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Top Five Movie Bars (Private)

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When I started the Top Five Lists last month, I promised that I would feature some private home bars that are pretty amazing. Today, dear readers, is that day. These are the bars that I wish I had in my own house- the ones I want to come home to after a long day at the office. Sadly, the generic freestanding bar in the corner of my living room is going to have to do for now. Without further ado, the Top 5 Movie Bars (Private):

1)  The Clutterbuck Home, The Party

party bar

This is pretty much the ultimate in home bars. Mid-century modern styling, a fire pit, a bar that disappears with the flip of a switch to make room for a dance floor, enough vodka to make a beautiful starlet fall for a homely waiter, and a parrot in the corner. Howdy Par-ten-er.


2)  Jackie Treehorn’s house- The Big Lebowski



Porn stars, White Russians, an Epcot Spaceship Earth ceiling, and furniture made out of concrete. All the ingredients for a good time.


3)  Jorgenson Residence- A Summer Place

Summer Place

A Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house, on the beach, with a fully loaded cocktail bar. I’ve just described my personal version of heaven.


4)  Mrs. Robinson’s house- The Graduate

mrs robinson house

Classy and seductive, just like Mrs. Robinson herself.


5)  Greenville club, Django Unchained



This skirts the line at private because it appears to be some sort of 1800’s speakeasy in a Victorian house, but certainly the guest list is limited.  I’m not a fan of the, ahem, “entertainment”, but the bartender looks mighty competent.  Is that a coconut tiki drink I spy in Leonardo DiCaprio’s hand??

A Summer Place

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Image Credit Warner Bros, 1959, A Summer Place

Image Credit Warner Bros, 1959, A Summer Place

True confession: I’m a sucker for any movie with Sandra Dee in an A-line dress. I’m also a sucker for melodramatic movies of the 1950’s, the type that would have been playing at a drive-in movie theater. This week’s Cinema Sips pick, A Summer Place (DVD) fulfills both criteria. I must have caught this movie on AMC back in high school (when they actually showed classic films) and from the moment I laid eyes on Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue as two star-crossed teenage lovers, I was hooked. Throw in cardigan sweaters and preppy boat shoes, and well, we may as well just call this a perfect movie.

A Summer Place is about two teens who find themselves together on an exclusive New England resort called Pine Island for the summer. Troy Donahue plays the son of the innkeeper, and Sandra Dee is the daughter of a family that comes to stay. As it turns out, Sandra Dee’s father (played by Richard Egan) used to be involved with Troy Donahue’s mother (played by Dorothy McGuire) when he was the lifeguard there as a teenager, and even though each married other people, they never forgot each other. As you can guess, romance rekindles between the parents as it blossoms among their children. The writers of this film’s script make the ensuing adultery pretty convenient, since she’s married to an alcoholic and he’s married to a racist. OF COURSE they’d have affairs. Admittedly, it’s a soap opera, complete with wonderfully melodramatic music, kooky supporting characters, and hysterical overacting. But the scenes of ocean waves crashing against craggily rocks, afternoon sailing, and a cocktail hour where everyone dresses up make me swoon. It’s what summer should be.

This film was an easy choice for Cinema Sips because it features some great drunk scene-stealing by actor Arthur Kennedy. He tells it like it is, even when “it” happens to be that his wife is sleeping with her former lover again. He’s an alcoholic for sure, but a dignified alcoholic. None of those bar fights or crying meltdowns that movie alcoholics are traditionally known for. So in his honor, I’m mixing up a great standby WASPy summer drink- a Pine Island Gin & Tonic.

Pine Island Gin & Tonic

1.5 oz Bombay Sapphire Gin

3 oz Fever Tree tonic water

Lime wedge

Sprig of Rosemary for garnish

Build ingredients in a tumbler full of ice. Squeeze a bit of the lime juice into the glass, stir, and garnish with rosemary and lime wedge.


I’m adding a sprig of rosemary to this because it mirrors the pine trees surrounding the inn. And it fancies up a drink that, admittedly, is pretty simple. But in summertime, when it’s hot out, this is the drink that I make more often than anything else. It’s easy, delicious, and really hits the spot. Be sure to use the best ingredients though, because when you’ve got a simple drink, it’s abundantly clear when you’ve skimped on quality. I like to fix one of these and imagine I’m sitting at Richard Egan’s Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home bar, as I listen to the ocean waves crashing and watch Troy Donahue stroll down the beach in his short shorts and cardigan sweater.   Très jolie, as the French would say. Très, très jolie. Cheers!