Infamous bars from fantasy
April 14, 2014 8:11 AM   Subscribe

Korova. Chalmun's. Venusville. Strangefellows. What other terrible bars exist in fiction, fantasy and literature?
posted by Jacen to Grab Bag (50 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
The Broken Drum. (Or, as it became, The Mended Drum.)
posted by holgate at 8:17 AM on April 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Mos Eisley Cantina
posted by H. Roark at 8:19 AM on April 14, 2014 [5 favorites]

"Night of Joy", a bar/stripclub from A Confederacy of Dunces
posted by alligatorman at 8:22 AM on April 14, 2014

Maybe not terrible: The White Hart.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:22 AM on April 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

posted by mareli at 8:24 AM on April 14, 2014 [7 favorites]

The Vulgar Unicorn
posted by The otter lady at 8:25 AM on April 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

The Chatusbo and the Gentleman Loser in Neuromancer
posted by griphus at 8:26 AM on April 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Bob's Country Bunker
posted by Ideefixe at 8:27 AM on April 14, 2014 [4 favorites]

Cheer's, which may be terrible or not, depending on your tolerance for sitcoms.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:32 AM on April 14, 2014

Although Callahan's Crosstime Saloon is the lair of surely some of the most depraved sorts of individuals (punsters), I would hesitate to call it "terrible."
posted by Doofus Magoo at 8:36 AM on April 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Spyglass Tavern
posted by Thorzdad at 8:37 AM on April 14, 2014

The Prancing Pony
posted by XMLicious at 8:37 AM on April 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Rick's! Everybody comes to Rick's.

See also:
List of fictional bars (Wikipedia)
posted by Wretch729 at 8:38 AM on April 14, 2014 [3 favorites]

The Scope from The Crying of Lot 49
The Kismet Lounge from Inherent Vice
posted by rabbitsnake at 8:38 AM on April 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Pig and Whistle
posted by XMLicious at 8:41 AM on April 14, 2014

(I guess its terribleness is debatable but between the depressed owner, the random crime, and the rigged gambling, I don't think I'd want to be in Rick's unless I was fleeing a war and had no other choice)
posted by Wretch729 at 8:42 AM on April 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

What about the Hog's Head?
posted by schroedingersgirl at 8:43 AM on April 14, 2014

TV Tropes:

Den of Iniquity
Bad Guy Bar
Good Guy Bar
Local Hangout
posted by zamboni at 8:43 AM on April 14, 2014

Cowboy Fengs Space Bar and Grill!
posted by bartonlong at 8:56 AM on April 14, 2014 [3 favorites]

The Horse and Groom was the pub in which Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect thumbed a ride on the Vogon demolition vessel which had stopped by Earth in order to blow it to pieces in an act of aggressive civil engineering. Its beer, peanuts, and terrible cheese sandwiches all ultimately contributed to the preservation of thousands of lives, only one of them human.
posted by Sunburnt at 9:09 AM on April 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

All urban fantasy stories in which the forces of good and evil covertly coexist on the mean streets of a modern city are required by law to have a bar somewhere which is completely neutral ground 100% of the time, excepting our protagonists, who are themselves invariably outsiders.

Constantine has Papa Midnite's Club; Lost Girl has The Dal Riata, The Dresden Files has McAnally's Pub.

Even the supernaturally gifted are subject to the laws of supply and demand when it comes to neutral territory, and these bars do not have competition, so it's necessarily the case that these will ultimately be bad bars, even if they are often wildly fun past the point of decadence, at least at first glance. (Bar fights involving superpowers are inevitable.)
posted by Sunburnt at 9:18 AM on April 14, 2014

The Snuggly Duckling from Tangled.
posted by murphy slaw at 9:29 AM on April 14, 2014

Another William Gibson one, from Idoru - The Western World (the man loves his steely dan references)

Neal Stephenson - Cryptonomicon/Baroque cycle - The Bomb and Grapnel
posted by logicpunk at 9:56 AM on April 14, 2014

The Draco Tavern
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:59 AM on April 14, 2014

"Hormone Derange" from Ransom.
posted by adamrice at 10:00 AM on April 14, 2014

K'ruls Bar in Darujistan and Smiley's in Malaz City from the Malazan series.
posted by OuttaHere at 10:13 AM on April 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Inn of the Last Home from the Dragonlance books.
posted by namewithoutwords at 10:17 AM on April 14, 2014 [3 favorites]

"Maccadam's Oil House" is a famous bar on Cybertron in the IDW Transformers continuity (which is a great pair of comics by the way : TF : More than Meets the Eye and TF : Robots in Disguise). Swerve's bar onboard The Lost Light, from TF:MTMTE, doesn't have a name as far as I know.
posted by Slothrop at 10:18 AM on April 14, 2014

Inn at the Crossroads
Pelippa's Bowl
posted by JimBJ9 at 10:53 AM on April 14, 2014

Incidentally, there used to be a bar in the East Village called Korova that was patterned after the one in the movie. They aped the whole "milk bar" idea by serving drinks with alcohol and ice cream—sort of like alcoholic milkshakes. When I was 21 years old, I thought this was the coolest place ever. It eventually closed and re-opened in White Plains, though that location has apparently since closed, too (though their website is still up).
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 12:21 PM on April 14, 2014

One Eyed Jacks
posted by Abinadab at 12:31 PM on April 14, 2014

Don't forget Gavagan's Bar!
posted by MyFrozenYear at 12:57 PM on April 14, 2014

L'Assomoir, Zola.
posted by mr. digits at 1:11 PM on April 14, 2014

Both Grogan's and The Red Swan Hotel in At Swim Two Birds. They are both filled to the brim with self-important over-loquacious drunken wastrels. Anyone who comes across this book though should try to read it immediately.

I'm sure there are named taverns in Ankh-Morpok that would qualify but I caant remember their names.
posted by glasseyes at 1:35 PM on April 14, 2014

The World's End Inn
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:22 PM on April 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Onion Cellar from The Tin Drum, by Gunter Grass.

Also every pub, inn, bar and brother in Westeros.
posted by mibo at 2:33 PM on April 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Dave's Fish & Strips, the nightclub/strip joint in InCryptid, has a fucking pig (who also is a boogeyman) for an owner and a bit of a reputation, but a lot of that's because it's where all of the books' mythological creatures go to hang out.

The River Styx in Veronica Mars is where a lot of the bad guys hang out.

Kushiel's Dart has an inversion of this with The Cockerel, which is in the "bad" part of town and is regularly visited by noblemen trying to test their valor, but it actually has a really friendly proprietor who's a recurring character in the books.

Basically every bar in Riverside (Swordspoint, The Privilege of the Sword) is like this-- Riverside is less "the bad part of town" and more "the bad... uh... town"; all the nobility has fled it and it's basically taken over my people of "low character". They are, of course, generally far more interesting than the ones in the "good part of town". But people do tend to be a bit threatening there.

Also, like the aforementioned urban fantasy neutral ground territory, every roleplaying game-- pen and paper or computer-- is required to have a bar, often one at which adventurers are recruited. These range from nice taverns and inns run by friendly NPCs to seedy pirate hangouts to alien strip clubs and are always required to have at least one (but generally many) dark corners to be filled in by the player or pre-filled with shady Strider-looking types with hoods. You can always identify these bars in games in which you shoot people because they have lots of cover available.

The ones I can think of for that include Omega's Afterlife in Mass Effect 2, the teahouse in Tien's Landing in Jade Empire (which has been basically stolen from its nice owner and is being turned into a terrible bar, you have the option of helping get it back as a sidequest) and every place you can find the Thieves' Guild and Camonna Tong (two of the many factions that act as organized crime syndicates) in Morrowind (so about a third of the bars/taverns in the game). Also, I'm pretty sure most Star Wars game (from KOTOR to pen and paper premade games) has its knock-off of the Cantina.
posted by NoraReed at 4:13 PM on April 14, 2014

The Eolian from the absolutely stunning Kingkiller Chronicles
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 4:19 PM on April 14, 2014

I think that Fiddler's Green is a bar in some tellings.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:08 PM on April 14, 2014

Depending on how far you want to stretch the "fiction" appellation, The Red Dragon Inn courtesy of IRC and AOL back in ye olde roleplaying days.
posted by Diagonalize at 5:10 PM on April 14, 2014

Uncle Mike's from the Mercy Thompson urban fantasy series; the Wandering Woman in Ebou Dar from the Wheel of Time series and Piscary's was a vampire den and pizzeria from the Hollows Series.
posted by jadepearl at 5:37 PM on April 14, 2014

The Pink Pussycat Club
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 6:06 PM on April 14, 2014

80's comic antihero Grimjack frequented Munden's Bar in Cynosure.

Asteroid Al's was the New Hong Kong watering hole for Phil Foglio's Buck Godot.
posted by JDC8 at 6:57 PM on April 14, 2014

It's not a particular establishment but Bill the Galactic Hero on the Planet of Ten Thousand Bars takes place on a resort planet famous for its bars.
posted by XMLicious at 7:26 PM on April 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Bronze, what with fumigation parties and regularly getting torn up by demons. (Okay, technically a club and not a bar, but still.)
posted by sigmagalator at 9:30 PM on April 14, 2014

Josie's Bar.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 4:01 AM on April 15, 2014

The Dying Child in Perdido Street Station.
posted by kev23f at 5:45 AM on April 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Boar's Head in Eastcheap is where Falstaff, Pistol and their wastrel friends spend time in Shakespeare's Henry IV plays. Given that Falstaff and co. are thieves and that there's also at least one prostitute on offer, it's probably a fairly disreputable place. Ditto the Garter Inn in Windsor, where the same crew hang out in The Merry Wives of Windsor: less prostitution, but definite cheap sack.

(The Boar's Head was a real place, burnt down in the Great Fire of London, rebuilt and finally demolished in the 1800s. No clue if the Garter was real.)

Auerbachs Keller in Leipzig still exists. Goethe wrote some of his Faust there, and it is (naturally) the first place Mephistopheles takes Faust for a drink after his soul is sold. Marlowe's Doctor Faustus includes several scenes at a fairly rowdy tavern too, but that place is sadly unnamed. (Marlowe's Faustus hails from Wittenberg University, whereas Goethe's Faust studies at Leipzig.)
posted by Pallas Athena at 6:40 PM on April 15, 2014

The Fortress is a London bar for off-duty supers. The sign on the door reads:
No Masks
No Powers
No Heroics
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:01 PM on April 15, 2014

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