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location: Merlotte's Bar & Grill
Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?
A small town restaurant and bar.
Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?
In Bon Temps, Louisiana.
Q. When did we see it on the show?
A. In virtually every episode on the show, far too many to list here.
Merlotte's (pronounced Mer-LOTS) is a gathering place for most of Bon Temps' eccentric characters.
The first time we see Merlotte's is at the start of the very first episode, where we see Sookie Stackhouse (a telepath) waiting tables - and being almost overwhelmed by the thoughts of all the customers in the place.
We meet Bill Compton here in that same episode, arriving as Merlotte's first vampire customer. He orders a bottle of "Tru-Blood", a blood substitute for vampires (now that they have come out of the coffin).
Sookie's best friend, gets hired as bartender, by Sam Merlotte, the
owner of Merlotte's (and
a shapeshifter), while Tara's flamingly gay cousin, Lafayette, works as
the short-order cook (when he's not pushing "V").
Q. What is it actually, in real life?
A free-standing building on a studio back
lot (as well as a series of interior sets).
Q. Where can I find it in real life?
A. Merlotte's Bar & Grill exists in two different forms:
The Jungle at Warner Bros has an interesting history. It was originally built for a 1956 Alan Ladd movie ("Santiago"). It consists of a large lagoon with a roadhouse, cabin and barn by its shore, and a small pond & waterfall, all surrounded by lush foliage.
Over the decades, it has passed as Sherwood Forest (in "The Adventures of Robin Hood"), as a jungle (in the "Tarzan" films), as the woods in "The Dukes of Hazzard", and even as Ireland (in "Finian's Rainbow"). They have used it for numerous productions over the decades, including TV shows such as "The Waltons", "Maverick", "Bonanza" and "Fantasy Island", as well as movies such as "Camelot", "Private Benjamin" and the John Wayne war movie, "The Green Berets".
For "True Blood", they made some major improvements on the existing building, adding a new front, some stonework, landscaping, and a new paint-job, as well as all those neon signs. (Sam's trailer home is also nearby.)
If you take the guided studio tour (which is available to the public on a daily basis), you'll be shown this forested area, and the wood building that is used now as Merlotte's.
Warner Bros Studio is located at 4000 Warner Blvd, in Burbank, California, which is on the east side of the Valley (a short drive from NBC Studios, Disney Studios and Universal Studios).
here for 360-degree panoramic photos of the jungle and its buildings
It's a huge set, including not only the bar and dining area, but also Sam's office, kitchen, hallways and even bathrooms.
For the second season, they had to pack up and move those big sets a mile west to another studio in Hollywood, now called "The Lot" (it was previously called Warner Hollywood Studios, and before that, Samuel Goldwyn Studios, United Artists and Pickford-Fairbanks Studios.)
You'll find Hollywood Center Studio at 1040 N. Las Palmas Ave, in Hollywood, CA. And you'll find The Lot at 1041 N. Formosa Ave, Hollywood, CA.
photo below was shot back in 2006, before they remodeled the Jungle shorehouse
Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?
A. I shot photos of this Jungle area ages ago, when I first took the Warner Bros VIP Tour, so I assumed it was the same place.
But neither HBO nor Warner Bros have tried to keep it a secret, so there are now photos of the Merlotte's exterior all over the web (signs and all), shot by other people taking the same studio tour.
True Blood screenshots from the show & all related characters &
elements are trademarks of and © HBO.
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