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The Shining

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Image credit: The Shining, 1980

I always thought the scariest place a person could be is in The Overlook Hotel with a murderous Jack Nicholson and a whole bunch of angry ghosts. Not to mention, those hallways of hypnotic carpet patterns! But that was until I made the decision to renovate my home. A decision which has forced me to become trapped, in increasingly smaller spaces, as the days and weeks bleed into one another. Suddenly, this quote from The Shining (Disc/Download) makes so much sense: “A kind of claustrophobic reaction which can occur when people are shut in together over long periods of time.” Let’s just say, I’m looking increasingly vacant-eyed over my keyboard. The dog is calling out to Scatman Crothers.

Directed by Stanley Kubrick, The Shining is based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, inspired by his own stay at a Colorado resort (the Estes Park Hotel, which I can personally say is quite lovely… in the summer). Jack Torrance (Nicholson) moves his wife and son to a remote hotel for the winter, accepting the job of caretaker. As a writer, he thinks an empty resort will be the perfect spot to work on his novel. However, the ghosts of the hotel have other plans for the Torrance family. Slowly, Jack begins to go mad, while his telekinetic son senses the presence of the hotel’s previous dead occupants. Little Danny has a touch of “the shining”, just as the hotel itself “shines”. There are a lot of hallucination scenes in this, several times involving a bathroom. I too have been hallucinating a bathroom during long stretches of isolation, so this part of the film makes sense to me. When Jack and I dream, we dream of a beautiful, spacious retreat fit for a luxury hotel. My nightmare is that I’m as old as the decaying woman in Room 237 by the time my soaking tub gets installed, but that’s probably just the claustrophobia talking. Surely, my contractor will get his act together by then.

Another dream sequence involves one of my favorite movie bars, host to many glamorous parties throughout The Overlook’s storied history. Lloyd the bartender may have served up a mean Bourbon and Advocaat, but I prefer to take my cocktail cue from Danny. While watching The Shining, I recommend drinking this variation on the Negroni, a Redrum cocktail.


1 oz Dark Spiced Rum

1 oz Campari

1 oz Sweet Vermouth

Blood orange slice

Combine rum, Campari, and vermouth in a mixing tin with ice. Stir until chilled, then strain into a glass over a large ice cube. Garnish with a slice of blood orange.

If you’re not typically a Negroni drinker, this may change your mind. Rum gives the cocktail a sweeter, spicier edge, and I actually prefer this to its gin-based cousin. It’s the perfect drink to toast five miserable months of home renovation, and the irreparable harm it has caused me. Cheers!

Top 5 Movie Bars (public)

In honor of Cinema Sips’ one year anniversary, I’m launching a new feature- Top 5 Lists! Inspired by John Cusack’s “Top 5” picks in High Fidelity, these lists are by no means scientific and totally based on personal opinion.

To kick things off, this week I’m highlighting my Top 5 Movie Bars that are open to the public (we’ll get to private home bars in movies another week).

To all my readers who have found me over the last 12 months, thank you so much for following this blog.  I’ll keep drinking, watching, and writing if you keep reading!

1) Hollywood Star Lanes bar, The Big Lebowski

big lebowski alley bar

White Russians, Sam Elliott, and the Dude. Bar wisdom: “Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear, well, he eats you.” Wait, what??


2) The Overlook Hotel Bar, The Shining


OK maybe this one skirts the line at being “public” since it’s pretty much just Jack Nicholson and a creepy bartender, but hey- sometimes a man needs solitude. I’m in love with the weird lighting, tin ceilings, and ghosts of guests past.


3) The Park Hyatt Tokyo Bar, Lost in Translation

lost in translation bar

It looks like they make a mean vodka tonic. And they have a delightful house band called Sausalito. And Bill Murray hangs out there. Does it get any better?


4) The Double Deuce, Roadhouse

double deuce

Two words:  Patrick.  Swayze.


5)  The Winchester, Shaun of the Dead

the winchester

While I’m sure a cocktail would be hard to come by in this beer-centric pub, I give major props for pub snacks and Queen on the jukebox. If a zombie apocalypse were to descend on my city, you’d better believe I’d be headed to a bar. Snacks, alcohol, and Freddie Mercury- what more do you need?


*Honorable mention: Rick’s Café Americain in Casablanca. My personal distaste for African desert climates and Nazis kept it out of the top 5, but those cocktails and piano music are swoon-worthy.