The only thing missing from Saved by the Max was Jessie Spano having a caffeine pill-induced breakdown.
Otherwise, the Saved by the Bell pop-up restaurant was almost an exact replica of Zack Morris' favorite hangout — the neon Max sign was lit up next to the door with a squiggle handle, the booths were red and glittery, and there were random geometric shapes on nearly every surface.
Saved by the Max first launched in Chicago, and its Los Angeles iteration recently closed after nearly a year — a pretty substantial run for a temporary establishment. I went with a few friends before it shut down forever last month and, while sitting there eating Mac & Screech and secretly hoping Mark-Paul Gosselaar would walk through the front door, I started thinking about all of the other television show-themed pop-up restaurants and bars the world needs.
Why stop at The Max? Let's make Beverly Hills, 90210's After Dark and Friends' Central Perk real destinations. Here are just a few places I'd love to see pop up somewhere:
Beverly Hills, 90210's Peach Pit and Peach Pit After Dark
The Peach Pit and Peach Pit After Dark were just as familiar to viewers of the original 90210 as Casa Walsh, the West Beverly High School campus, and Donna and Kelly's beach apartment that no college student deserved to live in. For the Peach Pit, a jukebox is essential, as well as retro booths and tables and an old-school counter. Throw a bunch of photos of old Hollywood stars on the wall and pay Joe E. Tata, a.k.a. diner owner Nat Bussichio, to come in and greet people, and you're in business.
The After Dark wouldn't be too difficult to replicate, either (in fact, a Chicago bar recently set up an homage to the club) — find a large space, build a stage, set up a bar, and then call Christina Aguilera, the Flaming Lips, or one of the other bands who famously played at the club during the '90s to see if they're available for a set or two. If they're not free, Jamie Walters might be willing to dust off Ray Pruit's denim jacket and take the stage. Did he ever fully explain to us how you talk to an angel?
Full House's Smash Club
Fans of Full House love to make pilgrimages to the San Francisco home that was filmed for exterior shots of the Tanner family abode (it's actually for sale, and can be yours for the low price of $5,999,999, Uncle Jesse not included). For those who would rather not harass innocent homeowners, there should be a pop-up Smash Club where they can gather for a drink and a performance. Stephanie's band Girl Talk can play a few songs, Joey can bust out Mr. Woodchuck, and Aunt Becky can bribe people into coming to their shows.
Riverdale's Pop's Chock'Lit Shoppe
A lot has gone down in Pop's Chock'Lit Shoppe on Riverdale, but attempted murder would be forbidden at the pop-up version. To get Riverdale's noir feel down, the lights will be dimmed, and what the heck, let's throw a smoke machine in there, too. To keep things simple, the menu doesn't need much more than a variety of desserts. For liability reasons, rooftop performances of Kelis' "Milkshake" will not take place during inclement weather.
Seinfeld's Monk's Cafe
Monk's Cafe isn't real, but the exterior is — those neon letters belong to Tom's Restaurant at the corner of Broadway and 112th Street in Manhattan. A true Monk's Cafe pop-up must include a brightly-lit sign, but it would only have to serve big salads, slices of pie, and coffee. You know visitors would check the bathrooms to see if there was a square to spare, so a giant supply of toilet paper would probably be the biggest expense.
Friends' Central Perk
When climate change inevitably destroys the Earth, the last polar bear will watch as a chunk of ice floats by carrying a television playing "The One With the Prom Video." It doesn't matter that the Friends finale aired in 2004; people are still obsessed with the show and the reruns will always be on television. That's why a pop-up Central Perk, with a basic menu of coffee and pastries and a giant couch always hogged by one group, would consistently have a line out the door and a gift shop unable to keep up with demand. For a month in 2014, there was a pop-up Central Perk in New York City to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Friends premiere, but this is something that needs to be brought to the masses.
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia's Paddy's Irish Pub
This is the place you go to feel better about yourself and your life choices. A pop-up Paddy's would be drab and dour and you most certainly would want to avoid the bathroom. Add a few extras from the show in character and an extensive liquor selection, and that's a recipe for grimy success. Once your visit's done, you can walk away, grateful to return to your life that now seems pretty fantastic.