Throughout cinema, bars and watering holes seem to be a great place for characters to gather, talk, chill, and flirt. The best bars in movies tend to stick with the viewer long after seeing them. They make people say "Damn, I wish that place was real!"
Of course, in many cases, some movie bars have gone as far as to influence the way we view pubs in real life. Everyone wishes they had "that bar" they could hang out at, only to find the local pub is a sports bar where people from high school you never wanted to see again drown their sorrows about their failed, wasted lives...
Better story. Let's just move onto the best bars in movies before you actually need to drown your depression in ale.
The Winchester - Shaun of the Dead
"Go to the Winchester, have a pint, and wait for all of this to blow over."
Oh God, this place... sure, it's attacked and essentially destroyed by zombies in the end. Sure, part of the plot is about Shaun's girlfriend breaking up with him because he keeps going there. But this place is THE modern English pub. It is the pubbiest pub to ever pub.
What makes this one of the best bars in movies really is something more than just the fact that zombies break in and get taken out to a fight scene synched with Queen. It's that sense of familiarity. The Winchester is ol' reliable. When all else fails, go there.
I mean, you only have to shoot your zombified mum in the head and watch all your friends die. I'm sure Shaun hung out there all the time after that, right?
The Green Dragon Inn/The Prancing Pony - Lord of the Rings
I really can't chose one here. Both of these movie bars are terrific. They really capture the pub environment that Tolkein no doubt experienced when he would throw back cold beers with his fellow Oxford professor and fantasy writer, C.S. Lewis.
The Green Dragon Inn is that pub the hobbits frequent. As hobbits value good drink and food, you can tell this place has got to be a pretty snazzy place if these hungry foodies keep coming here. I mean, just looking at this place, you can almost feel the warmth of the ovens.
As for the Prancing Pony, Aragorn drinks here. And, as we learn later in The Hobbit, Thorin Oakenshield and Gandalf also make this bar a frequent haunting ground. So many cool guys, chilling out here... how could you not want to come here?
Rick's Cafe Americain - Casablanca
You haven't seen Casablanca? Man, you better get on that. This is one of the greatest movies ever made. And of all gin joints in all the world, you'd want to end up in this place.
Sure, fascists are running Casablanca at the moment, but Rick's is the pinnacle of class and sophistication. Dapper gentlemen court gorgeous women while Sam sits at the piano playing all the piano songs you'd expect at an upscale, old-movie pub.
Only downside is, you know, all them Nazis.
The Ink and Paint Club - Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Honestly, this is the craziest movie bar I have ever seen. Sure, a world where living cartoon characters and people is sure to have a few crazy establishments, but this place, heavily inspired by places like Rick's Cafe from Casablanca, is noteworthy for the animated cast of characters who frequent it.
Wanna see Daffy and Donald Duck go head-to-head in a mad-piano playing competition? Want to see Jessica Rabbit sing with them hips for days? You ever want to chill with Goofy and listen to him talk about his parenting woes? Well, okay, that last part isn't in the movie, but it damn near should be!
The only problem is if an anvil falls on your head, crushing you in an instant. But, again, small price to pay to chill in one of the best bars in movies ever.
The Slaughtered Lamb - An American Werewolf in London
This classic horror/comedy is well-regarded among horror hounds. Classic lycanthropic transformations. Brilliant comedy. And, of course, the ultimate English country pub.
The rustic feel here is so potent that you can almost smell the spilled ale on the walls and the smell of unhealthy, delicious food from the kitchens. In a movie that features a werewolf clawing people open, there is a strong sense of community in this place. It's the kind of place you would want to go to, except for, of course, the werewolf hunts.
Hell, that's part of the charm! Throw a gang of friends together, get some guns loaded with silver bullets, and go kill that werewolf –
Oh, right. You don't even need silver bullets to kill these werewolves. Even easier. You can spend the cash you'd shell out for silver bullets on more fish and chips at the Slaughtered Lamb!
The Bamboo Lounge - Goodfellas
Goodfellas has a lot of great restaurants and hang-out places. Hell, some of the scenes of people preparing tomato sauce is so delicious that you just need to have it. But the Bamboo Lounge is probably one of the few straight-up bars in the whole movie, and damn... this is one classy place.
Sure, you may express doubt that a place filled with mobsters with loaded pistols is a place you would want to hang out. And, yes, there is a serious element of danger that you might get an angry Joe Pesci after you, but isn't that part of the thriving night life? The risks? The joys? The triumphs? All that good stuff?
No? Well... I guarantee you that the mafia is a lot friendlier to patrons than werewolves or Nazis.
Now, this lounge did kinda exist. The film shot this at the famous Brooklyn Bar Hawaii Kai, which closed down shortly before Goodfellas was released into theaters. Sort of a last hurrah, but I'd be damned if it wasn't awesome.
The Titty Twister - From Dusk Till Dawn
This bar is great if you're also an accursed member of the undead. Sure, the bar's customers may really be on the menu, and the place may also be attached to ancient temples worshipping the damned, and, yes, Selma Haick's exotic dance routine may be a distraction before you get your throat drained by a vampire... but isn't that part of the fun?
This place features the ultimate bar fight. Vampires. Stakes. Bats. Sunlight. Bands playing meat horns. Selma Hayek. Tom Savini's weird penis pistol thing. Everyone killing Quentin Tarantino. (Okay, that last one is less good. The guy makes incredible, self-indulgent movies.)
And that name. Of all the bars on this list, that has the greatest name. And the one that's so much fun to say. The Titty Twister. God, it's such a great, insane name.
The Korova Milk Bar - A Clockwork Orange
Ever drink milk laced with drugs? Well, at the Korova Milk Bar, that's what you get. Apparently, minors can come in for a pint if the drinks are nonalcoholic... even if they do have drugs in them that are probably far more harmful to the body than mere alcohol.
The Korova Milk Bar may have an underwhelming drink selection, but it more than makes up for it by being freaking weird. And not just a little weird, but... mannequins. Mannequins that spew out milk from their nipples. And lady mannequins that become tables! What in God's name is even going on in this place?
Well, the movie and book are two very weird pieces of literature, but one thing you can't deny is that it's unforgettable. It's so unforgettable that real life versions of the milk bar have sprung up in real life. Though, sadly, all the ones I looked up are, as of the time of writing this, closed.
Mos Eisley Cantina - Star Wars
C'mon, this is a shoe-in here. Chances are, this is the first bar you ever saw on film. Where else will you find a bar featuring aliens playing Jizz (yes, that's the canon name for that jazzy style they play, and, yes, I also think that George Lucas is out of touch with reality)? Where else will Jedi's unleashing lightsabers to chop off people's arms get a mild shrug? Where else can you drink with Chewbacca, Han Solo, and Boba Fett?
Mos Eisely is a hive of scum and villainy, but aren't the best bars in movies that? It seems like you can't have a great bar on film without a little madness throughout.
Also, I just have to say that the Mos Eisley Cantina was one of the few good things about the Star Wars Holiday Special. One of the only good things. I'm sorry. It had to be said.