I’ve always been a bit of a sucker for visiting famous film and TV locations. One time I even spent an hour in the dark, unsuccessfully searching for HBO’s Six Feet Under house in Los Angeles. That said, I guarantee that you won’t have any trouble finding the popular Cheers bar(s) in Boston.
Sure, it’s fun to check out these types of filming spots, but it’s even better when you can grab a bite or a drink there, like at Tom’s Restaurant, the infamous NYC diner from the NBC sitcom Seinfeld. It gives you some time to transport yourself to that magical place that exists in between reality and TV fantasy. A beer doesn’t hurt either.
Here in Boston, the original Cheers bar used to be known as The Bull and Finch Pub, but the owners have since changed the name to Cheers Beacon Hill (84 Beacon St.). The Beacon Hill distinction is necessary because the owners have actually created a separate bar called Cheers Faneuil Hall (Faneuil Hall Marketplace) that acts as a complete replica of the filming set used for the Cheers show that ran from 1982 to 1993.
The replica bar stems from the fact that the original Cheers pub was only used for exterior shots on the TV show, not interior shots. You recall, right? There’s that vintage sign out front that reads “Est. 1985”, with the white gloved-hand graphic pointing down the stairs. Also, there’s that familiar reddish awning.
Inside the original Cheers bar, it’s a different spot altogether, though the atmosphere feels quite similar, in my opinion.
Woody: Jack Frost nipping at your toes, Mr. Peterson?
Norm: Yeah, now let’s get Joe Beer nipping at my liver.
Now, just a friendly warning: obviously this place is a bit of a “tourist trap”, so it can get pretty busy, especially on weekends. Not to mention the whole souvenir bonanza is a bit much. You just need to come to these bars with a little nostalgia and a lot of patience.
In terms of eats at these real-life Cheers bars, you’re talking about a whole wack of burgers, some of which are named after Cheers cast members like Norm and Carla. There are also solid salads and sandwiches sections, plus all you’re typical pub fare like wings, nachos and the like. The price for mains range from about $11 – $16.
My personal recommendation would be to take in a Red Sox game at a Cheers bar to cap off your visit. I don’t think the bartender will mind too much if you call him “Sam”. Just remember to tip.