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[[quoteright:350:[[Film/GhostWorld http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ghost_world_diner.jpg]]]]

->'''Brian (manager of ''The Greasy Fork''):''' Britta, you promised that this private party would be done by eight. You're doing this during the peak business hours for nostalgia-themed diners.\\
'''Annie:''' Oh, is that true? Has that been researched?\\
'''Brian:''' It has, Annie. After they get frightened by the evening news, many seek the comforting foods and soothing music of a pre-racial America.
-->-- ''Series/{{Community}}''

Obligatory bit of [[UsefulNotes/TheFifties 1950s]] PopularHistory. All the kids [[LocalHangout hang out]] here, play {{Pinball}}, and listen to the jukebox play NothingButHits. Carhops are optional. The Malt Shop may also be referred to as a diner, a soda fountain, a drug store or a café but the general look is always basically the same. In a TimeTravel story ending up in TheFifties, often the first place gone into after the MisterSandmanSequence (as in ''Film/BackToTheFuture'', for example).

There ''is'' some historical basis to these places; during most of the early-[[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII post-war]] era, from the mid-1940s to the 1950s, very few modern "chain" fast-food places were in business yet and the infrastructure to support them was still being built. As a result, there were a ''lot'' of privately-owned, short-order diner-style restaurants that served things like burgers and non-alcoholic malted beverages. Not all of them were hopping, hip places where the kids hung out, but pick a major suburb and you could probably find at least one. Many of the most successful ones would go on to ''become'' the major chains of TheSeventies and TheEighties, driving their smaller competitors out of business.

The GreasySpoon is the Malt Shop's less romanticized (but equally conventionalized) cousin. Watch out for the teenagers who are SweetheartSipping or the possible eruption of a DinerBrawl. In UsefulNotes/{{Australia}} and UsefulNotes/NewZealand, and in Great Britain in TheFifties, these places were traditionally known as 'milk bars'.



[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Pop Tate's Choclit Shoppe in ''Franchise/{{Archie|Comics}}.'' While small diners do of course still exist, what really makes the place TheArtifact is Pop's fashion sense (at least in the digests using the traditional Archie house style), since he looks like he just stepped through a time portal from 1949. But Riverdale just wouldn't be Riverdale without it or without him.
* The RetroUniverse of Fawcett City in Creator/DCComics' ''Power of Comicbook/{{Shazam}}'' included a malt shop (possibly the same one from Captain Marvel's initial ''Whiz Comics'' appearances). It even played a plot point in the ''Comicbook/BlackAdam'' miniseries.
* Kitty Pryde and Storm bond over milkshakes at ''The Malt Shoppe'' in ''Uncanny ComicBook/XMen'' #130.
* In the reboot ''ComicBook/LegionOfSuperheroes'' SomethingCompletelyDifferent issue where the time-lost Legionnaires are relocated to a small town in the fifties, with memories to match, Cosmic Boy's dad runs the malt shop. A more "spacey" malt shop called "Brande's" also appears at the end of the Universo storyline, as Universo's mental prison. Both of these are probably nods to the reboot's FanNickname of "The ''Archie'' Legion".

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Marty's Malt Shop in ''Film/OurMissBrooks''.
* Mel's Drive-In from ''Film/AmericanGraffiti''.
* Lou's Café from ''Film/BackToTheFuture''.
* Naturally, one of these shows up in ''Film/{{Pleasantville}}''.
* One is included (free of charge) in the 1957-set ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheKingdomOfTheCrystalSkull''. It winds up getting trashed in a DinerBrawl.
* A futuristic version of one of these appears in ''Film/StarWarsEpisodeIIAttackOfTheClones'', complete with a robot waitress and a fat Italian-American-sounding alien in an apron in the kitchen. [[WordOfGod George Lucas]] has stated that this is an homage to his earlier ''Film/AmericanGraffiti''.
* Parodied in ''Film/TopSecret'', when Nick Rivers and the Resistance fighters end up in a 1950s-style malt shop... in the middle of UsefulNotes/EastGermany. Includes a dance number to jukebox music.
* The film of ''Film/TheMusicMan'' sets one of its scenes in an ice cream parlor. The movie is from 1962, though the musical is set 50 years before that.
* ''Film/ThingsToDoInDenverWhenYoureDead'' is narrated by a character in a malt shop, which also plays a minor role in the story.
* This is where [[GunFu Smith]] and the HookerWithAHeartOfGold meet up at the end of ''Film/ShootEmUp''.
* [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin The Malt Shoppe]] is the main hangout of the {{brainwashed}} honor students in ''Film/DisturbingBehavior'', with one of the characters [[LampshadeHanging pointing out]] the [[TwoDecadesBehind anachronistic nature]] of the location. It proves to be one of the first clues that something is [[TownWithADarkSecret seriously wrong]] with the town.
* In ''Film/PulpFiction'', Vincent takes Mia to Jack Rabbit Slim's, a nostalgia restaurant designed to resemble a 50's malt shop. Mia orders the Five-Dollar Milkshake.
* Naturally, a setting for several scenes in ''Film/{{Grease}}''.
* One appears at the beginning of ''Film/SchoolTies''.
* In ''Film/TheBestYearsOfOurLives'', Fred returns from World War II and takes up his old job as a soda jerk in the local drugstore. However, he finds this unsatisfying after his time as a captain in the Air Force.
* One scene in ''Film/TheOogielovesInTheBigBalloonAdventure'' takes place in a cow-themed malt shop where its proprietor, Milky Marvin, is willing to cater to anyone's taste in milkshakes.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Marty's Malt Shop in ''Series/OurMissBrooks''. It's across the street from Madison High, and is virtually an institution among the students and faculty. Notable in that this is a series that was actually made in the 1950s.
* Arnold's from ''Series/HappyDays''
* The Pie Hole in ''Series/PushingDaisies'' resembles one of these, in keeping with the show's RetroUniverse aesthetic.
* The Groovy Smoothie in ''Series/{{iCarly}}'' is a modernised version, used as the LocalHangout. It is frequently mentioned early on but doesn't actually appear until halfway through the second season.
* Parodied on a ''Series/{{MADtv}}'' sketch with a "nostalgic" diner which for the sake of period accuracy refused to serve black customers.
* Bizarrely, the first round of time travel on ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'', where Dean sees his youthful parents-to-be on a date to one of these... in ''1973''. Possibly the influence of her protective father.
* ''Series/TheTwilightZone'' episode "Walking Distance" features a malt shop when a man returns to the town he grew up in to see that nothing has changed. He first realizes something strange is going on when the malt shop is still selling milkshakes for a dime, and comes to realize that he's somehow traveled back in time.
* In season 3 of ''Series/PunkyBrewster'', Henry sells his photography shop and opens a little restaurant he names "Punky's Place."
* While not set in the past, The Max from ''Series/SavedByTheBell'' has all the trappings of one.
* Monica in ''Series/{{Friends}}'' worked in a 50s-themed malt shop in early seasons.
* The Spoon in ''Series/AndiMack'' has this aesthetic, huge retro exterior sign and all.

* Music/WeirdAlYankovic: "And I burned down the Malt Shop where we used to go [[AntiLoveSong just because it reminds me of you!]]"
* Music/TheEverlyBrothers: "That's Old Fashioned, That's the Way Love Should Be" mentions the protagonist and his girl's fondness for one such place as an example of why their friends think they're a couple of squares. Which means the malt shop was a slice of '50s nostalgia as early as 1963!

* Bally's ''Pinball/EightBall'' is set in one of these.

* Shows up in the musical ''Reefer Madness'', which is technically set in TheThirties [[AnachronismStew but has more of a 1950s feel in general]].
* Not shown in the opera ''Theatre/StreetScene'', but discussed in a sextet in praise of the drug store and its ice cream.
* One of the later scenes in ''Theatre/WestSideStory'' is in Doc's drugstore. The jukebox plays [[ThemeTuneCameo the same "Mambo" heard at the gym dance]].

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The various pizza joints in ''VideoGame/EarthBound'' are designed to resemble these, fitting with the {{Eagleland}} setting.
* One of the various locations in ''VideoGame/TheLabyrinthOfTime''. Since the titular labyrinth spans across time and space, it's somewhat justified.
* ''VideoGame/NancyDrew Secrets Can Kill'' has such a restaurant, albeit not a very good one. Their menu has some rather [[CordonBleughChef disturbing items]], the staff never notices you entering the kitchen, [[NoOshaCompliance and their solution for patching a leaking gas line is to prop the pipe up with a pair of bolt cutters]].

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''WebAnimation/MyLittlePonyEquestriaGirlsSummertimeShorts'': The "Coinky-Dink World" music video shows that Pinkie Pie's part-time job is at such a place. It has a jukebox, records hanging from the walls, serves hamburgers and milkshakes, and the waitresses have rollerskates. It seems very popular among modern-day teens, but it is to be noted that there are also a few middle-aged couples around.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* [[AsianStoreOwner Akbar's]] Malt Shop in ''Webcomic/TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob''. Akbar seems to be one of the saner people in the town.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The ''Franchise/ScoobyDoo'' gang visited these quite a bit in parts of the plot that would normally have taken them to a bar. Also, the Scooby gang would often start an episode in a malt shop (in the 1969-80 series), when they weren't on a beach.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' had this in its time travel episode to 1945.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' features a restaurant with a retro 1950s malt shop motif. Cleveland, being black, was not allowed to enter.
-->'''Cleveland:''' This takes me back.
* ''WesternAnimation/SchoolhouseRock'':
** Seen in the segment "A Noun is a Person, Place, or Thing" as the narrator engages in some SweetheartSipping with her "[[SheIsNotMyGirlfriend best friend]]."
** The "Conjunction Junction Diner" seen in the intro of every video is probably also this.
* Prominently featured in the 1946 [[WesternAnimation/ClassicDisneyShorts Disney]] short "All the Cats Join In", with its jazz soundtrack produced by Benny Goodman, features teens partying in a malt shop, doing swing dancing as a jukebox plays. Meaning this trope is a little bit OlderThanTheyThink by at least a few years.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Although many of them have completely abandoned the "traditional" trappings, honestly, pick a famous fast-food chain today; an overwhelming number of them began life in, essentially, this format with a single location. Prominent examples are UsefulNotes/McDonalds, Wendy's, Jack-in-the-Box....
* Johnny Rockets is a national chain of sit-down hamburger restaurants with a 1950s motif, including waitpersons with paper hats and checkered aprons, chrome finish on ''everything'', and 5-cent jukeboxes.
* Sonic Drive-In is a chain of drive-in diners that began in the '50s and has survived and thrived into the present day, complete with carhops who wear roller skates. In Northern U.S. cities, they're known primarily for the fact that they advertise even though the nearest Sonic may be tens or even hundreds of miles away (Northern weather isn't that conducive to drive-in diners).
* The Classic 50s is a one-of-a-kind drive-in in Norman, Oklahoma, that is more or less identical to Sonic except even ''more'' nostalgic of the 1950s. Kids' meals even come in cardboard replicas of classic cars!
* There is one down in Hillsboro, Oregon. That area is the sort of place where specialty businesses crowd around.
* The A&W chain of fast-food joints have become known for marketing based on nostalgia: They base many of their commercials, and even the interior on the "classic fast food joint" look of UsefulNotes/TheFifties. Of course, it's not a Malt Shop ''per se'', but it has many elements of one, including ice cream/root beer floats and nostalgic black-and-white photos on the walls. The motif is broken a little at co-branded locations as the design elements have to share space with boating materials (Long John Silvers) or pictures of Colonel Sanders.
* Route 66 lives and breathes 1950s nostalgia, so there are plenty of old drive-ins and malt shops along the route to cater to tourists.
* Even the United Kingdom gets in on the act with the Ed's Easy Diner chain, which seems to toe the line between being a nostalgia cafe based on a malt shop, and being an affectionate parody of one. It has the jukeboxes, art-deco motif and malt shakes, but they also have a menu of practically nothing but variations on hotdogs, chili and burgers, signs on the walls such as 'No dancing in the aisles', and the shakes themselves are enormous.
* Ditto the Eddie Rocket's chain in Ireland.
* Ruby's Diner is a chain based on this motif, albeit more from UsefulNotes/TheForties.
* The Chicago based Portillo's restaurant chain has several different themes to their restaurants including a malt shop theme.
* The Atlanta version of this would be The Varsity. A classic place that's more modern, and even has a gift shop, since The Varsity is known in the south.