20 Real Restaurants Made Famous by Movies and TV
There are countless TV restaurants we wish were real, but why dwell on the spots you'll never be able to visit when there are real-deal bars, diners and beyond where famous movies and shows were actually filmed?
Monk's Café from Seinfeld
The neon sign that you've caught of glimpse of before every diner scene in nine seasons of Seinfeld doesn't actually belong to Monk's Café. It's outside of a real place called Tom's Restaurant in Manhattan's Morningside Heights neighbourhood, and though the interior isn't where scenes were actually filmed, big fans still stop in for a quick meal and photo opp.
Double R Diner from Twin Peaks
The Double R Diner was an iconic locale in David Lynch's haunted mountain town of Twin Peaks, but in reality, the spot is Twede's Café, located in North Bend, WA. On the show, FBI special agent Cooper enjoyed more than a few slices of their famous cherry pie and washed it down with some "damn fine coffee"—both real items on the menu—and to fans' delight, the place was restored to it's campy, diner glory to serve as a shooting location for Twin Peaks: The Return.
Katz's Delicatessen from When Harry Met Sally
When Harry Met Sally can't take all the credit for this classic New York City diner's popularity. Katz's Delicatessen been open since 1888, slinging it's famous pastrami sandwiches to hungry hordes that often line up out the door, down Houston Street. For fans of the film, whispering "I'll have what she's having" while waiting to order is just an added bonus.
Mystic Pizza from Mystic Pizza
Julia Roberts may not be behind the counter, but the real Mystic Pizza in Mystic, CT still draws crowds for "a slice of heaven." Though filming didn't take place inside the shop, the location did inspire the movie's title. Thanks to the film's cult following, the parlour has since been remodelled to look just like the set.
Serendipity 3 from Serendipity
The Frrrozen Hot Chocolate at this NYC restaurant might have been partially responsible for the spark between Kate Beckinsdale and Jon Cusack in Serendipity, and it remains one of the most popular items on its menu of over-the-top desserts.
Café Lalo from You've Got Mail
We watched Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan have a heated conversation (and witnessed the first hint of a spark) in this café in the romantic comedy, You've Got Mail. The cozy dessert bar with a European vibe remains open on the Upper West Side, romantic lighting and all.
Cheers from Cheers
Originally known as the Bull & Finch Pub, this bar in Boston's Beacon Hill area inspired the iconic watering hole featured on Cheers. Though only exterior shots were filmed there, eventually the institution was renamed Cheers and became a spot where fans could pretend to belly up to the bar next to Norm and order a drink from Sam himself.
New York Bar from Lost in Translation
This lofty lounge on the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt Tokyo is where the unlikely romance between Bob Harris (Bill Murray) and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) blossoms in Lost in Translation. Live jazz and the stunning view might inspire more awe than the sense of longing portrayed in the film.
Holsten's from The Sopranos
Holsten's, an old-fashioned ice cream parlour in Bloomfield, NJ, is so much more to fans of The Sopranos. When James Gandolfini (better known as Tony Soprano) passed away in 2013, mourners stopped by to pay their respects, enjoy some homemade ice cream, and take a step back in time—something that visitors can do to this day.
The Bluebird Cafe from Nashville
The Bluebird Cafe has long been a spot where budding songwriters perform their impressive tunes in Music City. Though big names like Garth Brooks took the stage years back, the café probably reached the peak of its fame when it was featured on ABC's drama, Nashville, starring Hayden Panettiere and Connie Britton.
21 Club from Wall Street
This former Prohibition-era speakeasy still stands as one of New York City's more iconic restaurants, but its appearance in the 1987 film, Wall Street, remains one of the most memorable moments in its long history. Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) and Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) definitely helped cement steak tartare as a fixture on the 21 Club menu.
The Voltaire from Pretty Woman
The fancy Los Angeles restaurant where Vivian (Julia Roberts) accidentally flings escargot across the room is a real place—formerly Rex II Ristorante, it's now called Cicada. The art deco decor remains, and you can even request to sit at "the Pretty Woman table."
Randy's Donuts from Iron Man 2
This playful Inglewood, CA landmark had a humorous role in Iron Man 2, featuring Marvel's infamous rule-breaker, Tony Stark. The real shop served as a stopping point for the armor-clad hero to nurse his hangover with coffee and donuts. You can pay the 24-hour spot a visit, just don't try to fly through the massive donut on top.
Coyote Ugly from Coyote Ugly
Violet Sanford and her fellow scantily-clad bartenders weren't actually dancing in the East Village saloon known as Coyote Ugly. That bar, which opened in 1993 and still sticks to its sexy bartender theme, provided exterior shots for the movie, but the interior was modeled after a different rowdy joint called Hogs & Heifers, which has since closed.
Top Notch Hamburgers from Dazed and Confused
Matthew McConaughey's swaggering "Alright, alright, alright" first got screen time at this Austin, TX drive-thru in Dazed and Confused. Top Notch, which first opened in 1971, has been a local favorite for its charcoal-grilled burgers and fried chicken, and now even more so for that funny cameo.
Kansas City Barbeque from Top Gun
The raucous rendition of "Great Balls of Fire" shown in Top Gun took place in this beer and barbecue joint in San Diego, CA. The establishment closed its doors for a day to film the beloved scene, starring Goose and Maverick (Tom Cruise), and it now boasts plenty of Top Gun swag amidst the red and white checkered tablecloths and jukebox.
Johnie's Coffee Shop from The Big Lebowski
Since the 60s, Johnie's Coffee Shop has been a Los Angeles mainstay, recognizable for it's striped roof and red neon lights. Now the place is a historical landmark that often sits empty, but it's appeared in several film, including American History X, Reservoir Dogs and, perhaps most entertaining, The Big Lebowski, when Walter goes off on The Dude about our "basic freedoms" while having coffee at the counter. For now, it serves as a great retro photo opp, but it doesn't seem that this shop has seen its final days.
John's of Bleecker Street from Manhattan
It's no surprise that a classic New York pizzeria like John's would serve as a setting in Woody Allen's Manhattan. The pizza parlor is where Allen's character encourages his young girlfriend to go to university in London, and though John's had already made a name for itself, the film makes it that much more of a NYC landmark.
Smith & Wollensky from American Psycho
It sure wasn't Dorsia, but Patrick Bateman and Craig McDermott settled for this upscale steakhouse as a meeting spot in American Psycho. McDermott berates Bateman for not ordering the hash browns, but you can try them for yourself—the Third Ave address still exists in New York City, plus locations have since popped up in Chicago and Vegas.
The 101 Coffee Shop from Swingers
Rumor has it that Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn frequented the diner while writing the screenplay for Swingers, before eventually making it a filming location for several scenes. It was originally called Hollywood Hills Coffee Shop, but was later renamed The 101 Coffee Shop and still serves breakfast specials like silver dollar pancakes and catfish & eggs in its retro booths.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.