In the real world, teenagers hang out with each other all the time outside of their homes and schools. Typically they like to keep things varied and go to a few different places. But in the Wonderful World of Television, it seems as though kids always have one favorite place to hit up every single day. It’s The Hangout to them, and every moment these teens aren’t in class or at their lockers, they’re ordering fries and shakes at the usual table (if anyone else ever sat there, it would rip the fabric of the time-space continuum.) If someone’s got a hot date, they’re taking them to the Hangout. If someone needs a job, they’ll get a convenient one at the Hangout. If someone’s planning a surprise party, school dance, or Battle of the Bands and needs a venue, they can host it at the Hangout.
Because these sweet spots tend to turn up once-an-episode, audiences become just as attached to them as characters do. They gain a cult following in the non-fictional universe that is sometimes even more devoted than the fictional one. You can find t-shirts bearing their logos, Facebook pages dedicated to them, and fans fantasizing about owning their own restaurant or club and modeling it after one of them. In honor of these eminent establishments, here is a list highlighting some of the best Hangouts in TV history.
7. The Smash Club – Full House
Even though they had to share the hottest nightclub in San Fran with their entire extended family, DJ and Stephanie Tanner actually had it pretty sweet with the Smash Club. Being the nieces of the owner, their names were always at the top of the list, they had guaranteed jobs as bar waitresses, and there’s always a slot for them in the talent competition. It pays to have a rockstar uncle!
6. Chubbie’s – Boy Meets World
Chubbie’s Famous is the place to be for all John Adams students (and teachers.) First time diners may have trouble ordering through the special code, but the Double Chubbie Cheese is totally worth it. Tragically, Chubbie’s was sold and turned into Pegleg Pete’s pirate-themed restaurant just before Corey, Shawn and Topanga graduated, but it lives on in the hearts of fans everywhere.
5. The Bronze – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The patron mortality rate might not be super desirable, but any club that holds an annual fumigation party and lines up bands like Garbage and Dingoes Ate My Baby is certain to serve up jokes times. It’s a great place for everyone – popular kids, nerds, librarians and demons alike. Just be careful if a stranger invites you to the alley behind the Bronze. You might want to bring along a really pointy stick.
4. The Dot – Degrassi: the Next Generation
The Dot Grill has been a strong mainstay for this teen drama (currently in its tenth season,) outlasting most characters. Since its debut, the Dot has seen many legendary events in Degrassi history, including Paige’s disastrous attempt at waitressing, the shooting of Spinner Mason, and several extracurricular club meetings. It’s even survived an explosion and still manages to be the coolest coffee joint in Toronto.
3. The Peach Pit – Beverly Hills, 90210; 90210
This retro diner is the coolest place to be in the hottest zip code in the U.S. It’s got everything – tasty burgers served by ex-actor and all-around good guy Nat, and tastier drama served by the Walsh twins and their perpetually angsty circle of friends. Though remodeled into a more contemporary look, the Peach Pit is still frequented by the kids of West Beverly Hills High. Just don’t expect to see Color Me Badd there anymore.
2. Arnold’s– Happy Days
Arnold’s Drive In is one of the earliest examples of the Teen Hangout as it is utilized in television. Richie, Potsie, Ralph and pretty much everyone on the show spent more time here than they did anywhere else, including school, work and their own homes. The Fonze even set up his office right in the bathroom, so he was never too far from business. Sadly, the original Arnold’s set was destroyed after Happy Days’ cancellation, but it will forever remain a true icon of American culture.
1. The Max – Saved By the Bell
Hey, hey, hey! What is going on here? Well, at the Max, pretty much everything’s going on! Zack Morris and his buddies learned as much about life and love in this awesomely dec’d out diner as they did in the halls of Bayside High. They’d flirt, fight and study for finals from their usual red vinyl booth, and fans longed to join them for years. Popular theory holds that Heaven is actually a giant version of the Max where you get to participate in outrageous themed parties and zany schemes (usually involving spandex) for all eternity!
That’s all for now, gang. Catch you at the usual spot next time!