant's poor health department score became a running gag on the show between Ray and the staff.

You can visit the real-life restaurant, Trio Ristorante Pizza and Grill, used for the exterior shot in Brooklyn, New York, 

3 - The Max - Saved by the Bell

The Max was THE hangout for all students of Bayside High.  Owned by an amateur magician named Max, the burger joint was the place to be for Zack and the gang after school and occasionally during lunch period.  It was never explicitly explained during the show, but it was alluded to that The Max was across the street or just down the block from the high school.  

The gang would meet there at least once per episode to eat meals or hatch their latest schemes.  Kelly would eventually work there as a waitress for a short period, during the infamous storyline where she would go on to dump Zack for the much older manager of the restaurant, Jeff.  

Besides just being a hangout, The Max served as an "unofficial" catch-all for everything Bayside.  Parties, fundraising contests, pep rallies, and even a dance contest held by legendary radio DJ Casey Kasem would be held there.     

4 - Monk's Cafe- Seinfeld

Other than Jerry's apartment, Monk's was often where the cast of Seinfeld could be found together.  Either solving the world's problems, hatching revenge schemes or just making inane banter (salsa or seltzer?) Monk's was the place to be.

Monk's became so popular with the audience that the cast of background characters in the diner became part of the show themselves.  Ruthie Cohen appeared as the unnamed stoic straight-faced cashier in Monk's in 101 of the show's 180 episodes, and the character was eventually named Ruthie after her.

Monk's main competition was Reggie's, the bizarro coffee shop featured in the episode titled "The Bizarro Jerry."  Jerry and Elaine dislike Reggie's for its failure to serve an egg-white omelet or "the big salad" like Monk's Cafe does.

In the pilot episode of Seinfeld, Monk's was called "Pete's" which featured a waitress named Claire.  Claire was initially intended to serve as a series regular and foil to Jerry and George, but was written out of the show by the time it went to full production.  While the interiors were shot on a soundstage in Hollywood, the exterior shot still exists today as "Tom's Diner" on West 112th and Broadway, in New York City.  

5 - Regal Beagle - Three's Company 

Set in Santa Monica, California, The Regal Beagle was the neighborhood meeting place for the three roommates, their landlords, The Ropers, and later on Mr. Furley.  It was never precisely explained where, but we can assume it was located very close to Jack and the girls' apartment building.  Sporting a casual, relaxed 70s vibe, it set the perfect place to unwind at the end of the day.  The thick red drapes and tablecloths with the dark heavy wood furniture gave the Beagle a near-nautical theme, making sense as it was located on or near the beach in Santa Monica.

The Regal Beagle was featured more heavily in the early seasons of the show.  The cast of characters on Three's Company would often meet there to have a cocktail or try to pick up dates at the bar, leading to humorous situations.

The Regal Beagle provided what seemed like a relaxed, boozy atmosphere that struck a chord with audiences.  So much so, that its logo has some of the series' most extensive collections of non-licensed merchandise products available online.  

6 - Smash Club - Full House 

While many casual viewers of Full House may think The Smash Club was just invented by the writers to fill content for a handful of episodes late in the series, long-time fans know that the nightclub is a plot point going back to the very first episode!  In the premiere episode, Jesse mentions to Danny that his band had a gig at "The Smash Club" before riding his motorcycle to Reno where he met a showgirl named Vanessa.  

Later in the series, one day, Jesse sees how bored D.J., Steve, and Kimmy are hanging around the house and comes up with the idea to reopen The Smash Club as a kid-friendly, alcohol-free, all-ages venue.  Jesse is only able to get approved for the loan thanks to a loan officer who was once a dancer at the old Smash Club named Ginger Snap.  Once approved, Jesse then faces the uphill battle of renovating and bringing it back up to code while running a modern restaurant. 

DJ and Kimmy eventually get jobs as waitresses at The Smash Club, where they were witness to many Tanner family events, celebrity encounters, and silly plot lines.  Even entertainer Little Richard once made a surprise appearance at The Smash Club during a children's talent competition.  Jesse would use The Smash Club to play the hit fan-favorite wedding song "Forever" with his band, The Rippers.  

Sometime after the show ended, the fictional Smash Club closed.  During the Netflix sequel show "Fuller House," to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Jesse and Joey moving in to help Danny raise his three daughters, the gang all returned to the site of The Smash Club to celebrate.  It had since been converted into a laundromat.  

7 - The Peach Pit - Beverly Hills 90210

The Peach Pit was the favorite place to gather with the Beverly Hills 90210 crew.  Straight out of the 1950s, the retro burger joint became a second home to Brandon (Jason Priestly), who got a part-time job there as a waiter.  When Brandon's friends and family start coming by to visit during his shifts, the "Pit" eventually became the hangout hotspot amongst the show's main cast.  

Later in the show, when the owner, Nat, has a heart attack, Brandon takes over the Pit to keep it afloat.  When Nat's cousin Joey, who owns half the business, wanted to close it down, Dylan (Luke Perry) steps up and offers to buy out Joey's half to keep The Peach Pit open.  

In 1994, Peach Pit After Dark was opened when Steve (Ian Ziering) convinced Nat to open a nightclub extension to the fictional retro-themed diner.  

8  - Arnold's  - Happy Days

Hands down, when I think of a teen hangout that I wish was real, it's often Arnold's from Happy Days.  Arnold (Pat Morita) initially owned the fictional burger joint until his character got married and moved away at the end of Season Three.  The restaurant was then taken over by the loveable Al Delvecchio (Al Molinaro), and it became even more popular with the teenagers of Milwaukee.

The restaurant hosted local teenagers and families alike with in-car service by carhop, walkup window, or indoor dining.  The indoor seating area was replete with tables and booths, a pinball machine, a jukebox, a dancefloor, and even a small stage for live music.  

Early in the series, most of the scenes at Arnold's were external, but over time, nearly all scenes switched indoors with only an establishing still image of the restaurant.  The restrooms were marked "Guys" or "Dolls," and Fonzie (Henry Winkler) often used the "Guys" room as his office.  In his office, he held court with Richie and his friends, often helping them work through problems. 

9  - Chubbie's Famous - Boy Meets World 

Chubbie's is one of the more unique hole-in-the-wall hangouts on television.  Located in the basement of a building, guests would enter and exit the restaurant through a set of steep stairs.  Chubbie's featured a back room with a pool table, dartboard, and pinball machines, and was often the setting used for private moments or conversations between Corey and friends.  The kids of John Adams High School would order food in secret code and interact with Chubbie's staff with playful banter.

As the show went on, the actors portraying Chubbie changed with each appearance and so did the lingo used by Corey and his friends to order their meal.  Chubbie would become friendlier as the show aged and began giving the customers pet names like Curley or Foxy.  The gang spends a considerable amount of time inside the restaurant during the first couple of seasons, as they met up with friends, held parties, or go on dates.  

When Season 5 came to a close, Chubbie moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and the restaurant wass converted into a pirate-themed restaurant named Peg-Leg Pete's.  When Boy Meets World returned for Season 6, the gang entered college and began hanging out at the student union, which was nowhere near as exciting. 

In the Disney Channel sequel "Girl Meets World," Corey and Topanga visit a restaurant in Texas called "Chubbie's" in a nod to the original hangout.  

10 - Cheers - Cheers  

Last but not least, is the show about the hangout itself... Cheers!  The place where everybody knows your name was more than just a bar.  It was practically home for the cast of characters on this legendary sitcom.  Sam, Norm, Cliff, and the rest of the group shared countless laughs with us over 11 seasons at the Boston-based hangout.

The bar was based on a real location, the Bull & Finch Pub in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston.  The exterior shots used on the show feature the Bull & Finch with Cheers branding.  Most of the show, however, was filmed on a sound stage in Hollywood.  

Today, the "Cheers" brand is still going strong as a major tourist attraction.