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"As a base of operations, you cannot beat a fucking saloon."
Al Swearengen, Deadwood

A place where the main characters spend much of their time, usually a bar, diner, cafe, coffee house, ice cream parlor or fast food restaurant. Extra credit if the place is named after the owner and he's a recurring character. Can also be a Malt Shop or Greasy Spoon. In any case, it's supposed to serve as a place to kill time, have fun, and/or talk. Sometimes it even serves as a show's primary setting.

The seats/couches/spot the characters typically occupy are never taken by others, as though they exude a pack-like "get off my turf!" vibe when approached.

Commonly used in sitcoms because building only one hangout set saves on the budget. The British version is My Local. Might overlap with Good Guy Bar, depending on the protagonists and setting.

Compare to The Couch and Hub Level. Sometimes a Burger Fool, but the latter trope is more focused on the employees while this is mainly about customers.

Examples of Local Hangout include:


Anime

  • Sailor Moon has the arcade Game Center Crown, and later the café above it Fruits Parlor Crown. The live action version replaces them with Karaoke Crown, a Karaoke Box. In the manga and the live action the arcade and the Karaoke Box have the Senshi' (Un)elaborate Underground Base there.
  • Ichiraku Ramen in Naruto, although mostly for just Naruto himself. Seen mainly in Filler since the nature of the series' Ninja work has them on the road a lot. Similarly, Squad Eight has some kind of pork restaurant that they go to quite often.
  • The gas station in Initial D is the hangout place for Takumi, Itsuki, Iketani, and Kenji, although the first three are mainly seen working there.
  • The Yellow Flag from Black Lagoon. It inevitably gets destroyed and rebuilt almost on the weekly basis, given the nature of the show. Bao, the owner, isn't even disturbed by it anymore.

 Bao: Ever since I set up shop here in '78, this place has been partially destroyed fifteen times and almost completely six times.

  • The Midoriya cafe of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha when the cast is on earth. It helps that Nanoha's family owns the place.
  • The South Wind Cafe in Cromartie High School.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima has the cast occasionally treating the Chao Bao Xi as one of these. Named for the student entrepreneur, partial-chef and owner Chao Lingshen.
  • In Aoi Hana, the girls love to go to a place called Milk Hall. It's actually an existing location which is not likely to be often visited by 16-year-olds, with its sober interior and old jazz music playing in the background, but it makes for a fetching setting for some of the most dramatic scenes in the series.
    • There's also the fact that the girls in Aoi Hana are not normal 16-year-olds. Even the straight ones tend to be arts/literature geeks.
    • The same place also makes a few brief appearances in Elfen Lied.
  • The Snack J, Jun's bar/dance club in Gatchaman.
  • ABCB, a coffee shop most of the cast of the Kimagure Orange Road hangs around and/or works part-time in. Its owner, known only as Master, also serves as their Obi Wan of sorts.


Comic Books

  • Pop's in Archie Comics.
  • Golden (a burger joint) shows up occasionally as this in the WITCH comics.
  • McSparky's Saloon in Ink Pen.
  • Kadie's in Sin City is frequented by most main characters. Even if a main character in a particular story isn't featured, you can be sure at least one scene will take place there.


Film

  • The cafe in British indie film Late Night Shopping
  • Much of Chungking Express takes place in a tiny pit stop where the characters like to come for a snack or a refill. One of them likes the place so much he eventually buys it.
  • Mel's Drive-In in American Graffiti.


Literature

  • In Daniel Pinkwater's Young Adult Novel, the Wild Dada Ducks meet regularly at the Balkan Falcon Drug Company, a cheap but not very good Malt Shop.
  • Meibeyer's in The Pale King, where most of the main characters spend their Friday afternoons.
  • Kill Time or Die Trying has the WARP club-room, a second home to most of the main characters.


Live Action TV

  • Arnold's in Happy Days.
  • The Peach Pit in Beverly Hills, 90210.
  • The Officer's Club and Rosie's Bar in Mash. While the Officer's Club is only for those at the base (not necessarily officers) and visiting officers, Rosie's is a bar near the base run by a Korean woman called Rosie, it is frequented by both American soliders and Korean civilians.
  • Ernie's Gym and Juice Bar in seasons 1-5 of Power Rangers.
    • In Space: The Surf Spot. The Rangers spend a lot of time away from Earth, though, so it never gets the exposure that other hang outs did.
    • Ninja Storm: Storm Chargers, the sporting goods store where Dustin works.
    • Dino Thunder: Besides being the Rangers' tech support, Hayley runs an Internet cafe where the kids hang out, and Trent gets a job.
    • Mystic Force: The Rockporium, Toby's music store, where the Rangers (and Leelee) work.
    • Jungle Fury: Jungle Karma Pizza, which belongs to R.J. and hires the Rangers.
  • Likewise, in Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger, a museum's curry shop is where the Abarangers hang out in. Most of the time it is at their HQ though
  • The Max in Saved by the Bell.
  • Central Perk in Friends.
  • Monk's Resturant in Seinfeld.
  • The Hub in That 70s Show.
    • The Foremans' basement might count too; the main cast spends so much of their time hanging out there, most of them think nothing of asking/telling Erik to leave if they need privacy (even though it's his house).
  • Cheers, the primary setting of the show.
  • Phil's in Murphy Brown.
  • The Waterfront Bar in Homicide: Life on the Street, which was also the staff hangout.
  • The Talon more often than not fulfills this role in Smallville, Clark's loft coming in at a close second.
  • The Bronze in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. According to Willow it's the coolest place in town, possibly due to lack of competition.
    • Well, the places we see are:
      • A Demon Bar (Willy's)
      • The Bronze
      • A Normal Bar, well, normal until the owner snaps and tries turning people into cavemen
      • And a normal bar that also hosts Demon Poker in the back. So, not much competition for the teens.
  • Cafe Nervosa in Frasier, although the main characters would sit at different tables most episodes.
  • Ten Forward in Star Trek: The Next Generation; similarly the mess hall in Voyager, and Quark's Bar in Deep Space 9.
  • The Zocalo bar in Babylon 5 sometimes fills this role, too.
  • The Warsaw Tavern on The Drew Carey Show.
  • Hooper's Store in Sesame Street.
  • There was a disgusting one in You Can't Do That on Television, which held this status because it was the only restaurant at all local to the TV studio that was the primary set.
    • That would be Barth's Burgery, run by the surly, slovenly Barth who proudly claimed his burgers were the only ones with "spit in the mixture." His Catch Phrase was "I heard that!," said whenever someone made a crack about the food.
      • Word of God is that it was based on the Dairy Queen that was across the street from the CJOH studios at the time.
  • Friday Night Lights had an Applebee's. Product Placement at its finest.
  • The Crab Shack in My Name Is Earl.
  • Luigi's Italian restaurant in Ashes to Ashes replaces The Railway Arms of Life On Mars
  • MacLaren's in How I Met Your Mother. Justified in that, for the first three seasons, Ted, Lily, and Marshall lived above it.
    • And explained in an episode that the reason why they usually are in the same booth is that a slightly wee bit mental Big Guy bartender forces other people out.
    • We've also seen other people take their spot in one episode, and they spend the rest of the episode trying to drive them away.
  • Kamen Rider will always have a coffee shop as the Hang Out point for the Lead Rider.
  • The Premiere Galleria in Drake and Josh, although justified in that Josh works there.
    • Oddly enough, in spite of being a movie theater, the characters rarely go to see a movie there. For some reason, the idea of hanging around the concession stand and adjoining booths is much more appealing.
      • This is actually explicitly referenced in one episode, in which Drake--exasperated--exclaims "What the heck am I supposed to do in a movie theater for an hour and a half?"
  • The Groovy Smoothie in ICarly, slightly subverted by the fact that it is frequently mentioned early on but doesn't actually appear until halfway through the second season. (Sam and Freddie frequently spend time in the Shay household, though, to the point where Spencer quips that he "doesn't recognize [them] not sitting on [his] couch." The real purpose of the Groovy Smoothie was to be able to have scenes between Sam and Freddie without either Carly or Spencer present.)
    • The pie shop in the episode "iPie" is implied to be one of these, but only appears in the aformention episode and is never seen again afterwards.
  • Mario's in Taxi.
  • The Regal Beagle in Threes Company.
  • The Pizza Bowl in Laverne & Shirley (the "Milwaukee years").
  • Rob's Place in What's Happening!!.
  • Kelsey's Bar in All in The Family. Eventually Archie bought and ran it himself, and it became the primary setting of the followup show Archie Bunker's Place.
  • The Brick in Northern Exposure.
  • Der Waffle Haus from Dead Like Me is a Local Hangout of the Greasy Spoon variety.
  • The Pie Hole in Pushing Daisies. Justified in that the main character owns it.
  • Riff's Restaurant in Mad About You.
  • Reggie's Diner in Becker.
  • Merlotte's Restraunt in True Blood, run by shape shifter Sam Merlotte. A large chunk of the cast also works there.
  • Cafe Diem in Eureka.
  • The Boar's Nest, in the Dukes of Hazzard, Owned by Boss Hogg, with Daisy Duke waitressing.
  • The Lobo in "Roseanne"
  • Bada Bing! in "The Sopranos"
  • Joe's Emerald City Bar in "Grey's Anatomy"
  • Rachel's Place in "Family Matters"
  • Martini bar in "Ally McBeal"
  • Chubbie's for seasons 2 through 5 in Boy Meets World, later replaced by the Penbroke University student lounge.
  • The Mystic Grill on The Vampire Diaries.
  • The Diner in Rules of Engagement.
  • Thirsty's in The George Lopez Show. Lampshaded at various times.
  • The Dot in Degrassi the Next Generation
  • The Vincent Van Gogh-Gogh in The Monkees.
  • The Rusty Nail in Outrageous Fortune.
  • Doc Magoo's in ER
  • The Ruby in Corner Gas
  • Fatima's in Little Mosque on the Prairie
  • Neighbours always has a cafe and a bar in the same spots in the Lassiters complex. Currently these are Harold's and Charlie's respectively.
  • Home and Away has had various Diners (the Bayside Diner, the Beachside Diner, the Pier Diner etc) and Noah's, the juice bar at the Surf Club, which serves alcohol after hours.
  • Greek has Dobbler's.
  • Kyle XY has The Rack.
  • Home Improvement has Harry's Hardware Store for Tim and his friends, and Mike's bar to a lesser extent.
  • Poor Richard's Pub in The Office, named for an actual establishment in Real Life Scranton. Given the Work Com nature of the show, it's rarely seen, but all the characters talk about it as if it's the only bar in town.
  • Crusty's Pizza Shop in Shake It Up.
  • The Royal Diner and The Founding Fathers in Bones.
  • Super Robot Red Baron has an auto repair shop that Daigo and Ken use as a cover. However, it does have a secret room that serves as the SSI's command center.


Video Games


Web Animation


Web Comics

  • In Least I Could Do, the park is this spot with Rayne and Noel. The two constantly go for walks there, have a conversation where Rayne usually makes some incredibly childish or bizarre statement, leaving Noel to do the Deadpan Snarker routine in response.
  • An unnamed neighborhood bar is frequently visited by the cast of Sluggy Freelance, though not as often in recent years. Bartender Crystal has been a very minor supporting character throughout much of the strip's history.
  • Coffee of Doom in Questionable Content. Justified in that half the cast almost the entire cast now works there, as well as it being owned by a major character. When they want something stronger, they go to The Horrible Revelation, based on a real bar in Northampton, Massachusetts.
  • The Watering Hole in The Suburban Jungle
  • The Space Bar in Adventures in ASCII
  • Hammer's bar, the Spanked Monkey, in Ghastly'sGhastlyComic. The artist stated that a bar is a good place to set a comic strip because you never have to explain why a diverse selection of people would congregate there.
  • Cross time Café is named after the place.
  • Most of the women in Rhapsodies hang out at the Peach Blossom.
  • Darren's bar serves this role in early Wapsi Square strips, but it is visited less and less frequently as the characters start to deal with things that you can't talk about in public without having people think you are crazy.


Web Original

  • Shooters, Bryan's Bowl-a-Rama, and Highland Hills Shopping Mall in Survival of the Fittest version three's pregame.
  • The Arcade in Chris.
  • Stan's Place in the Random Universe. All the heroes from DC and Marvel (and some other random comic book franchises) hang out there when they aren't ripping off Mac/PC and Old Spice commercials or other movies in general.


Western Animation


Real Life

  • The kitchen. Everyone always hangs out in the kitchen.
    • Especially for student residences with shared kitchens. The social group formed by your friends in the kitchen are much more likely to meet there at dinnertime than with everyone else in the common room.
  • Starbucks was conceived as sort of a universally known local hangout.
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