Shot for Shot

Barfly (1987)

Mickey Rourke interprets Charles Bukowski’s heaviest drinking days through a transformative performance. Watch as he fumbles through bar fights, odd jobs, drunk conversations, and even drunker love.

The Bar: “The Golden Horn,” actually filmed in a real bar called “Big Ed’s”—many of the regulars actually appeared as extras in the film.

Suggested Pairing: To put it in the words of the unlikely protagonist, “almost everything.” As a bonus, when raising your glass, be sure to make the toast, “To all my friends.”

Light of Day (1987)

Michael J. Fox is in a band with his bratty, rocker sister Joan Jett, and they tour despite their mom constantly bitching at them. Finally, Michael J. chooses to be the stand-up guy and stay home with his nephew, while the kid’s mom joins The Hunnz because she’s tired of people telling her what to do, and she just wants to ROCK!

The Bar: Many scenes were shot at the (kind of) legendary Euclid Tavern in Cleveland. Defunct for a good portion of the early-2000s, the loveable “Euc” is now open for business again and home to a second delicious location of “Happy Dog,” which gives any gourmet hot dog a run for its money.

Suggested Pairing: Sure, Michael J. Fox threw back cans of Colt 45 in the film, but you’ll probably just want to stick with a Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale.

After Hours (1985)

A lesser-known gem by Martin Scorsese stars Griffin Dunn as a bored and lonely computer word-processing consultant who hopes to escape his droll existence with a night out. A phone call to a girl leads to him running for his life through late-night New York, an angry mob at his heels. One of his moments of solace comes in the dive bar Berlin, where he surrenders his last pocket change to the jukebox to play Peggy Lee’s “Is That All There Is?”

The Bar(s): The “Terminal Bar,” as it was called in the film, is actually The Emerald Pub in SoHo, NYC, and is still going strong. “Club” Berlin was a well-known punk and goth club in the ’80s, shown here in its original location at Broadway and Houston.

Suggested Pairing: Lots of coffee. It will enhance the frantic and paranoid pacing of the film.

Urban Cowboy (1980)

Bud (John Travolta) falls for Sissy (Deborah Winger) and they hastily marry, but she won’t stop riding that darned mechanical bull! This challenges his beyond delicate Texan male ego. They fight. Bud finds a city girl who loves cowboys, Sissy finds a sexy felon in black mesh … you know, to get even with each other. They realize their mistakes and get back together. Hold on to yer hats; lots of kissin’, cussin’, fightin’, and two-steppin’ will ensue.

The Bar: Gillie’s, which some might call a “honky tonk,” but you and I know it’s really just a giant dive. Gillie’s was an actual bar in Pasadena, Texas, until a falling out between owners. Burnt to the ground, it later reopened in Dallas.

Suggested Pairing: Lone Star, if you want to replicate some of the most shameless product placement in history, or maybe you’ve been sitting on a secret stash of Urban Cowboy from Seventh Son and Rockmill Brewing—two decidedly different Belgian stouts, as sweet and scrappy as the love dynamic between Bud and Sis.