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Five more movie nightclubs we’d like to visit

Five more movie nightclubs we’d like to visit (photo)

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Last week, we told you about Silencio, David Lynch‘s new nightclub in Paris, based on a spot first featured in his 2001 film “Mulholland Drive.” Our excitement over this new venue got us thinking: what other fictional nightclubs deserve to be converted to real working establishments? Fertile ground for a list, says I.

So here we go. The list is entirely subjective and based on only one rule: no real places. Since this all started with a director taking a fantasy and making it a reality, this piece had to work the same way. Picking places that really existed would be cheating. Hence you won’t find 2001 Odyssey Disco from “Saturday Night Fever” below; it was an actual Brooklyn dance club (at 802 64th Street) spruced up with a little movie magic (the production brought in the signature light-up floor).

In one case, someone already has granted our wish and made one of these places. But it’s in Morocco, so for the time being, it’s going to remain a pipe dream. But that’s fine. If reality was exotic and exciting as the worlds depicted in these movies, we wouldn’t need to go to the movies in the first place. And now raise your glasses, for a toast to these great movie nightclubs.


Club Obi Wan
From “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” (1984)
Directed by Steven Spielberg

I love that this is a movie nightclub that operates entirely on movie logic. Kate Capshaw’s Willie Scott is doing her show in 1935 Shanghai, and then she steps inside that dragon’s mouth and suddenly we’re transported into “Gold Diggers of Indiana Jones.” Dozens of tap dancers on an enormous set of stairs, all performing inside this tiny dragon head, in a space that none of the audience in the nightclub can see. Truly, this is a place where anything goes. Plus, show up on the right night at Club Obi Wan (yes, we all get the reference George Lucas, thank you) and you might get to sit at the table over from Indy himself; maybe you could invite him over and then give him something very exciting on the Lazy Susan.


The Silver Sandal
From “Swing Time” (1936)
Directed by George Stevens

Here’s another hotspot from the 1930s, which was clearly the Golden Age of Movie Nightclubs. With America suffocating under the Great Depression, movies lured audiences with tales of decadent escapism, replete with impossibly opulent nightclubs. These places look so expensive you wonder if the star could even afford to drink there. There are a lot of super-cool 1930s movie nightclubs — “Hot Voodoo,” anyone? — but if I’ve got to pick just one, I give the nod to The Silver Sandal from Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’ “Swing Time.” It’s just so grand with that cavernous ballroom, enormous dance floor, swooping staircases, and iconic art deco design elements. Boozing it up in a tuxedo while you take in an evening’s entertainment by Astaire and Rogers? There isn’t a single way that’s not awesome.


The Cell Block
From “Cocktail” (1988)
Directed by Roger Donaldson

See, this one could only exist in the movies too. The Cell Block, a jail-themed dance hall where people pay a massive cover to… stand around quietly and listen to the bartender recite poetry? Hooooookay Hollywood screenwriters, whatever you say. Of course, the guy serving the verses and vodka is none other than Tom Cruise, and let’s face it: if you heard Cruise was tending bar in town, you’d show up. Plus, Cruise and Bryan Brown’s mixology floor show, complete with bottle tossing, hip shaking, terrible-looking Turquoise Blue drinks, is super cool. (admit it: you’ve tried to copy their moves at least once. C’mon, just fess up. We all have.) Of course it takes Cruise and Brown about ten minutes to make one drink, and they seem to be the only two bartenders serving a club with hundreds of customers. Wait, why do I want to go to this place again?


Rick’s Cafe Americain
From “Casablanca” (1942)
Directed by Michael Curtiz

Obvious? Yes. But how can I leave off the most famous gin joint in all the world?
Granted, having to share the space at the bar with Nazi officers is a major downside. But Rick’s Cafe Americain is the site for one of romantic movies ever made, and everyone, man or woman, who’s ever seen the film has fantasized about going there in 1942 and falling in love at the roulette wheel while Dooley Wilson’s Sam sings “As Time Goes By.” How many “beautiful friendships” have blossomed metaphorically at Rick’s, over date nights at the local repertory house? More than I can imagine; it is one of the signature locations in all of the movies. And, hey, if you do happen to find yourself in Morocco, be sure to visit Rick’s Cafe Casablanca, built in 2004 as a monument to Humphrey Bogart’s joint. It’s got a bar, a full menu, and, of course, a piano player. He takes requests.


Hot Traxx
From “Boogie Nights” (1997)
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

It’s no 2001 Odyssey Disco, but it’ll do. Plus it has porn stars. Hot Traxx is the Odyssey-esque club that serves as the setting for the amazing opening to Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Boogie Nights.” Maybe it’s just the vibe bleeding off the endless long take that Anderson uses to capture the scene, but the place looks so freaking cool; the lighted floor, the stage, the Christmas lights hung throughout. Clearly Maurice (Luis Guzmán) has excellent taste, which is why folks like Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) and Amber Waves (Julianne Moore) like to hang out there. And since Rollergirl (Heather Graham) can wear her skates in there, you know their dress code policy is lax. Good atmosphere, good tunes, and you could do the hustle with John C. Reilly’s Reed Rothchild while Mark Wahlberg buses your dirty dishes. Sign me up.

What movie nightclub would you like to visit? Tell us in the comments below or on Twitter and Facebook!

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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