It’s no surprise that the Cheers bar is one of the top five tourist attractions in Boston–as the Cheers theme song says, we all know everybody wants to find someplace where things remain the same. And even when you’re nowhere near home, a good bar can make you feel a little like it’s not far away.
We’ve watched all 275 episodes of Cheers, right through its 11 seasons from 1982 to 1993. So, despite Boston’s many other attractions, from the Boston Tea Party to the Boston Red Sox, we scheduled a stop in the city just to visit Cheers.
The fact is that finding interesting little bars, pubs, and taverns–it doesn’t matter what name they go by–is one of the key things we do when we travel. There’s something “real” about the atmosphere in a pub or bar that you just don’t get walking through local museums, no matter how well done they are.
And Cheers, well, we all know the television show was filmed on a set somewhere else, but the real stories took place once you walked down those stairs to the lower level of the centuries old brownstone brick building on Beacon Street originally called the Bull & Finch Pub.
Our trolley tour driver did a great job of connecting the dots, pointing out such things the old post office where Cliff worked, and Fenway Park where Sam and Coach put in their glory years. He told us about the writer who’d sat in the bar working on a script to pitch–and how the script had changed over the weeks to turn the real Bull and Finch Pub into the world we came to know as Cheers.
Visit Cheers Bar in Boston
But, of course, it’s really all about sitting down at Cheers and ordering a mug, isn’t it?
The first thing we did was walk down the stairs to the lower level at Cheers, but unlike the set of the television show, it’s a small, cramped bar with limited seating space. Since we were starving we didn’t wait for a seat.
Instead, we went upstairs, where they’ve renovated the bar to look more like the Cheers we’re expecting after watching it for so many years on tv.
As well as being a bar, the real Cheers also serves food. I loved the menu! Each of the cast members has a “section” from Ma Clavin’s soups to Woody’s Garden Greens to Diane’s entrees, which included our choice–Rebecca’s Fish & Chips.
Service was extremely fast and efficient–I don’t think we waited more than 15 minutes for our meal to arrive. The food was tasty, and not, as we’d expected in a city that we’d already found to be pretty pricey, overly expensive at $13.95 a person for four pieces of fish, fries, and coleslaw.
We’ll be the first, though, to admit the bright sunshine pouring in the windows while we ate kind of detracted from the feeling that we were sitting at Cheers. However, it was still well worth the visit just to soak up a little of the Boston atmosphere that inspired one of our favorite television series.
Here’s a great YouTube interview that gives you a little bit of history about Cheers:
Visit Cheers in Boston
The Cheers Bar (Bull and Finch Pub) original location is at 84 Beacon Street.
While I stressed over making sure the Trolley Tour I was booking had it on their list of stops, we discovered while we were there that it’s on all of the tours. It’s also just across the street from the Boston Common, so if you’re not taking a bus tour, you can just take the subway to the Park Street stop, cross the Common, and walk one block to Beacon Street.