Molly’s Pub is a staple on Chicago Fire. It’s been the hangout of choice for the 51 since season 1, and has gone through several different iterations on its way to becoming the safe haven it is now.
The show does such a good job of evoking the mood and atmosphere of Molly’s Pub that some fans have wondered about the bar’s legitimacy. Is it a real location? Or is it merely a soundstage that’s made to look real?
Here’s what you need to know about Molly’s Pub on Chicago Fire.
Is Molly’s Pub a real location on Chicago Fire?
Molly’s Pub is not a real place. Well, technically. There isn’t a bar named Molly’s Pub that exists in Chicago, but there is a bar whose interior closely resembles it, because its the basic for the interior design. The real-life bar is called Lottie’s Pub, and its been around since 1934.
Lottie’s is located in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago, and was a godsend for the producers, who wanted a bar location that felt timeless and authentic. The bar’s co-owner, Mark Domitrovich, discussed the process of being chosen on the Lottie’s official website:
“The show was looking for a corner tavern in the middle of a neighborhood”, he recalled. “That’s a dying breed. They said we were the No. 1 pick and that they didn’t have much of a backup.”
The cast and crew shot at Lottie’s Pub during the first season, but the headache of having to close off the area, coupled with the rising popularity of the show, made it increasingly tough to maintain. A soundstage version of the pub was created in season 2, and has been used ever since.
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Domitrovich also cited the involvement of another One Chicago show, Chicago PD, as part of the decision to move to a soundstage. “With Chicago PD also filming at the bar, it got to be a bit much”, he revealed to the Chicago Tribune. “It’s just such a big part of the story. For them to have to pay to shut us down a day, set up, break everything down — it was a lot of work on their end.”
While Lottie’s Pub may not technically appear onscreen anymore, the bar has benefited greatly from its involvement with Chicago Fire. They regularly get visits from fans who want to have a drink in the same spot as their favorite character, and they even have Fire-inspired items on the menu (they also sell Chicago PD and Med burgers).
It’s definitely worth a visit if you ever find yourself in the Bucktown area of Chicago.
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