1. “Two in the mornin’, got the Fatburger”: Fat Burger in Today Was a Good Day by Ice Cube
Forget about McDonald’s, if you are from LA, your fast burger of choice has to be Fatburger. This burger-slinging fast food restaurant has since grown into an international chain, but its original LA location continues to be beloved by Hollywood types and locals alike.
Rapper Ice Cube went ahead and gave Fatburger a shout-out, but he wasn’t the only one. Notorious B.I.G. and the Beastie Boys also immortalized this restaurant in song.
2. “If they've got a drink with her name in Jilly's bar, the chances are the lady's a star”: Jilly's Saloon in Star by Frank Sinatra
Jilly’s was a popular Rat Pack watering hole in New York City. Sinatra, who was always willing to treat his friends well, name dropped Jilly’s in more than one of his tunes. Even though Frankie and the owner have long since passed on, this piano bar is still going strong, serving up drinks and giving guests a blast from the past with its old-school décor.
3. “Friday night they'll be dressed to kill, down at Dino's bar and grill, the drink will flow and blood will spill”: Dino's Bar and Grill in The Boys are Back in Town by Thin Lizzy
Bob Dylan said this lyric was one of the finest lyrics ever written in the rock genre. However, the debate rages about whether or not the Dino’s Bar and Grill was a real place or not. Some speculate that it was a restaurant from Dublin, lead singer Phil Lynott’s hometown, while others insist that it’s mere fiction. Some say that the song refers to the former restaurant of showbiz legend Dean Martin on LA’s Sunset Strip.
4. “He was lookin' for the place called Lee Ho Fooks, gonna get a big dish of beef chow mein, I saw a werewolf drinkin' a pina colada at Trader Vic's”: Lee Ho Fooks and Trader Vic's in Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon
Lee Ho Fooks is a Chinese restaurant in London and Trader Vic’s is a bar that originally started in Beverly Hills but relocated to London. Both were favourites of Zevon and both proudly display his picture on their walls in thanks for his shout-out.
5. “Now, Muriel plays piano, every Friday at the Hollywood”: Hollywood Café in Walking in Memphis by Marc Cohn
If it weren’t for Marc Cohn’s song, people outside Tunica County, Mississippi, might not even know the Hollywood Café even existed. The song itself was inspired when Cohn took a trip to Memphis is see Graceland, which had became a tourist trap. On his way home down Highway 61, he saw a sign for Hollywood. Following it, it led him to the Hollywood Café where a 70-year-old woman named Muriel jammed on the piano.
6. “I was down at the New Amsterdam staring at this yellow-haired girl”: New Amsterdam Bar in Mr Jones by Counting Crows
The New Amsterdam is a bar in San Francisco where the lead singer Adam Duritz, his friend Marty, and his friend’s father all wished they had the courage to talk to two girls at the bar. However, there are so many New Amsterdam Bars in San Francisco, it’s hard to know which one they are singing about.
7. “I wish I was in Austin, in the Chili Parlour Bar Drinkin' Mad Dog Margaritas”: Chili Parlour Bar in Dublin Blues by Guy Clark
Strangely out of place in a song called Dublin Blues, the Chili Parlour Bar is actually a bar in Texas. Mad Dog Margaritas are made with Mad Dog 20/20 fortified wine. Guy Clark and his friends used to go there to drink them.
8. “We'll wind up at Jilly's right after Toot's Shore, we'll drop in at Danny's, the Little Club too, but wind up at Jilly's, whatever we do”: Jilly's, Toot's Shore, Danny's and The Little Club in Me and My Shadow by Frank Sinatra
Jilly’s was mentioned previously, but it makes it’s reappearance in Me and My Shadow by Frank Sinatra alongside some of Sinatra’s other favorite New York City hotspots. After all, a man can’t be expected to just go to one place in a city that big. While Sinatra loved Jilly’s, he had to give shout outs to his other favorites as well.
9. “I am sitting in the morning, at the diner on the corner”: Tom's Restaurant in Tom's Diner by Suzanne Vega creativecommons.org/JR
The title of Suzanne Vegas’ Tom’s Diner is a little misleading. The location it is based on is actually called Tom’s Restaurant in New York City. Tom’s has another place in pop culture as well, what with it being the favourite hangout of the Seinfeld gang, where it was renamed Monk’s Café in the show.
10. “I love it when a lady treats me kind, go to Tavern on the Green and have a glass of wine”: Tavern on the Green in Sometimes I Rhyme Slow by Nice & Smooth
Tavern on the Green is considered the iconic restaurant for classy dining in New York City. It has been referenced to on everything from Seinfeld and ElimiDATE to How I Met Your Mother and Futurama.
11. “Living out our dreams, down at the Whisky”: Whiskey A Go Go in Down at the Whiskey by Motley Crue
Whiskey A Go Go is a world famous nightclub along the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. Out front it doesn’t look like anything special, but a huge number of famous bands can trace their beginnings to playing gigs at the Whiskey, such as The Ramones, The Police, Van Halen and Blondie.
12. “Guess who eats together at the Carnegie Deli, Bowser from Sha Na Na and Arthur Fonzerelli”: Carnegie Deli in The Chanukah Song by Adam Sandler
The Carnegie Deli is arguably the best delicatessen in New York City, loved by all for slinging up huge portions of corned beef and pastrami. The food on offer made this deli a landmark in New York City.
13. “You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant”: Alice's Restaurant in Alice's Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie
You simply can’t talk about famous restaurants mentioned in music without mentioning the most famous restaurant of all – Alice’s Restaurant.
This restaurant is featured in Arlo Guthrie’s 18-minute ballad about a Thanksgiving he once had. This officially made Alice’s Restaurant the most memorable eating establishment in music. However, while Alice is a real person, the location of her restaurant has been debated. The song is based on true events, but Alice never had any restaurant. Still, making a fictional restaurant so memorable is surely a feat worthy of praise!