"As a base of operations, you cannot beat a fucking saloon."A place where the main characters spend much of their time, usually a bar, diner, cafe, coffee house, ice cream parlor or fast food restaurant. Extra credit if the place is named after the owner and he's a recurring character. Can also be a Malt Shop or Greasy Spoon. In any case, it's supposed to serve as a place to kill time, have fun, and/or talk. Sometimes it even serves as a show's primary setting. Parties, town meetings, or other public events will often take place here too. In general, standards of conduct are far looser in fictional hangouts than they are in real life. At these places, you can expect fights to break out, people to walk inside wearing unusual costumes (even when it's not Halloween), and people shamelessly screaming at the top of their lungs... with none of the waiters or other patrons even noticing or caring. Also, the seats/couches/spot the characters typically occupy are never taken by others, as though they exude a pack-like "get off my turf!" vibe when approached. Commonly used in sitcoms (especially those with an ensemble cast - where making somebody's home the "local hangout" would likely shift the series too far in his/her favor) because building only one hangout set saves on the budget and retains comedic simplicity. The British version is My Local. The Medieval European Fantasy version is The Need for Mead. Might overlap with Good-Guy Bar, depending on the protagonists and setting. Compare to The Couch and Hub Level. Sometimes a Burger Fool, but the latter trope is more focused on the employees while this is mainly about customers. Might include such amenities as a fireplace, a storyteller or a singer, a sauna, Board Games, wagering, dancing, books, internet access or whatever, depending on the local culture and the owner's tastes. Often used as a Framing Device for short stories, or a base for adventurers to gather.
— Al Swearengen, Deadwood
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Anime & Manga
- Sailor Moon has the arcade Game Center Crown, and later the café above it Fruits Parlor Crown. The live action version replaces them with Karaoke Crown, a Karaoke Box. In the manga and the live action the arcade and the Karaoke Box have the Senshi' (Un)Elaborate Underground Base there.
- Ichiraku Ramen in Naruto, although mostly for just Naruto himself. Seen mainly in Filler since the nature of the series' Ninja work has them on the road a lot. Similarly, Squad Eight has some kind of pork restaurant that they go to quite often.
- The gas station in Initial D is the hangout place for Takumi, Itsuki, Iketani, and Kenji, although the first three are mainly seen working there.
- The Yellow Flag from Black Lagoon. It inevitably gets destroyed and rebuilt almost on the weekly basis, given the nature of the show. Bao, the owner, isn't even disturbed by it anymore.
Bao: Ever since I set up shop here in '78, this place has been partially destroyed fifteen times and almost completely six times.
- The Midoriya cafe of Lyrical Nanoha when the cast is on Earth. It helps that Nanoha's family owns the place.
- Mahou Sensei Negima! has the cast occasionally treating the Chao Bao Xi as one of these. Named for the student entrepreneur, partial-chef and owner Chao Lingshen.
- In Aoi Hana, the girls love to go to a place called Milk Hall. It's actually an existing location which is not likely to be often visited by 16-year-olds, with its sober interior and old jazz music playing in the background, but it makes for a fetching setting for some of the most dramatic scenes in the series.
- There's also the fact that the girls in Aoi Hana are not normal 16-year-olds. Even the straight ones tend to be arts/literature geeks.
- The same place also makes a few brief appearances in Elfen Lied.
- Kadie's in Sin City is frequented by most main characters. Even if a main character in a particular story isn't featured, you can be sure at least one scene will take place there.
Films — Live-Action
- Much of Chungking Express takes place in a tiny pit stop where the characters like to come for a snack or a refill. One of them likes the place so much he eventually buys it.
- Several feature in the Back to the Future films:
- In the first movie, the local teens of 1955 Hill Valley hang around in a Malt Shop called Lou's Diner.
- In the second movie the place which was once Lou's (after apparently being an aerobics gym in The '80s) becomes, by 2015, the Cafe Eighties ("one of those nostalgia places"), where Marty has to stop Marty Jr. from being propositioned by Griff and his gang.
- The third movie, being the Cowboy Episode of the piece, naturally has the Hill Valley saloon.
- Louie's Sweet Shop, and later Mike Clancy's Cafe in the Bowery Boys series.
- Ali: Fear Eats the Soul: The Asphalt Bar, which is a hangout for Arab immigrants in Berlin. Emmi the German woman meets Ali the Moroccoan immigrant when she dives into the bar to escape the rain.
- In Daniel Pinkwater's Young Adult Novel, the Wild Dada Ducks meet regularly at the Balkan Falcon Drug Company. It's a cheap but not very good Malt Shop, but at least it's never very crowded.
- Meibeyer's in The Pale King, where most of the main characters spend their Friday afternoons.
- Kill Time or Die Trying has the WARP club-room, a second home to most of the main characters.
- The closest The Dresden Files novels get to this is McAnnally's Pub, which caters to the magical and supernatural communities. Harry himself enjoys the microbrew Mac makes. Additionally, it is the only place so far seen explicitly declared Neutral by the Unseelie Accords (think the Faerie version of the U.N.), which makes it useful for doing things like laying down the rules for a magical duel.
- Two pubs get frequent mention in Discworld: the Mended Drum ("You can get beaten") formerly the Broken Drum ("You can't beat it"), and the Bucket, a quieter pub where all the watchmen drink. The Bucket is the scene of some important conversations and detective work in Men at Arms and Feet of Clay. Discworld being what it is, there's even a local hangout for undead, which main characters have occasionally visited.
- Dragon Queen: the tavern Trava runs appears to be this for the village she lives in.
- Twain's in Idlewild served this role in the past, but the characters have mostly moved beyond it at the time of the story.
- Our Miss Brooks: Marty's Malt Shop, located across the street from Madison High School, is popular with both students and faculty.
- Arnold's in Happy Days. If the gang wasn't talking at the Cunningham house, they were probably at Arnold's hanging out.
- In Happy Endings, there are two: the gang often has breakfast and brunch at Emma's Diner, and then has drinks or dinner at Rosalita's. The show lampshades the Exaggerated nature of this trope in most TV shows, the gang mentions how they spend half of their lives there, and Max even says its his emergency contact.
- The Officer's Club and Rosie's Bar in Mash. While the Officer's Club is only for those at the base (not necessarily officers) and visiting officers, Rosie's is a bar near the base run by a Korean woman called Rosie, it is frequented by both American soliders and Korean civilians.
- Ernie's Gym and Juice Bar in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers and the following few seasons.
- Power Rangers in Space: The Surf Spot. The Rangers spend a lot of time away from Earth, though, so it never gets the exposure that other hang outs did.
- Ninja Storm: Storm Chargers, the sporting goods store where Dustin works.
- Dino Thunder: Hayley's Cyberspace, an Internet cafe owned and run by the Rangers' tech support, with Trent working there and Kira playing gigs sometimes.
- Mystic Force: The Rockporium, Toby's music store, where the Rangers (and Leelee) work.
- Jungle Fury: Jungle Karma Pizza, which belongs to R.J. and is staffed by the Rangers (and Fran).
- Likewise, in Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger, a museum's curry shop is where the Abarangers hang out in. Most of the time it is at their HQ though. This has gone meta in the years since - while it hasn't actually appeared, it's been mentioned in several different team-up movies, making it seem like an Inn Between the Worlds.
- Central Perk in Friends. Justified in that four of the main characters live above it, with a fith one moving in across the street in a later season.
- As revealed in a season 3 episode, the cast used to hang out there even before it was the Cental Perk. At that time it used to be a bar, and upon being told it would be changed into a coffee house, they reacted rather unhappy. However, as we all know, they would still spend most of their free time (and, as indicated by Joey in a later season, even a good share of their work time) in there, leading to the conclusion that it actually is the close distance to their respective homes that kept them coming back.
- The first episode of season 3 (the only one besides the first one to not start with the conclusion of a Cliffhanger from a previous season) even lampshaded this in its pre-intro gag, with the cast coming in through the front door, all happy and rejoicing, just to see their usual spots being occupied by strangers, leading to a moment of akward sillence, followed by them leaving with gloomy-to-sad faces.
- The Hub in That '70s Show.
- The Foremans' basement might count too; the main cast spends so much of their time hanging out there, most of them think nothing of asking/telling Eric to leave if they need privacy (even though it's his house).
- Cheers, the primary setting of the show. There was also a rival bar called Gary's Old Town Tavern that was the focus of a few episodes.
- Another place mentioned from time to time on Cheers is Norm's favorite restaurant, the Hungry Heifer. The patrons there greet Norm the same way everyone at Cheers does, and much like at Cheers, he's on a first-name basis with the staff. (He claims he's been going there since his college years.) His favorite order there is the Feeding Frenzy, a very large meal of beef and corn.
- Phil's in Murphy Brown - the main cast's home away from home (away from the studio). In-Universe, it's a Washington DC institution.
- The Waterfront Bar in Homicide: Life on the Street, which was also the staff hangout. (Granted, it was owned by three of the detectives.)
- The Bronze in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. According to Willow it's the coolest place in town, possibly due to lack of competition.
- Well, the places we see are:
- A Demon Bar (Willy's)
- The Bronze
- A Normal Bar, well, normal until the owner snaps and tries turning people into cavemen
- And a normal bar that also hosts Demon Poker in the back. So, not much competition for the teens.
- There is the Espresso Pump, a coffee shop that serves as the gang's secondary hangout. It's most notable for being the place where Giles' musical talents are first displayed.
- Well, the places we see are:
- Cafe Nervosa in Frasier, although the main characters would sit at different tables most episodes.
- Ten Forward in Star Trek: The Next Generation; similarly the mess hall in Voyager, and Quark's Bar in Deep Space 9.
- Freddy's BBQ in House of Cards (US). Only Frank physically frequents the place, but he also orders from there whenever they need food delivered and the owner is a recurring character. As this becomes known, Frank starts meeting people there. Once that becomes known business explodes for Freddy and he has a line around the block.
- There was a disgusting one in You Can't Do That on Television, which held this status because it was the only restaurant at all local to the TV studio that was the primary set.
- That would be Barth's Burgery, run by the surly, slovenly Barth who proudly claimed his burgers were the only ones with "spit in the mixture." His Catch-Phrase was "I heard that!," said whenever someone made a crack about the food.
- Friday Night Lights had an Applebee's. Product Placement at its finest.
- The Crab Shack in My Name Is Earl is this. May be justified in that Camden is a smallish rural community that's stuck in The '80s or early in The '90s, where a local man winning $100,000 off a scratch ticket is big news.
- Luigi's Italian restaurant in Ashes to Ashes replaces The Railway Arms of Life On Mars
- MacLaren's in How I Met Your Mother. Justified in that, for the first three seasons, Ted, Lily, and Marshall lived above it.
- And explained in an episode in season 4 that the reason why they usually are in the same booth is that a slightly wee bit mental Big Guy bartender forces other people out.
- We've also seen other people take their spot in one episode, and they spend the rest of the episode trying to drive them away.
- For the first season the gang actually sat at other tables quite often, but they eventually settled into the same booth sometime in season 2.
- Kamen Rider frequently has a coffee shop as the hangout point for the the main rider and his friends, although in Gaim it's a fruit smoothie shop, in OOOs it's a cafe, and in Wizard it's a donut shop.
- The Premiere Galleria in Drake & Josh, although justified in that Josh works there.
- Oddly enough, in spite of being a movie theater, the characters rarely go to see a movie there. For some reason, the idea of hanging around the concession stand and adjoining booths is much more appealing.
- This is actually explicitly referenced in one episode, in which Drake—exasperated—exclaims "What the heck am I supposed to do in a movie theater for an hour and a half?"
- Oddly enough, in spite of being a movie theater, the characters rarely go to see a movie there. For some reason, the idea of hanging around the concession stand and adjoining booths is much more appealing.
- The Groovy Smoothie in iCarly, slightly subverted by the fact that it is frequently mentioned early on but doesn't actually appear until halfway through the second season. (Sam and Freddie frequently spend time in the Shay household, though, to the point where Spencer quips that he "doesn't recognize [them] not sitting on [his] couch." The real purpose of the Groovy Smoothie was to be able to have scenes between Sam and Freddie without either Carly or Spencer present.)
- The pie shop in the episode "iPie" is implied to be one of these, but only appears in the aforementioned episode and is never seen again afterwards.
- The Regal Beagle in Three's Company, which started out as just the place where Chrissy worked.
- Happy Days had Arnold's, which quickly became the show's defacto main setting. The restaurant itself featured in the plot of several eepisodes, including the season 7 episode "Hot Stuff", where Arnold's burned down. (it was quickly replaced by a modern - to the show's setting - vversion.)
- Laverne and Shirley had the Pizza Bowl (when the show was set in Milwaukee) and Cowboy Bill's (after the setting moved to Los Angeles). Laverne's dad ran both establishments.
- Kelsey's Bar in All in the Family. Eventually Archie bought and ran it himself, and it became the primary setting of the followup show Archie Bunker's Place.
- Der Waffle Haus from Dead Like Me is a Local Hangout of the Greasy Spoon variety.
- The Pie Hole in Pushing Daisies. Justified in that the main character owns it.
- Merlotte's Restraunt in True Blood, run by shape shifter Sam Merlotte. A large chunk of the cast also works there.
- The Boar's Nest, in The Dukes of Hazzard, Owned by Boss Hogg, with Daisy Duke waitressing.
- Family Matters had several. The first season had Leroy's (although it was only shown in a couple episodes). The second and third had Rachel's Place (probably the best known). The fourth and fifth seasons had Mighty Weenie. While the remaining seasons (despite referencing Mighty Weenie from time to time) pretty much dispensed with this trope, although we did see the kids at a couple random hangouts here or there (such as the space-themed burger place in "Hot Rods To Heck").
- Chubbie's for seasons 2 through 5 in Boy Meets World, later replaced by the Penbroke University student lounge.
- It's weird that kids in their early teens (season 2 is the main cast's freshman year of high school) hang out at Chubbie's, which seems to be a bar/pub. Also, why are the kids out every day after school? Where are they getting the money to eat there all the time when none of them have jobs? It just happens to be a convenient place to meet, unlike one of their living rooms or bedrooms, which would be more likely for a middle class teen like Cory.
- The Mystic Grill on The Vampire Diaries. Over the course of the series, Vicki, Matt, and Jeremy work there.
- Neighbours always has a cafe and a bar in the same spots in the Lassiters complex. Currently these are Harold's and Charlie's respectively.
- Home and Away has had various Diners (the Bayside Diner, the Beachside Diner, the Pier Diner etc) and Angelo's, the pizza place at the Surf Club, which serves delivers pizza and gets mentioned by the characters.
- Home Improvement has Harry's Hardware Store for Tim and his friends, and Mike's bar to a lesser extent.
- Poor Richard's Pub in The Office (US), named for an actual establishment in Real Life Scranton. Given the Work Com nature of the show, it's rarely seen, but all the characters talk about it as if it's the only bar in town.
- Sonic Boom, the music store that Ally's dad owns and that Ally works at in Austinand Ally.
- The first season of Bones featured a chinese restaurant to which Booth often took the other members of the cast (him being the only regular among them). As of season 2, it was replaced by The Royal Diner, a simple and old-fashioned diner, with The Founding Fathers, a kinda classy yet casual restaurant, joining in a later season.
- Super Robot Red Baron has an auto repair shop that Daigo and Ken use as a cover. However, it does have a secret room that serves as the SSI's command center.
- The Cheesecake Factory in The Big Bang Theory, justified because Penny (and for a while during the time she was still going through school, Howard's girlfriend and eventual wife Bernadette) work there and because Sheldon's Super OCD dictates that he only eat at certain restraunts and establishments. Lampshaded in that Penny knows everyone's order by heart and repeatly begs the group to try The Olive Garden down the street so she can get away from their antics for the night (it never works).
- Taking Sheldons Super OCD into account, pretty much every restaurant featured in the show could be considered this unless a comment from Sheldon(such as complaining about trying a new restaurant) indicates the contrary. Special mentions go to the chinese restaurant which appeared in several episodes, and whose owner actually made comment on them coming back all the time.
- The comic book store functions as this as well, with owner Stuart being good friends with the main characters. At one time just before closing he even invites Raj to have a drink like he was a bartender.
- Pepper Pete's in Wishbone. Notable in the fact that it's also owned by Sam's father, meaning it's technically her family business.
- in Night and Day The Nautilus pub is the main venue of choice, owned and run by Charlie Doyle and wife Dona. A café, a steam room and the murky Darc Bar are also among the regular sets.
- The Flash (2014) has "CC Jitters", a coffee shop. The events of the Season 1 finale badly damage it, but it is seen back in business by the third episode of Season 2.
- Street Justice has Malloy's, co-owned by Adam and his deceased partner's daughter Malloy, and it's also where Grady works as a bartender.
- Rowlf's Tavern in The Muppets, where the cast and crew of Up Late with Miss Piggy all go after work.
- Daredevil: Josie's Bar is where the Nelson & Murdock trio tends to go after work to relax.
- Luke Cage: Pop's Barbershop is known for being a gathering place in Harlem for everyone from neighborhood kids to celebrities. Pop is a bit of a renowned figure in the community, enough that when he is killed by Tone in the crossfire of a botched hit on Chico, Cottonmouth kills Tone as retaliation for his mentor's death, and there is a large turnout at Pop's funeral.
- Merlin's place in Traverse Town for Kingdom Hearts.
- Also, The Usual Spot in Kingdom Hearts II, for the kids in Twilight Town. The game actually calls that section of the town "The Usual Spot". For the main heroes it's Merlin's new place in Hollow Bastion/ Radiant Garden.
- The Twilight Town Clock Tower, in Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days is the Local Hangout for Xion, Roxas & Axel while off duty. Apparently, the trio likes nothing better than eating ice cream while dangling their legs off a precarious ledge 10 stories off the ground. Even after one of them nearly falls off of it.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- Hyrule Town in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
- Telma's Place in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, where The Resistance hangs out and plans.
- The Lumpy Pumpkin in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. There's even a sidequest where Link ends up working there to repay a debt. The Bazaar may also count; some side characters will buy you drinks there.
- For the Super Mario Bros. series
- For the Pokémon series:
- Swanna's cafe in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity. The plot-relevant team members are usually hanging out in there if they aren't on top of the hill it's built inside of.
- Pocket D in City of Heroes. Justified in that it's also a miniature Hub, and one of the few places Heroes, Villains, and Praetorians can hang out.
- In Least I Could Do, the park is this spot with Rayne and Noel. The two constantly go for walks there, have a conversation where Rayne usually makes some incredibly childish or bizarre statement, leaving Noel to do the Deadpan Snarker routine in response.
- An unnamed neighborhood bar is frequently visited by the cast of Sluggy Freelance, though not as often in recent years. Bartender Crystal has been a very minor supporting character throughout much of the strip's history.
- Coffee of Doom in Questionable Content. Justified in that almost the entire cast either works there, used to work there or dates (or dated) someone who works there. When they want something stronger, they go to The Horrible Revelation, based on a real bar in Northampton, Massachusetts.
- The Watering Hole in The Suburban Jungle, owned by Leonard, Tiffany's future love interest (and eventual husband). Every regular character has visited at least once.
- Hammer's bar, the Spanked Monkey, in Ghastly's Ghastly Comic. The artist stated that a bar is a good place to set a comic strip because you never have to explain why a diverse selection of people would congregate there.
- Most of the women in Rhapsodies hang out at the Peach Blossom.
- Darren's bar serves this role in early Wapsi Square strips, but it is visited less and less frequently as the characters start to deal with things that you can't talk about in public without having people think you are crazy.
- Sunset Grill The entire comic is set in and around the Sunset Grill, or follows the staff and patrons. It’s not a comic about any one hero in particular, the hangout is the story.
- Nobody Scores! has Coffee Snout. Many incidental appearances with a central role in this tragedy.
- Girls with Slingshots: Depending on the time of day (or how bad a day someone's having), Jameson's cafe or Angel's bar. Outside of Hazel and Jamie, most of the cast met at one location or the other.
- Shooters, Bryan's Bowl-a-Rama, and Highland Hills Shopping Mall in Survival of the Fittest version three's pregame. Version four had The Promenade (a local mall), the Varsity (a sports bar) and the Sunset Cinema, and Version 5 has the Lone Pine Mall and The Castle (an arcade-type area). As a general rule, there will be at least one of these each pre-game.
- Stan's Place in the Random Universe. All the heroes from DC and Marvel (and some other random comic book franchises) hang out there when they aren't ripping off Mac/PC and Old Spice commercials or other movies in general.
- The whole point of the Super Cafe of How It Should Have Ended. Typically features Batman and Superman critiquing recently released Super Hero Blockbuster films and pop culture in general. Features guest appearances by other super heroes and sometimes non-superhero characters notably Super Mario.
- In addition to being the team's base, the Watchtower in Justice League Unlimited qualifies.
- Bueno Nacho in Kim Possible. If Kim and Ron weren't in school or on a mission, they were there. The resturant itself featured in several episode plots, including the (original) series finale Kim Possible Movie: So the Drama.
- Nasty Burger in Danny Phantom. So much so that main villain Vlad bought it at one point and restricted any teenage admittance... just to mess with Danny.
- Louie's Place in TaleSpin probably counts, despite the fact that it isn't local at all. It's on a small island in the middle of the ocean, which serves as a rest stop and fueling station for pilots.
- Sugarfoot's in King of the Hill.
- And the alley behind Hank's house where he and his friends stand, drink beer, and talk.
- Dot's Diner in ReBoot. But then it got destroyed in the season 2 finale. Fortunately, it got better when the User restored Mainframe.
- Mesmers in My Life as a Teenage Robot (Which didn't serve robots until after the events of "Return of Raggedy Android", in which the owner foreswore his old policy).
- The kitchen. Everyone always hangs out in the kitchen.
- Especially for student residences with shared kitchens. The social group formed by your friends in the kitchen are much more likely to meet there at dinnertime than with everyone else in the common room.
- The dining room, and the living room.
- Starbucks was conceived as sort of a universally known local hangout. Sometimes referred to as 'the third location' you find yourself in most often. The first two locations being at home and at work.
- Likewise, Tim Hortons.
- Or convenience stores like Mini Stop and 7 Eleven.
- Panera Bread is likewise a coffee shop hangout which serves meals.
- Bathhouses in several cultures, famously with Romans.
- Latrines in army camps in past times. Campfires as well.
- For the Jannissaries the soup couldron figured as this and doubled as regimental totem.
- The pub.