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This sequence of restaurants, cafes and bars have become famous for serving as the backdrop for memorable pieces of film history. And, while most are created for their respective productions, many exist in the real world in some form, and can be visited. We present 10 cafes, bars or restaurants IRL that redefined audiovisual culture.
Holsten’s – Los Soprano
The ending of The Sopranos resides in the collective memory as one of the most shocking in the history of cinema. It is a scene in which Tony Soprano meets his family in a restaurant for dinner, which caused many effects, and among them one perhaps unintentional: Holsten’s, the New York restaurant where the scene was filmed became a place of worship for fans of the series.
Café Twede’s – Twin Peaks
Cherry pie and coffee were served daily at the Double R Diner in David Lynch and Mark Frost‘s masterpiece. The diner stood as a central location in the first two seasons of the series and in the subsequent film, as well as reappearing recurrently in ‘Twin Peaks: The Return’, which ended up being the setting for a thrilling moment: the long-awaited kiss between Ed and Norma.
In reality, the restaurant was originally known as Thompson’s Cafe. Located in North Bend, Washington, the cafe (which was renamed Mar-T Cafe a decade after opening in 1941). In September 2015, in preparation for filming the new season of Twin Peaks, the interior was returned to the same as it had always been, and will remain so from now on.
New York Bar and Grill – Lost in Translation
The New York Bar and Grill in Tokyo is located on the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt hotel in the Japanese capital, with stunning views of the city. No wonder it was also chosen as a key setting for the well-known scene in Lost in Translation in which Bob (Bill Murray) and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) meet for the first time.
In this restaurant, whether for the audiovisual echo of the film or for its culinary proposal, it is not cheap, but the views, the ambience, the food and the nightly jazz make it an exceptional enclave.
Twister’s – Breaking Bad
In the world of Breaking Bad, ‘Los Pollos Hermanos’ is a popular fried chicken chain created by methamphetamine kingpin Gustavo Fring to cover up his Albuquerque-based drug cartel. The flagship branch of Los Pollos Hermanos, which has appeared in both series, is actually a burrito and hamburger restaurant called Twisters, located in Albuquerque.
Polidor – Midnight in Paris
Woody Allen‘s romantic drama ‘Midnight in Paris’ is an audiovisual masterpiece in which Gil (Owen Wilson), tours the city and meets a whole horde of legendary artists, writers and musicians from the golden age of Paris in the 1920s.
The Polidor is a restaurant located in the heart of the Latin Quarter of Paris and, in the 1920s, was a regular haunt for celebrities such as Victor Hugo, Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce. It is not surprising, then, that it was included in Midnight in Paris as the backdrop for the scene in which Gil first meets his idol Hemingway.
New York’s Coyote Ugly Saloon rose to fame after serving as the inspiration, setting and namesake for the nostalgic 2000 film Coyote Ugly.
The bar opened in 1993 and soon became famous for bartender and owner Liliana Lovell’s passion for dancing, singing and drinking contests, a routine that has been continued by other young women hired and trained by the bar, known as Coyotes.
Blue Box Café – Breakfast at Tiffany’s
If you want to recreate an iconic scene from ‘Breakfast at Tiffany & Co’s ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s,’ you can head to New York’s 5th Avenue, where Tiffany & Co opened The Blue Box Café in 2017, inspired by the film’s opening scene featuring Audrey Hepburn eating a croissant and drinking a coffee in its New York flagship store.
Located on Beacon Hill in Boston, Cheers is actually the bar that appeared in the iconic TV series, but only from the outside. However, the owners have created a replica of Sam’s bar nearby.
The Lighthouse Cafe – La La Land
Ryan Gosling’s character Seb takes Mia, played by Emma Stone, to her first live jazz music experience at The Lighthouse Cafe, a famous 1940s jazz venue. Well, the cafe actually exists and is located in Hermosa Beach, California. And it’s still a part-time jazz club on Wednesdays and weekends, continuing its legacy.
Les Deux Compères – Emily in Paris
The hit series ‘Emily In Paris‘, centers in part on Gabriel’s French restaurant ‘Les Deux Comperes‘, resulting in countless funny and dramatic sequences staged in what is a real restaurant.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the same name and is instead an Italian restaurant called ‘Terra Nera’. The bistro is located in Place de l’Estrapade in Paris and sells all kinds of pizzas and pastas.
Magnolia Bakery – Sex and the City
The famous benches outside Magnolia Bakery, where Carrie and Miranda share cupcakes and coffee, are very much a real bakery, and even have the same name.
Located in New York’s West Village, the shop became popular when it appeared in the series, and nowadays, it functions as a bakery that attracts a lot of traffic, especially after the Sex and the City reboot came out.