Dexter Filming Locations: Lila's Bar


The location: Bar with Lila & the guys.

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

    A. A colorful bar or nightclub.

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

    A. An establishing shot shows Ocean Avenue in Miami Beach, around 8th Street.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 9 (of Season 2), "Resistance is Futile".

    After Dexter breaks up with Lila, she begins to try to manipulate her way back into his life.

    She follows him to places he goes (such as at the bowling alley, his police station, and this bar) and flirts with his friends and co-workers (especially Angel).

    At the start of this scene, we see her hanging out at a colorful bar, "drinking with the boys", and telling a dirty joke about a goat to Angel and Vince Masuka. Angel, who is falling for her, stops Vince from telling a dirty joke of his own, in an effort to protect the "lady" in the room (which Lila finds amusing).

    Then, to get under Dexter's skin, she deliberately brings up Jimenez, the man who murdered Dexter's mother (and the guy she sicced on Dexter at the bowling alley).

    Angry, Dexter follows her into the women's rest room, and tells her he wants her to stay out of his life.  She doesn't take no for an answer, and continues to try to convince him that he needs her.

    They are interrupted by a bouncer, who breaks things up.

    The next shot cuts to the parking lot, at night, as the gang disperses, and where Dexter sees an undercover car with Feds waiting to tail him.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A bar at a restaurant, but far from Miami Beach.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. The scene was shot inside the bar at Tequila Jack's, a Mexican restaurant at 407 Shoreline Village Drive, in Long BeachCA.

    You'll find it overlooking the marina, at the east end of Shoreline Village, a seaside shopping & dining center, between the carousel and the Yard House restaurant. The bar is on the north side of the restaurant, near the patio.

    ( That's the same Village where they filmed the Comic Book store scenes. They also used the nearby parking lot for the stakeout scene with Doakes and LaGuerta. )

    They used this same bar for the earlier scene where Deb & Gabriel talk about Lundy.

    However, the parking lot scene (where Dexter sees the Feds' car tailing him) wasn't shot where you would expect it to be: right outside Tequila Jack's. Instead, they shot it over in the far southwest corner of the Village's large parking lot, right behind (west of) the Parker's Lighthouse restaurant. That is actually too far from Tequila Jack's to be convenient - no one would really park there to go to Tequila Jack's, they'd park in the northeast section of the parking lot (where they filmed the Doakes/LaGuerta stakeout scene).

    Here is an aerial photo of the lot.  And here is a map link.

    (I shot the photos below in 2008)

    (The photo above is looking west, across the parking lot, at the east side of the restaurant.)

    (The photo above, looking east/southeast, shows the patio area at Tequila Jack's, with the bar behind it.)

    (The flash photo above was shot looking from the patio into the bar area of Tequila Jacks.)

    Numerous other scenes from "Dexter" have been shot in this general area, including multiple scenes at Shoreline Village, the area around the Queensway Bridge, in Shoreline Park, and at the Coast Long Beach Hotel.

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

    A. I had already found this location for the earlier scene with Deb & Gabriel, so it was just a matter of checking details to verify that it was the same place.

    The set decorators did a major makeover for this scene, making it hard to recognize the place.  They used brighter lighting, wide-angle lenses, and you can see that they disguised the place by (among other things) covering the ceiling with beer posters, bringing in new tables & chairs, adding ceiling hanging lamps, neon signs on the walls, and various colored flood lights in other spots. But they couldn't completely hide the numerous original lighting fixtures on the bar's ceiling, or the general shape of the bar area and its various doorways. And a dead giveaway is a glimpse of one of the original Tequila Jack murals on the wall next to the swinging kitchen doors.

    As for the parking lot location, it's recognizable by the white staircase that leads up to Parker's Lighthouse. The camera is looking south/southwest, and they are using a very long lens, which blows up the size of the background (those freight elevators seen glowing in the distance are really very far away, in the industrial part of the Long Beach harbor).

    Here are two comparison photos of the parking lot location.  The top one is from the show, and I shot the other one (in the daylight) in the Shoreline Village parking lot - it reveals more of the area around that staircase:

    ( Notice that they were careful to crop out the Queen Mary, docked across the bay, which would have immediately identified the area as Long Beach. )

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