Follow TV Tropes


Two Shots from Behind the Bar

Go To
Well, he said "last call for shots". He wasn't kidding.
So the hero wanders into a seedy bar. Maybe he brushes against a less-than-reputable goon. Maybe the goon is just looking to pick a fight. Maybe the hero can't afford to pay the tab. Whatever the case, this scenario can only end in bloodshed.

The bartender quickly dives behind the bar. A cowardly move... but then he emerges, shotgun in tow and ready to quell any disturbances to his business.

This action is not necessarily limited to bartenders, although it is a common occurrence. Similarly, while the shotgun is a common firearm used, other firearms such as rifles or pistols (even big ones) may be used. The key point is that the firearm is retrieved specifically from the bar.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Attack on Titan, while fighting Kenny the Ripper, Levi crashes into a bar and hides behind the counter. While there, he finds a shotgun and uses it against Kenny before thanking the bartender for saving his life.
  • In Black Lagoon, Bao, the owner of the Yellow Flag, keeps a shotgun behind the bar handy for inevitable shootouts. It doesn't hurt that the bar itself is fully armored to withstand gunfire. Unfortunately, the Yellow Flag also routinely gets bombed.
  • One episode of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex starts with Section 9 raiding a bar where some yakuza are discussing illegal business. A quick raid busts the gang, but as the Major calls out, "Don't try anything stupid!", the guy hiding behind the bar reaches for the stowed shotgun. Just as he stands with it, two shots from Togusa hit his hand and make him drop it, and Batou kindly repeats the Major's warning; both of them had come in through the back door and had seen him, spoiling the potential ambush.

    Film — Animated 
  • Coonskin: When the Dirty Cop Madigan comes to collect his cut of the racket money, the bartender pulls out a double-barred shotgun that has been sawed-off to the point where it looks like a handgun. One of Madigan's goons discourages him with only a glance.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In most Western films where there's a gunfight in a saloon, the bartender will produce a gun from behind the bar and join in. The trope probably originated in that genre.
  • In Accident Man, Big Ray has a sawn-off double-barrel shotgun mounted on a swivel beneath the bar of his pub.
  • Black Patch: After Hank punches the barfly who was tormenting Carl, the bartender starts to pull a double barrelled shotgun from under the bar. However, before he can raise it, Hank has drawn his pistol and is pointing it in the barkeep's face.
  • Blade begins with the titular hero storming a vampire nightclub. In the chaos, the DJ ducks behind his turntable and comes up firing an Uzi; Blade guns him down in return.
  • When the townsfolk finally join the fight against the vampires in Blood Rayne II Deliverance, the saloon girl Martha grabs the bar's double-barrelled shotgun from under the bar and joins the mob.
  • A variant happens in The Dark Knight Rises when Selina Kyle is attacked by henchmen in a bar. One of the henchmen is stationed behind the counter and tries to draw a weapon when the attack begins, only for Selina to shoot him before he can fire it.
  • The opening shootout from Desperado ends with the bartender pulling a shotgun to try to take out the Mariachi as he was walking away. As for how it turned out...
    Buscemi: ...No, man. The bartender got it worse than anybody.
  • Ghost Rock: When Big Bad Jack Pickett starts roughing up Miss Kitty Mattie Baker, the bartender Cash pulls a double-barrelled shotgun from under the bar and levels it at Pickett, telling him to keep his hands off her.
  • In Ghost Town (1988), Grace keeps a double barrelled shotgun beneath the bar in the saloon. She pulls it out and levels it at one of Devlin's men to stop him drawing on Langley. Langley later grabs it from under the bar to add it to his armoury of period weapons.
  • God's Gun: When Jess Clayton murders the gambler in the saloon, Saloon Owner Jenny grabs a double-barreled shotgun from behind the bar and comes out to try to take Jess to the sheriff. Unfortunately, Sam Clayton takes it off her.
  • In Infamous (2020), Arielle is almost killed when she attempts a solo convenience store robbery and is distracted by a customer entering the store. As she looks towards the door, the clerk grabs a pump-action shotgun from under the counter and looses a shot at her.
  • The shotgun-wielding bartender is among the victims of the bar Blast Out in Inglourious Basterds.
  • Johnny Reno: Charlie the bartender keeps a double-barrelled shotgun under the bar in Nona's saloon. He pulls it out when the fight between Yates and Reno is about to kick off, but Tomkins waves for him to put it away. Later it is the weapon he uses when he is one of the men laying siege to sheriff's office.
  • The opening shootout from The Killer (1989) features a bartender with a shotgun. Needless to say, it doesn't end well for him.
  • Averted in The Last Detail: The bartender threatens this, but Jack Nicholson's character points out he knows there's only a baseball bat back there because he once saw the bartender use it.
  • In Lone Hero, Smokey has a shotgun clipped to the underside of the bar in his tavern. He tries to reach for it when Bart and Dog rob the place, but Bart is too quick and jams a pistol in his face before he can get it. The second time he tries for it, it earns him a savage Pistol-Whipping from Bart that lands him in hospital.
  • Featured in the vampire western Near Dark; unfortunately for the bartender, the vampires are Immune to Bullets.
  • Petticoat Planet: When a rowdy customer fires a shot into the ceiling, Lilly the bartender whips a double-barrelled shotgun out from under the bar as quickly as The Sheriff draws her six-gun from her holster.
  • Pulp Fiction: When Butch and Marcellus bust into Maynard's pawn shop, he stops Butch by pulling out a shotgun.
  • Savaged: When Zoe attacks Jed in the bar, the bartender grabs a shotgun from behind the bar and starts desperately fumbling to load it. It does him no good.
  • In A Score to Settle, Q keeps a 9mm automatic under the bar in his club. He brings it out and conceals it on top of the bar while Frankie is in the bathroom, but ultimately decides against using it, and instead opts to tell Frankie how he can find Jimmy the Dragon and Tank.
  • Seven: When Kincella shoots Kimo at his club, Kincella's bartender — who is secretly on Kimo's payroll — pulls a shotgun from behind the bar and tries to kill Kincella.
  • The Winchester in Shaun of the Dead has the gun hidden in plain sight, but Shaun and the others initially think it's just a prop.
  • This is who finally kills The Shootist. A dying gunslinger invites three people with a grudge against him to a saloon, wanting to die quickly in battle rather than slowly from cancer. But he's so good he out-shoots his opponents, only to get shot In the Back by the bartender. Who then gets shot by the Young Gun who's just arrived on the scene.
  • After the T-800 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day beats up several bikers in a bar, the bartender confronts him outside with a shotgun to prevent him from stealing one of their motorbikes. The T-800 proves his Bad to the Bone credentials by snatching the loaded shotgun off him, as well as a pair of Cool Shades.
  • In Doc Holliday's first appearance in Tombstone, he gets in a Gambling Brawl with another card player and pulls a knife on him. The bartender starts to reach for a double barrelled shotgun under the bar, only to stop when Kate claps a pistol to his head.
  • At the end of Vigilante Diaries, Moreau and Barrington are comparing notes in a bar and become aware of a gang behind them planning to kill them. They spin round and pull guns,; gunning down the mooks. As they do, the bartender Crazy Joe pulls a pump-action shotgun from under the bar and joins in.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • In X-Men, when Logan threatens a customer with his claws, the bartender quickly aims a shotgun point-blank at his head. Logan promptly slices the shotgun in half, demonstrating why you should never bring a gun to a clawfight.
    • This trope came up again in X-Men: First Class, when Erik hunts down former Nazis at a bar in Argentina. As he controls metal, it fails even worse than the above example.
  • In Yellow Hair and the Fortress of Gold, the gambling woman takes a shotgun from behind the bar in Tortuga's and fires a "Shut Up!" Gunshot into the ceiling to quell the Bar Brawl before telling Yellow Hair and Pecos that they should get going before they start trouble.

  • Robert Rankin's The Brentford Trilogy: Neville, full-time part-time barman at The Flying Swan, keeps a knobkerrie for convincing punters of dubious manageability to leave. This being set in England, guns are far more rare than in the United States.
  • In the Callahan's Crosstime Saloon stories, Mike Callahan keeps a double-barreled sawed-off shotgun behind the bar. It's referred to several times, and shown at least once, but fortunately he never has to use it. For nonlethal situations, "Fast Eddie" Costigan, the piano player, keeps a blackjack in his sock.
  • In The Continental Op short story "Corkscrew", the diner owner keeps a sawn-off shotgun in plain sight in a barrel behind the counter. The Op borrows it at one point to quell a potential riot. The Op later realises that as he keeps this gun in plain sight, he probably has a second weapon concealed below the counter.
  • Discworld:
    • A Running Gag is the presence of a club of some description, possibly with a nail in it, behind the bar of any pub. The landlord of the Goblin's Head in Snuff is a former copper, and kept his truncheon.
    • Mr. Goriff, curry shop proprietor in Jingo, keeps a crossbow behind his counter, which his son fires at someone he mistakes for a looter. The crossbow turns out to be so deconditioned by the heat and grease that Vimes thinks you'd have to use it as a club to reliably do any damage.
  • The Dresden Files: Artemis Bock, the bookstore owner, keeps a sawn-off 10-gauge wired underneath the counter. MacAnally the bartender has one as well as two M1911s, but they're only placed to be easily accessible when there's trouble brewing.
  • The Kingkiller Chronicle: Kvothe the bartender keeps a sword behind the bar on a plaque labeled "Folly". When he pointedly ignores the sword when the bar is attacked it clues one of his patrons that he's actually a wizard in hiding.
  • Middlesex:
    When a group of men came [into Lefty's bar], boasting of having beaten a Negro to death, my grandfather refused to serve them. "Why don't you go back to your own country?" one of them shouted. "This is my country," Lefty said, and to prove it, he did a very American thing: he reached under the counter and produced a pistol.
  • Shane, as with so many other Western tropes, both codifies and inverts this. When five of Fletcher's men surround Shane in Sam Grafton's saloon, intending a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown followed by riding Shane out of town on a rail, Grafton enacts it exactly, along with what for him is a Badass Boast:
    Grafton: There will be no gunplay, gentlemen. And all damages will be paid for.
    • However, when Shane and Stark Wilson have their climactic showdown, Grafton is in the store that adjoins the bar; when he gets to the saloon, the gunfighters are between him and the bar — and the shotgun.
  • The StarCraft novelization Liberty's Crusade had the protagonist kill a Zergling with a shotgun he found behind the bar in a ghost town.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Altered Carbon the Raven hotel AI's holographic avatar grabs a shotgun to gun down the thugs trying to kidnap Kovacs, though given the ceiling mounted gatling guns it's likely just for show.
  • Daredevil (2015): During the opening of "Penny and Dime," some of Finn Cooley's men enter a bar looking for information on the Punisher. The bartender tries to draw a gun but Finn's men shoot him, then threaten the owner with a shotgun to the neck. Later in the episode, Sgt. Brett Mahoney is seen processing this scene when Matt drops by as Daredevil to find out if the Punisher is responsible.
  • In Haven, mysterious newcomer William invokes this trope in an attempt to provoke Amnesiac Resonance in Lexi, a bartender who used to be Audrey, a Haven, Maine police officer. He disassembles a handgun and leaves it on the bar in front of her, and then is "threatened" by two other armed patrons. Sure enough, Lexi quickly puts the gun back together and lets off two shots. They miss their target by a mile, but it's the moment she is a Skeptic No Longer and finally believes he might be telling the truth that she isn't who she thinks she is.
  • Although she doesn't fire it, Lindsey the bartender brandishes a shotgun while standing behind the bar when Raylan and Quarles face off in the "A Guy Walks into a Bar" episode of Justified.
  • In an episode of The Mentalist, Rigsby's father (an ex-con) is "helping" on a case, and goes into a Bad Guy Bar. Moments later several people run out. Rigsby enters and finds his father with a shiv pointed at some guy's throat and the bartender with a shotgun pointed at Rigsby Sr.
  • The Punisher (2017): In "Roadhouse Bar", Beth goes to grab the double-barreled shotgun when the Bar Brawl with Pilgrim's mercenaries turns lethal, but it's not kept loaded and she's fumbling to insert the shells while the bullets are flying.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In "Night Terrors", when a barfight erupts in Ten Forward, Guinan pulls a phaser rifle from behind the bar and fires a shot into the ceiling.
    Guinan: That was setting number one. Anyone want to see setting number two?
  • Visually homaged in The Walking Dead (2010) when Tony draws down on Rick from behind a bar.
  • The Westerner: In "Jeff", the Indian barman garbs a shotgun from under the bar and tries to murder Dave. He misses with the first barrel, and Dave ensures he never gets to fire the second.

    Video Games 
  • In Bioshock Infinite, after the player blunders into his bar, the bartender screams "WE'RE CLOSED!" and proceeds to shoot the crap out of you.
  • The bartender in Deus Ex has a sawed-off shotgun behind the counter. However, she also carries her own.
  • In Dirge of Cerberus, Vincent can retrieve the Hydra rifle in Edge from behind a bar inside a deserted building.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has a medieval variant in the Stumbling Sabrecat, a tavern right next to Fort Dunstad in the Pale. You can find a two-handed warhammer on a shelf behind the bar, though unfortunately it didn't help the bartender survive when bandits overran the fort.
  • After Bond crashes the Kiss Kiss Club in Everything or Nothing, he automatically takes cover behind the bar and acquires a shotgun.
  • Fallout 2, your potential companion Cassidy is recruited with a double-barrel Sawed-Off Shotgun as his first weapon after you convince him to stop being a bartender and follow you instead.
    • Later in the game you may end up shooting your way in or out the Salvatore bar in New Reno. The guards all have metal armor and Laser Pistols but the bartender is an ordinary guy with a double-barrel shotgun.
    • Fallout 3 has a sawed-off shotgun and its shells stored at the Statesman Hotel's restaurant, under the counter. The reference to the trope is ambiguous, as there's also an ammunition box and frag grenades behind the counter as well, implying it may be a Survivalist Stash.
  • After Jenny in Gun is taken hostage at the Alhambra Saloon, the bartender unlocks a cabinet behind the bar and pulls out what appears to be a rifle. However, after the cutscene ends he actually uses a pistol instead.
  • In the "Massacre at Cheung Chau Fish Restaurant" and "The Lee Hong Assassination" levels of Hitman: Codename 47, if 47 pulls a weapon on the bartender, he will duck behind the bar and unload a sawed-off shotgun on him.
  • At one point in the story mode of Injustice 2, Wonder Woman is sent crashing into a random bar by Cheetah. The bartender pulls out a rifle and aims it at Wonder Woman before moving his aim towards the door when he sees a door being frozen over and then busted open by Captain Cold and Reverse Flash. The bartender doesn't shoot anyone.
  • The seedy bar at the beginning of Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II comes complete with a Stormtrooper rifle hidden under the counter.
  • If you gain heat in the Mile-High Club of Just Cause 2, the bartenders will draw shotguns and start opening fire on you.
  • During Mafia's mid-mission stages, Luigi the bartender packs a sawed-off shotgun behind the bar and will not hesitate to gun Tommy down if he attacks any of his allies.
  • Bartenders in Mafia II will pull a shotgun on Vito if he tries to rob them.
  • In Max Payne, there is a shotgun tucked behind the (unmanned) reception desk in one of Vinnie's apartments, near the laundromat.
    • In Max Payne 3, the bartender at the strip club Max visits in "A Hangover Sent Direct From Mother Nature" pulls out a sawed-off shotgun when bullets start flying between Max and the local gang presence, using it to help out the latter.
  • Perfect Dark implies something similar - the front desk to the dataDyne building in the first few levels has a pair of submachine guns hidden behind it.
  • The player can do this in Poke646: Vendetta. In Nation City, there is an empty bar the player has to pass through. Picking up the shotgun makes Aliens teleport in, as convenient target practise.
  • Resident Evil 2 has one of the most convenient and straightforward versions of the trope: the owner of Kendo Gun Store, whom you run into early in the game, is unloading on the zombies from behind his counter.
  • The bartender in Space Station 13 has a shotgun in the back room. It usually doesn't see much use, but it's one of the few ranged weapons you can get on the station that doesn't come from security or antagonists.
  • In Syphon Filter 2, it's probably not a coincidence that the club mission in Moscow has the bartender shooting with a shotgun.


    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • Bartender Moe Szyslak keeps a sawed-off shotgun handy in case of cheapskate customers or when he loses his temper, which happens all the time. Or when he just wants to rob people.
    • Parodied in "The Curse of the Flying Hellfish"; not quite a bar, but when a hitman bursts into the Springfield Retirement Home spraying machine-gun fire in an attempt to get Abe Simpson, it turns out the nurse behind the reception desk has a massive shotgun hiding there.

    Real Life