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Cheers - Boston tavern "where everybody knows your name" on the situation comedy CHEERS/NBC/1982-93.

Cheers Tavern in Boston

Cheers was located at 112 and 1/2 Beacon Street across from the Boston Common, in a basement level below Melville's Fine Sea Food restaurant. It was owned by Sam "May Day" Malone, (Ted Danson) a former relief pitcher for the Boston Red Sox.

His support staff regulars at the bar included:

  • Ernie "Coach" Pantusso (Nicholas Colasanto), an absent-minded former baseball manager who helped Sam at the bar
  • Diane Chambers (Shelley Long), a waitress Sam's love interest (who left the series in 1987)
  • Carla Tortelli (Rhea Perlman), a divorced, wisecracking waitress 
  • Woody Boyd (Woody Harrelson), a naive, country boy from Indiana replaced Coach as bartender
  • Norm Peterson (George Wendt), a portly accountant
  • Cliff Clavin (John Ratzenberger), a verbose postal carrier
  • Dr. Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer), a erudite psychologist and Diane's former lover were the regulars at Cheers.

Cast of CHEERS
Cliff, Coach, Carla and Norm (front) Sam and Diane

Originally called "Moms," Cheers was formerly owned by an aging ex-fan dancer who ran it as a brothel providing room and board. Carla Tortelli, the superstitious waitress, convinced Sam Malone to change the founding date on the bar's sign from 1889 to 1895 because the combination of numbers in 1889 were bad Karma according to her numerological charts.

When Sam Malone romance with Diane Chambers failed, he sold the bar and planned to sail around the world until his ship sank. Returning to Cheers, he accepted a position as bartender under the supervision of the bar's new manager, Rebecca Howe (Kirstie Alley), a frustrated business woman who never seemed to get ahead in the corporation that now owned Cheers.

Woody Harrelson as Woody Boyd and Kirstie Alley as Rebecca Howe - CHEERSwidth=
Woody Boyd and Rebecca Howe

Through a quirk of fate, Sam regained the bar for the price of one dollar, when he helped its owners fight off a hostile take over initiated by Robin Colcord (Roger Rees), a millionaire who used Rebecca Howe to get vital information from her company's computer. During the 1991 season, Sam and Rebecca become partners in Cheers.

Some trivia points about the bar:

  • A sign behind the bar summed up Cheer's credo: "This is a square house. Please report any unfairness to the proprietor."
  • The moose head at Cheers was called Dave
  • The wooden Indian that stood by the inside of the front entrance was called Tecumseh
  • Cheer's closing time is 2:00 A.M.
  • The bar's legal capacity is 75
  • Sam Malone and the patron's of Cheers had an intense rivalry with a local bar called Gary's Old Town Tavern.

TRIVIA NOTE: The Cheers bar which rested on stage No. 25 at Paramount Studios was actually a model of the Boston pub known as the "Bull and Finch" located in the basement level of the exclusive Hampshire House at 84 Beacon Street in Boston, opposite the Boston Public Gardens.

The bar's name was a pun on colonial Boston's distinguished architect, Charles Bullfinch who designed the State House located a few block up Beacon Street from the bar.

The real bar (owned at the time by Tom Kershaw) became so popular that its backroom was named "Cheers" in honor of the series.

The seafood restaurant called Melville's which was located upstairs from Cheers on the TV series was inspired by the Hampshire House/Library Grill upstairs from the Bull & Finch.

The TV stage set for Cheers was created by art director, Richard Sybert and set director, George Garnes, who used photos taken of the Bull & Finch by the program's producers Glen and Mary Ann Charles, to duplicate the pub's great oak bar, red leather stools, (26 stools fit around the bar) tile floor and brass fittings.

The photo seen in the program's opening credits is the actual entrance of the Bull and Finch. The door of the real Pub swings out (not in) as on the TV series.

After the final episode of CHEERS, a crowd of some ten thousand people congregated outside the entrance of the Bull and Finch as NBC's TONIGHT SHOW host Jay Leno broadcast live from the bar and interviewed members of the show's cast.

In an interview in TV Guide magazine (11/17/90), James Burrows, executive producer of CHEERS stated that the Bull & Finch had become a tourist trap and all its intimacy was gone....and that he had taken a lovely neighborhood bar and "ruined it."

In 1990, it was announced that a franchise of look-alike Cheers taverns were to be built in airports and hotels from New York to Los Angeles. The list included such locations as:

  • Washington, D.C.
  • Anchorage International Airport
  • Christchurch International Airport (New Zealand)
  • Detroit International Airport; Kansas City International Airport
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport; (the first franchise)
  • St. Louis-Lambert International Airport
  • Boston-Logan International Airport
  • Las Vegas-McCarren International Airport
  • Savannah International Airport
  • Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport
  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport
  • Vancouver International Airport (British Columbia, Canada)
  • Memphis International Airport.

The National Enquirer (2/1/94) reported that Ted Danson negotiated the right to keep the actual bar used on Cheers after the series ended. The beer served on the series was a non-alcoholic brand called Kingsbury. See also - "Norm Peterson's Stool"


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