The recent annual report from WordPress tells me that Into the Mystic Pizza was my second most popular post of the year. Who coulda known? That reminded me I haven’t written about a more recent (and shorter) road trip, to the Cheers bar at the foot of Beacon Hill (across from the Public Garden) in Boston.
I never watched the TV show very much, but oddly my kid and his fraternity brothers got on a Cheers kick via Netflix streaming. So we agreed to take a bunch of them to the bar for his birthday.
Unlike the Mystic Pizza restaurant, the Cheers bar wasn’t the inspiration for the series, and wasn’t even named Cheers when the show started — its original name was the Bull & Finch, presumably playing on the name Charles Bulfinch, who was the architect of the Massachusetts State House, just up the street from the bar. The show just used the bar’s exterior for some establishing shots. The owner subsequently decided he’d make more money capitalizing on the TV show’s success, so he changed the name (and added a second location at the touristy Faneuil Hall Marketplace).
Here’s the exterior (not my shot, since we were there at night):
The interior doesn’t look anything like the TV set, of course. And nobody knew our names. But it had a sports bar vibe. The Celtics game and the BC-Notre Dame game were on the many TVs, which was way better than the endless loop of Mystic Pizza you have to endure down in Connecticut. The menu says that the bar is the inspiration for the hit TV series. Well, that’s a stretch.
The menu was Cheers-themed. A couple of folks decided to have Norm burgers, which did not look especially healthful to me, even with lots of ketchup:
If you finish the Norm burger (including the fries) you get an award of meritorious achievement. Here my son and his fraternity brother display their certificates. Sure makes a parent proud!
Like the Mystic Pizza restaurant, the bar has a small shop for buying merchandise, featuring everything from shot glasses to onesies (“I don’t even know my name”).
The bar isn’t really worth a road trip — it wasn’t even worth a drive in from the suburbs. The food is average, the ambiance nothing special. But if you want an eating certificate, I guess you could do worse.