Thursday, December 07, 2006

Real Fake

I live in the same block as the bar/restaurant that inspired the TV series Cheers. I rarely go there, but the other evening we had an out-of-town friend who "kinda" wanted to see it and we obliged. Here's a howler I found on their menu: "Please Visit the Authentic Replica of the Cheers Hollywood Set in Faneuil Hall Marketplace."  Don't know where to begin except by asking just what an "authentic replica" is that a "replica" isn't. And to offer that, before it was the Cheers Bar it was the Bull and Finch Pub, which didn't look all that much like the Cheers Bar (and the bartender didn't look like Sam Malone) which sort of makes the  Hollywood set a "fake replica" to begin with.

But the visit got me thinking of what this place was like in the years B.C. (Before Cheers).  There was a dart-throwers pub downstairs (where I rarely went); a very nice, very beautiful, very grownup piano bar on the second floor; and a middling-but-decent-and-quite-pretty restaurant above that. When Cheers madness was at its height, all of this was given over to pub-extensions and gift shops to cater to the masses who were continuously lined up outside.

I've noticed over the last few years that the Cheers crowds in general are diminishing - although not as rapidly as one would have suspected, given that the TV show's been off the prime-time air for years. Gradually, the place is being "restored" to what it was like in an earlier time. Last spring, I had a drink in the piano bar.  Not quite the same as it was in the day, but then again, I'm not the quite the girl I was either. As replicas go, it was pretty authentic. 

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