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
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.