Dexter Filming Locations: Isaak's bar

DEXTER Filming Locations - hundreds of actual places where the TV show Dexter was filmed.

The location: Isaak's gay bar

Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. A gay bar.

Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. Somewhere in Miami.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 8, of Season 7, "Argentina".

    Dexter is stalking the Ukrainian mob boss Isaak at night.

    He follows him into a bar, planning to use a half dose of his usual knock-out hypo and then walk him out of the bar as a drunk patron.

    But once inside, Isaak deliberately identifies him by name to the bartender, foiling Dexter's plans.

    Dexter notices it's a gay bar, and Isaak confirms that he is gay.  And that Viktor, whom Dexter killed, was his lover.

    Dexter tries to persuade Isaak to just walk away from his vendetta (an unusual offer from Dexter, to spare a victim), but Isaak is determined to have his vengeance.

    The two then engage in a lengthy conversation about the unreasonable nature of love and the human tendency to imagine an ideal refuge.

    "It's a shame, really." Isaak tells Dexter. "Under different circumstances, I think we could have been great friends."

    And with that, Isaak leaves the bar.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. Two places: the back door of a sports bar/arcade (for the exterior), and the interior of a second bar.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. In two different cities, about 30 miles apart.

    One for the exterior shots, and one for the interior scene.

  • For the exterior night shot, where Dexter pulls up outside the bar (following Isaak), they shot that scene outside the back of Yankee Doodles, a popular (mostly straight) hangout in the Belmont Shore section of Long Beach.
  • It's a mix of a divey sports bar, restaurant and arcade, offering billiards, shuffleboard, ping pong, darts, etc.

The official address of Yankee Doodles is 4100 E. Ocean Blvd, Long Beach.

But in this scene we first see its back side (which faces a small street called E. Olympic Plaza), as Dexter watches Isaak enter the bar.  On the other (south) side of that small street is the Olympic Pool, the nearby Belmont Pier, and the La Palapa café where they filmed the earlier scene of Isaak confronting Dexter.

The scene might lead you to believe that Dexter then drives a few more feet and parks at the curb on that back side. But when Dexter parks and walks into an alley, they actually cut to the front side of the building, and he enters the alley from that (north) side.

I shot the photo below, of the back of Yankee Doodles, back in 2008. The alley to the left is
the same one we see Dexter walk down after he parks his car (only we see the other end).

Here is an aerial photo of Yankee Doodles. And here is a map link.
Here is a Google StreetView.
of the back of Yankee Doodles.

And here's a front view of Yankee Doodles.

  • For the interior scenes, we have to go some 30 miles to the northwest, to a Hollywood nightclub called The Well, at 1536 Argyle Ave.  (Although. for some reason, the address is often given as 6255 W. Sunset Blvd, which is actually the larger office complex that The Well is part of.  The Well is on the east side of that building, facing Argyle.)

It's close to both the Cinerama Dome and the Palladium.  And it's less than a block south of the club where they shoot the Fox Hole exteriors.

I haven't been there, but from what I read online, it doesn't appear to be a gay bar in real life.  The place gets raves for its happy hour, and for being a fairly mellow, low-key spot, given its Hollywood location.

Rick shot the photo of The Well exterior, above, during filming in 2012

    And the door to The Well, below - draped for the filming, to keep out unwanted light.

    Here is an aerial photo of The Well.  And here is a map link.
    Here is a Google StreetView of The Well. 

    UPDATE: The Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool, mentioned in this article, was demolished in early 2015.  They discovered seismic deficiencies in the old building, so they torn it down. It will eventually be replaced with a new pool.

    La Palapa, the patio café which was the location of several different "Dexter" scenes over the years, was attached to the west side of the pool building, so it was torn down as well.

    Here, for the record, is a Google StreetView of the pool, when it was standing.

    And here is a YouTube video of the historic building being torn down.

Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?

A.  In the early seasons, I usually had to hunt down the locations after viewing the episodes, using clues from the various scenes.  By the now, though, I've developed a small group of fans, spies & tipsters who kept an eye out for Dexter filming in their neighborhoods, and would let me know in advance when something was about to film there.

Between those reports, my own personal reconnaissance around town, and a few new resources I discovered, by the time the first episode airs, I already know most (but not all) of the filming locations, and only need to watch the episodes and match up the scenes with the correct locations.

This group of helpful fans includes Rick, Ellen, Elaine, Mia, Joel, Susan, Eric, Jeff, Kerry & others. My thanks to all of them.

Rick was on the scene when they filmed the scene at The Well, and shot the photos you see above. (Thanks, Rick!)

The back of Yankee Doodles is the same spot they used for an early scene of Debra interviewing some transvestite hookers.  I shot photos of it then (see above), and naturally recognized it in this scene.

Plus, it didn't hurt that the restaurant next door (Chuck's) has a big sign reading "Home of the Weasel", which can be seen as they drive towards the bar.  It's hard to forget a sign like that...

(OK, I'll tell you. "The Weasel" is a breakfast dish served at Chuck's, made of scrambled eggs, topped with chili, cheese, onions and potato chips.)

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