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SFF Restaurants and Bars We Want to Go To

By Julia Bergen

There are tons of reasons to want to live inside your favorite SFF novel, but have you ever considered what restaurants and bars you would hit up? Let’s take a tour of the best ones!

First stop: The Sol Majestic from The Sol Majestic by Ferrett Steinmetz

Why we’re going: THE FOOD

We’re starting at the most delicious restaurant in space, The Sol Majestic! Located on the aptly named Savor Station (have you ever heard of a space station that sounds so delicious?), The Sol Majestic doesn’t just let anyone eat there. People line up to be selected, and then the owner, Paulius, decides who is worthy of tasting his elite cuisine, based on how they answer the question, “Why do you love food?” Some days he doesn’t even let anyone in. You’ve never tasted dishes like these before, as the technology simply doesn’t exist yet. Paulius specializes in extremely difficult to produce ingredients, like mosses from asteroids and seafood raised in vinegar oceans. Okay, maybe those don’t sound delicious, but we’re dying to try them!

Second Stop: The Bumble Bee Cabaret from Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly

Why we’re going: Jazz Age Perfection

We can get a nice cocktail at The Bumble Bee Cabaret, and take in a show. What could be better? Especially when that show is political intrigue. The Bumble Bee’s emcee, Aristide, is also a smuggler, and having an affair with secret operative Cyrio De Paul. The scandal! Throughout Amberlough, The Bee is portrayed as a bright, sparkling atmosphere, contrasting it to the dark underbelly of political factions throughout the city. The best kind of restaurant is one where you can go and escape from the world, and the glittering, gin-swilling world of The Bumble Bee Cabaret is just that.

Third Stop: MacAnally’s Pub from The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher

Why we’re going: See some Fae PLUS Mac’s cooking

Designated neutral ground by the feuding factions of Chicago’s supernatural world, this is one of the only spots in the city (or anywhere, for that matter) where you can see a queen of the fey enjoying a lemonade a few stools down from a werewolf going to town on a steak sandwich. Everything in the bar is designed to defuse magical energies, keeping patrons safe from each other’s shenanigans. That’s enough to make this a stop all on its own, but also, everything Mac makes sounds absolutely delicious. It’s no wonder the supernatural community insists on everyone having access to his cooking (and so they can have neutral ground for discussions, but you know it’s more about the food). His steak sandwich absolutely sounds worth risking an encounter with a vampire over.

Fourth Stop: Milliways from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams

Why we’re going: The view

Also known as the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, we’re going here to witness the end of time. Milliways exists at the end of the universe’s timeline, right before everything is destroyed in a reverse Big Bang. Don’t worry, Milliways is in a time loop, so we’ll be safe from actually being disintegrated. The view doesn’t just pertain to the view outside, since the patrons of the restaurant itself are just as interesting to look at, coming from all over space and time to dine here. The food and cocktails are also quite good, including an above average Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, the best drink in the universe. Please limit yourself to just one, we’re only halfway through the tour!

Fifth Stop: The Inn at the Crossroads in A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin

Why we’re going: People watching

There are plenty of places to get an incredible meal in Westeros, but most of them are in the halls of the great houses, where you’ve got just as much chance of having a mouth-watering feast as getting poisoned. We’re much safer hitting up this inn/pub. It goes by various names, and has had various owners as the old ones get murdered (we’re just not going to find a place in Westeros where there’s zero chance of murder), but many major events of Game of Thrones revolve around this place. It’s where Catelyn Stark takes Tyrion Lannister hostage, where Sandor Clegane gets injured in a bar fight, and where Brienne of Tarth has a noteworthy encounter with Lady Stoneheart. We don’t know a lot about the type of food they serve there, though it sounds like typical Westeros smallfolk fair—bland and dry. That’s fine though, we’re going here for who we might run into rather than what they’re serving.

Sixth Stop: The Stone’s Throw/The Setting Sun/The Scorched Bone from the Shades of Magic series by V. E. Schwab

Why we’re going: Maybe an Antari will show up!!

V. E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic trilogy follows the fates of four interconnected Londons. They have very few things in common, but they’re all called London, they’re all on a river, and they all have a tavern at the exact same spot. In our magic-less, Grey London it’s the Stone’s Throw, in the magical Red London it’s The Setting Sun, and in the brutal White London it’s The Scorched Bone. There’s probably a tavern in Black London too, but we don’t talk about Black London. The drinks at The Stone’s Throw are watered down, but it would be worth it to stand in a place that spans four worlds. Plus, Antari, people with immense magical power who can travel between worlds, often frequent all versions of this tavern. We’ll be keeping watch for someone with one all-black eye.

78 thoughts on “SFF Restaurants and Bars We Want to Go To

    1. I agree. Any list of this nature that doesn’t mention Callahan’s is not a very good list.

      Maybe the article author isn’t old enough to remember those stories, but if she’s going to write stuff like this, she should do a better job of researching the topic.

    2. Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon (Spider Robinson) and the Draco Cafe (Larry Niven) should both be any list of this sort. At least she mentioned MacAnally’s Pub. Even if this is an opinion piece, the author should have done her homework and the list suggests that she doesn’t know her classic SciFi.
      If only there were a pub on Barsoom!

    1. Definitely! Otik’s spiced potatoes are legendary. I even tried making them from the recipe (published in “Leaves from the Inn of the Last Home”), but I always think they’ll taste better than mine. I also tried the Kender Kiffles (puff pastry filled with jam). They are really tasty but highly caloric (requires at least a stick of butter AND cream cheese. iirc).

  1. You forgot Callahan’s Crosstime saloon from the Spider Robinson Callahan stories. Also The Old Phoenix Inn from various Poul Anderson stories. I can think of several others, that I can’t remember by name or story.

  2. Callahan’s (in a series of books by Spider Robinson) surely merits inclusion on this list. So does the Eolian from Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles. And how did Quark’s not make it on here, either?

    Others I would visit include:
    The Green Dragon (in the Shire) and the Inn of the Prancing Pony (in Bree), from The Lord of the Rings
    The Compass Rose in Haven, where the Artificer students hang out (Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series)

  3. Maybe Julia Bergen doesn’t like puns, and therefore didn’t put Callahan’s on this list? 😜

    I’d like to visit Kvothe’s inn and remind him he has a story to finish.

  4. > Any list of this nature that doesn’t mention Callahan’s is not a very good list.

    Any list of this nature is subjective, and will always be followed by other excellent suggestions in the comments.

  5. I knew the restaurant at the end of the world had to be on this list. The Vulgar Unicorn from Thieves World would be interesting and the Pub Between the Worlds in The Chase for Choronzon would make a great hang out with all the gods and magicians and such.

  6. How can you mention the Inn at the Crossroads and leave out Hot Pie and his amazing bread? The secret is to brown the butter, first…

  7. Definitely Callahan’s, but my two favs (mouth waters thinking about them) Huido’s “Claws and Jaws” – best restaraunt in the Trade Pact Universe! and “Fresh Air”, the only 5-star restaraunt on Babylon 5!

  8. I have just spent a very nostalgic half hour wandering Wikipedia, looking over Spider Robinson’s entry. I heave my glass into the Callahan’s fireplace, at its omission from this list……

  9. Interesting topic. I would add:
    Tales from the One-Eyed Crow: The Vulgmaster (short story adapted as a graphic novel by David Keller and Alex Niño) (1991)
    (Tales from the) Red Slipper: More Tales of Mithgar by Dennis McKiernan
    and, of course, Gavagan’s, the Draco Tavern, Callihan’s and The White Hart.

  10. I’m surprised no one has mentioned The Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade.
    And yes, Raytracer—Bamboo House of Dolls from the Sandman Slim series for sure!

  11. How about the Prancing Pony from The Lord Of The Rings? Not only is the food delicious and homelike, but you get to see some interesting people? Surprised that didn’t get a mention.

    The Cantina in Star Wars: ANH may not be safe, but there’s a great jazz band playing!

    And the Old Unicorn, the Inn Between The Universes, in Poul Anderson’s novels. You can meet people from all over time and space there!

  12. Spider oh Spider… why wont you tell us where. Callahans is hidden, so we can do our
    drinking there” lyrics from Callahans bar by Jordin Kare
    you have compiled an interesting list, but its missing far too may good ones

  13. Me, I’d pick the Prancing Pony, and Julie Czerneda’s Trade Pact bar “Claws and Jaws.” Then there’s Neil Gaiman’s bar in the Sandman series (can’t remember the name): you might even meet Dream.

  14. throwing my hat in for “Breakfast all year” – the restaurant from Cruise Ship “Vashtara” in the Fledgling novel of the Liaden Universe. The place where Theo Waitley meets the scout Win Ton for the first time.

  15. There’s hundreds, if not thousands, of restaurants that could be included on this list. Many works of fiction have a famous or infamous restaurant in them which is critical to the story. A few missing is to be expected.

  16. Just for kicks, I tallied the list through Draco’s reply. Excluding my votes (Callahan’s, White Hart, and Vulgar Unicorn), there were 35 places mentioned (assuming Anderson’s Old Unicorn and Old Phoenix are the same place). Fifteen got more than one vote with Callahan’s at 27; The White Hart at 5; The Prancing Pony, Last Home, and Cowboy Feng’s tied at 4 each; The Draco Tavern at 3; Valabar’s, The Mended Drum, The Eolian, Gavagan’s, The Compass Rose, The Vulgar Unicorn, Claws and Jaws, The Old Unicorn/Phoenix, and The Cantina all getting 2.

  17. Just as an offhand comment:
    Several of these establishments were more for drinking and less for food, thus making them perhaps ineligible for the list of restaurants? I mean, Callahan’s was primarily alcohol, and had little if any food.

    1. there was some food, peanuts and popcorn, and stuff for sandwiches mostly. called
      “The Free Lunch”
      mention is also made of an all night deli accross the road

  18. Title reads “Restaurants and Bars” to me, JCG, so I don’t think Callahan’s would be excluded. That was one that made my list when I saw the title, also Milliways (which was my first thought), Draco Tavern, and the Eolian… still and all the pointers to a couple of other books / series are appreciated. Hopefully they live up to the hype. 😉

  19. 30 Ways to Piss Off Geeks

    1. Post a list of something.
    2. See 1.

    If the OP hasn’t yet, take in some Callahan’s and edit the piece. If it’s not your thing, it’s not, but if you’re talking about by popularity, note the feedback.

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