Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

5 Nightclubs More Interesting Than Studio 54

Spurred by the public's mild tolerance of the 70s period drama Swingtown, Showtime is reaching beyond the risqué suburbanite couples Twister nights of the era, and straight to the heart of disco debauchery with Studio, a 70s period drama about a place that has been documented to death, Studio 54.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

The 1970s era of disco, drugs and excess is coming back with "Studio," a drama series project for Showtime centering on the iconic New York nightclub Studio 54.

"Studio" centers on flamboyant co-founder Steve Rubell and starts off in the months leading to the club's April 1977 opening.

But "Studio," which is in development, will be a fictional series and not a biopic or docudrama. Rubell will be the only real person featured, with the rest of the characters fictional or composites.

"The show is less about the history of Studio 54 than it is about New York in the late '70s, what people were going through, the political and social issues," Hodge said. "Studio 54 is the backdrop for exploring that."

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I hope the creators of the show stick to the "Studio 54 as backdrop only" idea, but even so at this point it's a pretty worn-out backdrop. After 54 and Last Days Of Disco, not to mention an exhaustive E! True Hollywood Story and an A & E documentary, as well as the two-hour Studio 54 episode of Behind The Music that was basically the entirety of VH1's programming schedule for the better part of two years, "Making a TV show about Studio 54" could easily replace the expression "Beating a dead horse." The moon-with-coke-spoon statue, the remarkable entrance of Bianca Jagger on a white horse, the sex in the balconies, the colorful cast of regulars—it's just not interesting the millionth time around. In fact, here are a few night spots that would make better backdrops for TV series than the mangled horse carcass of a pop cultural touchstone that is Studio 54:

1. Plato's Retreat, NYC

If you're going to do a late 70's period drama about debauchery and excess, why not do it about a members only sex club? Cut to the chase, Showtime. Also, this way you don't have to hire anyone to play Andy Warhol in an inevitably laughable cameo.

2. Bennigan's, any location

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Hubris, disgusting sexual tension, ambition, soggy mozzerella sticks: the founding of this chain of (now almost defunct) faux-Irish-pub-themed restaurants back in the crazy days of 1976 Atlanta, is basically Studio 54 without the music. (And even if it isn't, just make it up. Anything is better than watching Steve Rubell hide bags of money in the ceiling again.)

3. Temptations, Jersey Shore

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How is it that two movies and countless TV documentaries have been made about Studio 54, and yet MTV's True Life is the only outlet brave enough to cover the overtanned terror that is the Jersey Shore nightlife mecca, Temptations? For the crispy-curled girls and be-gelled guys of the Jersey Shore, Tempts is Studio 54–minus all of the celebrities, and covered in a thick, sticky layer of body glitter and terrible techno.

4. Houlihan's, Penn Station

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What brings people to this dingy, underground, overpriced train station bar (besides alcoholism and/or severe boredom)? Can the regulars ever wash the depression of the place off of their bodies, brains, and spirits? Whose idea was it to put in a fake window that looks into the neighboring Roy Rogers? All of these questions and more could be explored by Showtime's groundbreaking new series about late-00s ennui, The Bar/Restaurant In Penn Station

5. This place, New Orleans



A strip club with a mechanical pair of mannequin legs coming out of the side of the building—a sculpture much more interesting than that tired, old, drugged-out crescent moon.

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