As William Shatner prepares to be launched into space aboard a Blue Origin rocket today, many wonder whether the 90-year-old actor will finally fulfill his spoken-word dream of becoming Rocketman, or will pre-flight jitters get the best of him?
Speaking at the annual New York Comic-Con, the actor famous for his portrayal of the intrepid captain of the USS Enterprise on the original Star Trek series recently said, “I’m Captain bloody Kirk and I’m terrified!”
Of course, one way to combat that kind of fear is to nudge those feelings into the background with the aid of a bit of alcohol. After all, booze has often been featured throughout various scifi-based films and shows; perhaps the writers instinctively understood the terror that floating free in the inky blackness of space is likely to instill in a person.
Background: Coping mechanisms in space
In the newly rebooted Star Trek, James T Kirk gets tipsy at a bar, picks a fight with some impressively aggressive folks, and proceeds to have his butt handed to him.
Even the aliens are at it. Remember E.T? Left home, that wrinkly little miscreant indulged in a few lagers from the fridge. Unfortunately, this leaves his best buddy, Elliot, drunk and on his posterior thanks to their psychic link.
So, since booze in space is a given, let’s look over some of the best options to fly down to in order to relax with your favorite tipple.
Analysis: 10 popular Sci-Fi bars to get yourself nicely inebriated
1) Star Stek Next Generation: Ten Forward
Located on deck 10, in the most forward position of the saucer section on board The Enterprise, Ten Forward was the poster child for a functional drinking establishment. Its setting is barren, perhaps even clinical, and certainly isn’t the place to go for a wild time. If you’re looking for fun, try the Holodecks.
But with a great view of the stars, a long bar to prop up against, and numerous tables for small groups to quietly converse at, it was a getaway from the day-to-day grind of being a Starfleet officer.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, virtually no alcohol was served on board The Enterprise. Instead, Synthehol is served, offering the same highs as alcohol, but without the negative impacts of hangovers and functional impairment. The Star Fleet Survival Guide states that the drink can be “easily neutralized by low volumes of natural adrenaline.”
Still, Guinan was known to slip the real thing to various officers from time to time when asked nicely.
Opinion: Not bad for a little mood lift, but head elsewhere if you need something more upbeat. Granddads will fit in well, as long as they don’t get too boisterous.
2) Babylon 5: The Zocalo
Located in Red 05 aboard Babylon 5, The Zocolo was home to many bars, kiosks, and shops. It was a central point for races around the universe to meet up and enjoy a drink or a meal together. Babylon 5 was a diplomatic hub, striving to bring peace to space, yet a great deal of ground was taken or given in the unofficial meetings in the Zoccolo, most notably between G’Kar and Londo.
It was also a large and accessible location, resulting in it being shut down on numerous occasions as civil unrest grew in the wake of the renewal of war between the Centauri and Narn, the Earth Alliance declaring martial law, and incidents with interstellar artifacts.
The Zoccolo had many humorous storylines that rumbled on in the background, not the least of which was the shop stocking dolls of the most notable leaders of the station, thankfully without realistic attributes.
Opinion: An excellent little spot for chatting and enjoying a meal over a few alcoholic beverages. Probably best to avoid heated discussions on politics here, though.
3) Star Wars: The Mos Eisley Cantina
Set in a galaxy far, far away, the Mos Eisley Cantina, on the planet Tatooine, served as a rough and ready stopover for a thriving criminal underground. Smugglers, gangsters, and murderers all lurk.
With strong drinks for sale and frequent outbreaks of violence, it’s probably best avoided unless you’ve got a substantial supply of henchmen willing to laugh at all your jokes and take down any potential threats before they arise.
Not much entertainment can be seen at the cantina, but if you keep an eye out for the Star Wars Holiday Special, you can enjoy Bea Arther singing while working a shift in the cantina.
Opinion: Great diversity, but with a high probability of being shot at before you’ve even two beers in.
4) Battlestar Galactica: Joe’s Bar
Joe’s Bar is a drinking establishment onboard the Galactica, a Battlestar class vessel. Tucked away in a storage area on one of the hangar decks, the bar is decorated with the shell of a suspended Viper Mk II, which tells you a lot about the sort of clientele you’ll find yourself amongst.
The pilots, engineers, and deckhands that frequent Joe’s are hardened veterans. Many of them are deeply jaded and just looking for a good time. This makes for a somewhat toxic environment of one-upping each other. Thankfully, they have various activities to vent their pent-up aggression upon, such as a pool-like table game, arcade games, and, from time to time, turning to a little one-on-one action in the non-privacy of their bunk rooms.
Opinion: If you’re the type to work hard, play hard, this may be the joint for you. Fistfights are expected, in a friendly we’re-all-in-this-together kind of way, and the drinks are freshly distilled on-site.
5) Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy: Milliways.
If all that is a little too hardcore for you, there is always Milliways, the restaurant at the end of the universe. It sits at the end of time and matter, allowing diners to view the end of the universe.
Remember to make your reservations once you return to your original timeline. The price of the meals is exorbitantly high. Still, if you remember to deposit a penny in any standard account, the compound interest will more than cover it over the 170 quintillion years before your dinner date.
You’ll need an Infinite Improbability Drive to get there unless you happen upon an exploding hyperspatial field while on the planet where Milliways will one day be built.
Opinion: It’s a great place to unwind, enjoy a meal and pick a wine from the three volumes of drink options.
6) Terminator 2: Biker Bar
Okay, not such a great bar, it’s true. But who wouldn’t want to be a fly on the wall when the T-800 strolls in, naked as a Jaybird, walks up to a biker and demands his clothes, his boots, and his motorcycle.
Cue hilarity as one biker promptly flies majestically through a plate glass window while another is tossed like steak onto the grill. A further biker valiantly tries to diffuse the situation by putting the Terminator down will a pool cue, which doesn’t end well. Still, there’s a strong chance that his biker buddies will buy him a drink. Once he gets out of the emergency room.
Opinion: Perhaps one to avoid, unless you’re part of the gang. Terminators are uncommon, but bar fights are probably not.
7) Killjoys: The Royale
The Royale is located in Old Town, on Westerley. While the planet is a dive, The Royale tries valiantly to live up to its name. The owner, Pree, hires a trio of trainer mercenaries to guard the doors and keep the peace. Alcoholic drinks flow, bar games are available, and local singers are regularly brought in to liven the joint up.
Upstairs there are sex workers to suit most patron’s tastes and an on-site doctor to heal up any injuries a visitor might come in with or acquire on site. Did we mention the mercenaries?
Opinion: A definite must-see. Lively patrons, entertainment, and other indulgences. A generally safe establishment as long as you don’t seek out trouble or happen to time your visit to coincide with an attempted planetary genocide.
8) Star Trek Deep Space 9: Quarks
Quarks is a special place that lives in the heart of all Star Trek fans. Run by the devious, corrupt little Ferengi, for whom the bar is named, Quarks is a lively joint, frequented by a wide range of races, where all are made welcome and their needs catered to. For the right amount of Gold-Pressed Latinum.
Beyond a wide range of food and drink, Quark frequently had entertainment in the bar, not to mention the often mentioned holosuites out the back, where whatever you can imagine can be programmed for you.
Opinion: Quarks is a fun place to visit. While the star trek universe tends to push a very wholesome viewpoint, you can really let your hair down or get your lobes rubbed at Quarks.
9) Total Recall: The Last Resort
Thanks to the cheap domes, and no air to clean out the rays, Venusville is home to a range of mutants and prostitutes grouped together as the poorest of Mars’s inhabitants. Contained within the dome, The Last Resort introduces us to the concept of a triple-breasted sex worker. If that’s your thing, the bar is a crowded, popular joint with upbeat electronic music that is very in keeping with its late 80’s creation.
Opinion: Lurid, seedy. Probably great fun just to sit and watch the ebb and flow of patrons. If you’re looking for a good time, “get your arse to Mars.”
10) Quantum Leap: Al’s Place
Al’s Place is the bar that Sam Beckett finds along his quantum leap journey, improving and even saving the lives of many of the people he encounters. Al’s Place appears only in the final episode. The bartender, Al, seems to know all about Sam’s travels and his desire to get back home. As Sam spends time talking to Al, it becomes clear that he’s chatting to God.
Opinion: If you need to finish your bar crawl with something a little calmer than the previous offerings, what can be more gentle than a beer and chat with your preferred deity? Of course, be prepared to find out more about yourself than you might be ready to accept.
Outlook: Not all bars are equal.
What makes the perfect fictional bar? Do you prefer a lonely gin joint, a traditional wood-paneled pub, or a festering strip club? What Science-fiction bars do you feel should have made it onto our ten best Sci-Fi bars list?
Like drinks, there is a different flavor for everybody. Which one is yours?
Between rock climbing, sky diving, and saving up for a ticket to space, Matt Staples loves to write. Okay, he doesn’t do any of those other things, but he does love to write. His favorite topics are anti-heroes, dystopias, crazy sci-fi, and researching side hustles for his entrepreneurialblog.