‘Cheers’ Producers Nearly Put the Bar in a Desert Oasis

by Megan Molseed

The city of Boston is almost another character in the award-winning classic TV sitcom series, Cheers. Ted Danson’s skirt-chasing character, Sam Malone is even a former relief pitcher for the iconic Boston Red Sox. So, it’s hard to imagine one unique piece of trivia about the series…that the location of Cheers was very nearly a desert oasis…or even a small American town.

The Cheers Crew Almost Ended Up In A Bar Deep In A Desert Oasis, Or In Small-Town USA

During a discussion with GQ Cheers co-creator Les Charles discusses early plans the showrunners had for the popular NBC TV series.

“We talked about putting this bar out in the desert somewhere,” Les Charles related in the interview.

“Or in a small town,” he adds, noting that once the final Cheers home of Boston was suggested, they knew that’s where Cheers needed to be built.

“But once we were looking at a city, we immediately went to Boston,” the showrunner explains.

Cheers Showrunners Spent Months Researching The Perfect Set-Up For the Famous Bar

Cheers’ barroom is one of the most recognizable of all time. As all fans of the popular 1980s and 1990s sitcom series know, the iconic bar where we saw Sam Malone serving up beers to a bevy of quirky characters is the kind of place where “everyone knows your name.”

According to James Burrows, another series creator, the showrunners spent a lot of time considering how they would build the iconic tavern. And, once they settled on the Boston location, the creators of the popular TV sitcom knew they had come up with their ideal plan.

“There was an accent and because it was such a distinctive town,” Burrows says of Boston.

“Working-class and cosmopolitan at the same time,” the Cheers creator adds.

Then, Burrows explains, once the location was chosen the showrunners faced the task of creating the tavern itself. To do this, they spent months “researching” a variety of local places to “study the atmosphere”; coming up with elements they wanted to include on the Cheers set. Then, one creator Glen Charles recalls, they found their perfect place.

“It was the Bull and Finch,” Glen Charles recalls.

“A bar located below street level,” the Cheers creator remembers.

“We used it as a model,” he adds. “The downstairs aspect gave us a lot of creative opportunity.”

Plus, he adds, this setup gave the creators one of the most iconic elements of the series.

“We used the image of feet on the staircase a lot during the run,” Charles remembers.