This weekend sees the U.S. opening of Edgar Wright‘s “The World’s End,” the concluding part of his “Cornetto Trilogy” of collaborations with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Aside from so brilliantly and lovingly referencing and sending up the genres they love (zombies in “Shaun of the Dead,” buddy cop movies in “Hot Fuzz” and now apocalyptic sci-fi in “The World’s End”) one of the greatest pleasures these films afford is the very central place that alcohol, but pubs especially, play in all of their plots. In “The World’s End” (you can read our interview with Wright here, including a play by play of the soundtrack) that booziness is brought to its natural conclusion as the film is set around a 12-establishment pub crawl that is mildly interrupted by the threatened Armageddon.
We’re fond of a tipple ourselves from time to time, and the film inspired us to combine our two great loves (boozing and the movies) into one time-traveling, geography-defying pub crawl of 12 movie bars. So strap on your drinking boots and join us on our epic alcoholic crusade. It’s going to get messy.
The Mother Black Cap — “Withnail & I” (1987)
Clientele: Perfumed ponces, alcoholic struggling actors with heart conditions, aggressive Irishmen who may or may not, as the graffiti suggests, “fuck arses.”
Rationale: Any pub patronised by a career alcoholic like Withnail has some sort of kudos. And, since it’s really more of our meeting up point prior to our day of debauchery, it’s important that it’s one of the earliest opening pubs in the neighbourhood. Also crucial that it’s in no way too welcoming or cozy, or we’ll never leave.
Music: Either the joyless silence of early afternoon dedicated drinkers or some brilliant cuts from the soundtrack like “All Along the Watchtower” or “Whiter Shade of Pale.”
What’s your poison? It’s early so just the “Two large gins. Two pints of cider. Ice in the cider.”
If it’s full we’ll go to: The Golden Horn from “Barfly” (1987), the preferred watering hole of Bukowski alter ego Henry Chinaski, played by Mickey Rourke. The Bukowski/Rourke association alone gives it unimpeachable dipsomaniac credentials.
Mozarella’s Funeral Parlor/Speakeasy — “Some Like It Hot” (1959)
Clientele: Down-at-heel musicians, spats-wearing gangsters and hoodlums, dancing girls, winking waiters, and prohibition-flouting customers all disguised as “mourners.”
Rationale: Aside from the genius notion of using a funeral home as a front for a speakeasy, the joint itself is pretty swinging, and we want to go somewhere with a bit of life after the dour Camden pub we started in. The trick is to get out just before the cops raid the place.
Music: Respectful funereal dirges out in the storefront, but at the push of a button … swinging uptempo jazz blaring out from the live band.
What’s your poison? Coffee—Scotch coffee, Canadian coffee, sour mash coffee.
If it’s full we’ll go to: The speakeasy from the Marx Bros‘ “Horse Feathers“—it’s not nearly as dripping with flapper-era excess, but worth it for Harpo’s sight gags.
Mozarella’s is at the very beginning, from about 5m20s in.
Korova Milk Bar — “A Clockwork Orange” (1971)
Clientele: Alex and his droogs, among other malchicks and devotchkas.
Rationale: After all the excitement of evading the police in Mozarella’s, we need a serene place to catch our breath. And since we’re still really only ramping up for the night, why not drop by the local design milk bar with its awesomely futuro-misogyno-retro-porno decor and spiked drinks? Horrorshow.
Music: Henry Purcell‘s “Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary” and later, Beethoven. No doubt Kubrick would have preferred Pink‘s “Get the Party Started” but it unfortunately hadn’t been written yet.
What’s your poison? Milk-plus, preferably milk plus drencrom, which will sharpen us up and make us ready for a bit of the old ultraviolence later. (Milk plus vellocet or synthemesc also available.)
If it’s full we’ll go to: This one’s kind of irreplaceable, but we could try the bar in “Tron: Legacy,” which is also clinically white (like no one has ever spilled anything ever), a little less overtly disturbing in its interior design, and in fairness, will have Daft Punk playing live.
Chalmun’s Spaceport Cantina (Mos Eisley) — “Star Wars: Episode IV” (1977)
Clientele: Wookies, Jedis, Padawans, Biths, bounty hunters and outlaws of every conceivable species (exhaustive list here)—everything except droids.
Rationale: Things are getting a little woozy after all that milk plus, so we’re going to head somewhere where the actual customers are weirder than anything we could hallucinate. And hey, we know we’ll get in—seeing as none of us are robots. The band is tight, if a little repetitious, and basically you can shoot people and cut arms off with light sabers and hardly anyone even bats an eye.
Music: The legendary Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes playing their famous song originally just called “Cantina Band.” Biths got the best beatz.
What’s your poison? Whatever those pinkish drinks are that everyone seems to get served round here.
If it’s full we’ll go to: The Last Resort from “Total Recall“—not quite as diverse from a species standpoint, but hey, three-boobed alien prostitute!
The Bottleneck Saloon — “Destry Rides Again” (1939)
Clientele: Townsfolk, gamblers, cattle rangers, pacifist deputies, drunken lawmen, gunslingers corrupt judges, and saloon singers with amazing cheekbones
Rationale: Well, we’ve just been to a Space Westen saloon, so why not a Western western saloon? Of course the Wild West has a lot to offer us in the way of swinging half-doors, low-slung holsters and rickety chairs just made to be broken over some guys’ back, but we’re heading to Bottleneck on account of the superior music and high likelihood of a down-and-dirty catfight in addition to the regular old brawl that we’re pretty much expecting.
Music: Fingers crossed saloon gal Frenchy (Marlene Dietrich) will favor us with a rendition of “See What The Boys In The Back Room Will Have,” If not, some good ol’ honky-tonk piano.
What’s your poison? All beer was warm in the old West, so bourbon or rye or whatever other local moonshine rotgut you got there. And maybe a sarsparilla for those Playlisters not holding up so well—we’re not even at the halfway point yet.
If it’s full we’ll go to: The Rock Ridge Saloon from “Blazing Saddles,” which was largely based on ‘Destry’ anyway, and Madeline Kahn is actually a pretty great Marlene replacement.
The Slaughtered Lamb — “An American Werewolf in London” (1981)
Clientele: Jovial, joke-telling, chess-and-darts-playing, flat-cap-wearing friendly locals. Just don’t mention any odd embellishments to the interior decor, like pentagrams or candles.
Rationale: Having been bodily thrown out during the inevitable bar brawl that happened back in Bottleneck, we’re dusty, muddy and a little tender, so what could be nicer than a cosy pint in a friendly village pub?
Music: The pub itself is rather too provincial for anything as flashy as a jukebox, but if it had one, strangely it would play nothing but songs with ‘moon’ in the title: “Bad Moon Rising,” “Moondance” and a hundred different versions of “Blue Moon.” Huh.
What’s your poison? Spirit or beers, mostly ale by the looks of things. Asking for soup, coffee or hot chocolate will not endear you to the landlady, but she will grudgingly make you some tea.
If it’s full we’ll go to: The Crow and Crown from “Withnail & I“—another fine English village establishment in which the dowdy locals, even if they’re well-meaning, come across as deeply sinister to outsiders.
The Winchester — “Shaun of the Dead” (2004)
Clientele: Exclusively locals, family and friends you’ve known all your life, fascinating characters like the chap in the cowboy boots who strangled his first wife with a draft excluder, and the barman with the mafia ties. Of course, a lot of them are zombies now.
Rationale: Well, we couldn’t very well ignore all previous Wright/Pegg/Frost collaborations on a list inspired by their new one, could we? This is the point in a pub crawl that sorts the men from the boys, and it’s where the majority of the drinking will get done, so where better than our favorite local where everyone knows our names and where there’s a decorative rifle behind the bar and a plethora of pool cues to ward off any of the troublesome undead?
Music: The jukebox is on random, but it will find a way of playing the perfectly apropos song, be it Chicago‘s “If You Leave Me Now” or Queen‘s “Don’t Stop Me Now.”
What’s your poison? Pints of lager. Flaming sambucas. Pork scratchings. More pints. Shots. How’s that for a slice of fried gold?
If it’s full we’ll go to: Maher’s Pub in “Grabbers”—guaranteed a lock-in and there’s a damn good reason, aside from being in Ireland, to keep downing pints (the attackers here aren’t zombies, but ravenous alien creatures who find alcohol toxic).
Rick’s Cafe Americain — “Casablanca” (1942)
Clientele: Corrupt Vichy French policemen, Nazis, resistance leaders, gamblers, oily untrustworthy Sidney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre types, young couples desperately in need of papers, and a certain world-weary but noble proprietor.
Rationale: Of all the gin joints in all the world, we can’t think of many we’d rather walk into. With gambling, music, dancing and all sorts of intrigues, it’s just the sort of place to pick us up after too many comfy pints at the local. And at this point we need to inject a little more class into the proceedings before it all goes off the wall entirely.
Music: Dooley Wilson on the piano singing “As Time Goes By,” of course. And occasional, politically risky renditions of “La Marseillaise,” which is good because we’re probably in the mood for a sing-song by now.
What’s your poison? Whisky, cognac, wine, cocktails, champagne, tears, heartbreak.
If it’s full we’ll go to: We’ve quite a pick of filmic establishments that offer glamorous entertainments as well as hard liquor but we’d head for the animated pleasures of The Ink and Paint Club from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” or the 1930s Shanghai decadence of Club Obi Wan from “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.”
The Bamboo Lounge — “Goodfellas” (1990)
Clientele: Wiseguys like Frankie Carbone, Mo Black’s brother Fat Andy, Frankie the Wop, Freddie No-Nose, Jimmy Two-Times and their assorted molls.
Rationale: After the heady razzmatazz of Rick’s, we want somewhere a little more low-key and intimate. The Copacabana may get the dazzling tracking shot in “Goodfellas” but it’s the familiar faces and kitschy tiki glamor of The Bamboo Lounge that lets us know that anything goes here, plus, while eating is cheating it would probably be wise now, and we know these guys must do a mean cannoli. Just gotta get out before the place mysteriously burns to the ground.
Music: Classic cuts from the era like “This World We Love In (Il Cielo In Una Stanza)“ by Mina and “Playboy” by The Marvelettes
What’s your poison? Seems like they’ve a glut of Cutty Sark Whisky.
If it’s full we’ll go to: Volpe’s from “Mean Streets“—sometimes you just need your Italian/American fix.
The Double Deuce — “Roadhouse” (1989)
Clientele: Plaid shirt-wearing meathead hicks and trashy local women with low self-esteem.
Rationale: We enjoyed our little skirmish back in the Bottleneck, but we’ve been drinking for hours now and we’re spoiling for a real fight. And this is the place to have it—the old Double Deuce that is, not the new Dalton-improved version. Nope, we’re gonna stick with the random, bottle-flinging, trash-talking, total destruction mayhem that is the order of the day before superbouncer Patrick Swayze shows up and ruins everyone’s fun.
Music: Canadian outfit The Jeff Healey Band, playing live to no one’s notice from behind chicken wire.
What’s your poison? Beer. In a bottle that we can throw.
If it’s full we’ll go to: Bob’s Country Bunker—”The Blues Brothers” where we can get the chicken-wire, bottle-throwing monkey off our backs, or if all else fails, Lou’s Tavern from “Fight Club“.
The Titty Twister — “From Dusk Till Dawn” (1996)
Clientele: Border-rat lowlifes, murderers, kidnappers, lechers, sadists, Salma Hayek, a snake, vampires and other terrifying creatures. Like Tarantino as an actor.
Rationale: It’s probably the only place still open at this stage, and nursing cuts and bruises from The Double Deuce we can’t afford to go anywhere with any sort of door policy. Plus it has Salma Hayek getting her snake on amid a surprisingly lavish stage show, and even the heterosexual females in our company have to admit that that is a sight to behold.
Music: Tito & Tarantula playing “After Dark” live.
What’s your poison? Um, beer? And maybe blood? Like you come here for the quality mixology.
If it’s full we’ll go to: Taffy Lewis’ Nightclub from “Blade Runner,” if it’s a snake dance we’re hankering after, or Kadie’s Club Pecos in “Sin City.”
The Gold Room at The Overlook — “The Shining” (1980)
Clientele: The creme de la creme of wealthy ’20s society (ghosts, but nobody’s perfect) and one deranged caretaker.
Rationale: At this point, we’re only ever going to be able to hit up a hotel bar, if we had the foresight to book a room in advance. And the great thing about the Gold Room, aside from it being the most incredible room ever, is that those of us who have perished at the Titty Twister can still come hang out with those of us who have somehow survived. And we’re unlikely to be charged for our drinks.
Music: Al Bowlly & Ray Noble Orchestra playing “Midnight, the Stars and You.”
What’s your poison? Bourbon. On the rocks.
If it’s full we’ll go to: There really is no substitute for the Gold Room, but for a less creepy and more melancholic end to a very long day, we could try the New York Bar in the Tokyo Hyatt from “Lost In Translation” for a grotesquely overpriced Suntory against the Tokyo nightscape before falling into bed.
Bonus “recovery” bar
The next day, those of us not hospitalized, arrested or waking up naked in the desert handcuffed to a hyena and missing a tooth, may wish to gather quietly for a hair of the dog. If we do, we can’t think of anywhere less demanding of us than Trees Lounge from “Trees Lounge,” where nothing much ever really happens and frankly, no one’s judging.
And finally, there are a couple of movie bars we went out of our way to avoid on our crawl, notably Flanagans Cocktails and Dreams from the end of “Cocktail” (1988) at which barman Tom Cruise, aside from taking ages to put a drink together with all the hippy hippy shaking may without warning at any time leap onto the bar and recite an awful improvised poem. And the Blue Oyster Bar, made infamous as a frequent scene of “hilarious” gay panic as unsuspecting “Police Academy” characters are lured there (usually as a diversionary tactic) and, presumably paralysed with terror when they realise it’s populated exclusively with leather-clad biker bears and other YMCA-style gay stereotypes, coerced into tangoing with the regulars. If anything could convince us not to include a visit to “Coyote Ugly,” it was a visit to Coyote Ugly. And basically most “town vs gown” college bars like the “Harvard” bar from “Good Will Hunting” and St. Elmo’s from “St. Elmo’s Fire” are fine for college kids, but we’re just a bit old for all that pitcher/chugging nonsense now.
So how do you like them apples? Tell us your twelve, and the first round’s on us.