Every city has that one place where all visitors tend to be drawn, but, once they get there, they only end up filling duped and disappointed.
What’s that one place in Boston that’s super-touristy and has no sense of place?
The bar from the TV hit show Cheers is located in the Beacon Hill neighborhood and actually was named the Bull & Finch Pub. The NBC sitcom ran from 1982 to 1993, and the exterior of the bar – with the name on the sign changing and the stairs leading down to the entrance – was seen in the opening credits. The interior of the actual bar did not at all resemble what was depicted on television.
Nevertheless, devoted fans made their way to the famous watering hole, expecting to find a familiar setting and a welcoming cast of friends inside the watering hole. In reality, the interior was unfamiliar, and the bar was crowded with a bunch of tourists.
The show actually ruined what was once a pretty good bar. In fact, Boston magazine deemed the Bull & Finch, which originally opened in 1969, to be Boston’s best bar in 1982. In 2002, as a nod to the ongoing popularity of the TV show, and probably as a money grab, the Bull & Finch Pub was officially renamed “Cheers Beacon Hill”. They also opened a a branch location, named Cheers Faneuil Hall, at popular Faneuil Hall, and it was built to resemble the one on the show.
What can visitors expect to find at Cheers Beacon Hill today?
- Everyone will not yell “NORM” when you walk inside. Nobody will know your name.
- The food is average bar food – but you didn’t really come here for the food, anyway.
- There is actually a good selection of beers, and a souvenir mug can be had for only $7.
- There’s plenty of other over-priced Cheers souvenirs available for sale.
- Looking for Cheers memorabilia? It’s everywhere. Take some pictures.
- There is a bar created to look like the set – it’s upstairs.
- The place is crowded with tourists and small.
Should you go?
Go if you feel a need to tell people you’ve been there. The place is close to Boston Common and Newbury Street, so it’s no big deal to stop in if you’re in the area. But, be warned: the image in your head of the bar is likely better than the reality – and cheaper.
Our advice: Boston has great neighborhood bars all over the place – try one of those instead.