location: The Blue Room Bar.
What is it supposed to be on the show?
A. A bar.
Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?
A. In Miami.
Q. When did we see it on the show?
A. In Episode 1 (of Season 3), "Our Father".
Debra and Dexter have a tradition of toasting their father (Harry) on the anniversary of his birthday.
But Dexter is reassessing his opinion of Harry, in light of learning that he cheated on their mother.
So he stands her up for their annual rite-of-passage at the Blue Room bar.
We see Debra sitting alone at the bar, drinking, depressed, and looking at the photo of her dad on the bar's wall.
Angel enters the bar and sits next to her... He tells her that he's taking her off the Prado case, which makes her even more upset. She switches her drink from cranberry juice to alcohol.
Later, we see the exterior of the bar, after dark, when Debra gets out of her car and is confronted by the pushy Internal Affairs agent, who is still goading her about not having her shield.
Q. What is it actually in real life?
A. An actual bar, but not in Miami.
Q. Where can I find it in real life?
A. In real life, it's Godmother's Saloon, at 302 W. 7th Street, in San Pedro.
That's at the northwest corner of 7th and Centre St. An old sign on the side of the brick building reads "Hotel Cabrillo".
Besides the exterior shot below, they also filmed the interior scenes inside this bar as well. (Most of the somewhat eccentric decor inside the bar appears to be genuine - including that taxidermied swordfish on the wall.)
They added the blue neon signs and the blue & white stripes in front, but otherwise, what you see is what you get.
(The bar has its own website, at GodmothersSaloon.com.)
Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?
A. I didn't. I spent months trying to hunt this one down, and failed miserably.
I could see from the screencaps that signs on the building next door appeared to read "Seven Days" and "Liquor", so I guessed that the name of that neighboring store was "Seven Days Liquor". In fact, there are several "Seven Days Liquor" stores in greater Los Angeles, but this wasn't one of them. So that was a dead end.
It turns out that they are two separate stores: a "Seven Days Food Store" to the right and a liquor store to the left.
And, of course, the Blue Room neon signs on the front of the bar are fake. So I wound up just checking street corners in the show's usual haunts (Long Beach & Hollywood) to no avail.
I'd probably still be looking for it if I hadn't received a helpful tip that it was in downtown San Pedro. (Thanks.)
After tracking down the bar's exact address and its name ("Godmother's Saloon"), I Googled for photos of the bar's interior, found them, and was able to quickly confirm that the scene's interior shots had been filmed there as well.
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