Dexter Filming Locations: The Swamp bar (interior)


The location: "The Swamp" bar (interior).

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

    A. A sleazy bar called "The Swamp".

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

    A. At 410 Industrial Parkway, in Naples, FL.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 5 (of Season 2), "The Dark Defender".

    In this scene, we don't see the bar's exterior (that doesn't come until Episode 8), we just see the interior of the bar.  It's dark and red, and somewhat claustrophobic.

    Dexter has come here because he has found out that the bar is owned by the Santos Jiminez, the man who killed his mother.

    When Dexter enters, Jiminez is behind the bar. Dexter, who has promised Lila that he is trying to kick his habit (of serial killing), takes a seat at the bar and spends the night staring at the man he hates. By the time closing time comes, Jiminez is getting jumpy from being stared at. When Dexter begins asking him questions about his past, he gets suspicious and orders Dexter out of the bar.

    Dexter refuses, saying he has to tell him what he feels.  He then begins to tell Jiminez what effect his actions had on his life, but before he can finish, Jiminez grabs a baseball bat and threatens him. Bad move. Dexter easily disarms him, then loses control, throwing the man to the floor and beating him with his own bat.

    Locking the door, Dexter reverts to type, and soon has Jiminez on top of a pool table, as he punches him in the head and talks about how Jiminez chain-sawed his mother, and how he left two kids sitting in their own mother's blood.

    As Dexter gets a knife, Rita phones him, interrupting his ritual. She manages talk him down, and he leaves Jiminez unconscious and bleeding on the pool table.

    (Later, in episode 8, we see the exterior of "The Swamp" bar - which is actually quite a few miles west of this location - as Dexter follows Jiminez out to his cabin in the Everglades, where he finally kills him.)

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A bar - a dive in its own right, but not as seedy as "The Swamp".

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. These bar interior shots were actually filmed inside the Hinano Cafe, at 15 Washington Blvd, in VeniceCA.

    That's on the north side of Washington Blvd, just a stone's throw from the beach at Venice, near the "Speedway".

    Fans rave about the greasy burgers, like the sawdust on the floor and the relaxed atmosphere, but warn that it's "cash only" (no credit cards), and that they don't sell liquor (just beer).

    I shot the photo below in 2009

    (This same Venice bar was also used for a scene in the 2003 movie "S.W.A.T.")

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

    To see the exterior of "The Swamp" (a completely different location), click here.

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

    A. This was a wonderful example of karma.

    Normally, I don't believe in such things. In fact, the expression "No good deed goes unpunished" seems to be closer to the truth in most instances.  But not this time.

    I honestly thought I'd never find this location, since the actual exterior of the bar is never shown. And the interior was dark. I had given it up as a lost cause.

    Then, in early 2009, a fan emailed me about an unrelated case, asking if I could tell him the location of a bar scene in the movie "S.W.A.T." He said he thought it might be in Venice.

    So I spent about an hour trying to find it for him, and finally tracked it down to the west end of Washington Blvd, narrowed it down to one or two possible storefronts, and then pinpointed it (via interior shots on the web) as the Hinano café.

    The fan later told me that he heard that they also filmed "Dexter" at the bar.

    Since there were a few bar scenes in "Dexter" that I haven't been able to identify, I began looking back over those bar scenes via DVD, trying to match one to the unique bar interior seen in "S.W.A.T." And sure enough, when I came to "The Swamp", it was a perfect match, from the diagonally-slanted wood panelling, to the old photos on the walls, and the keg taps behind the bar.

    ( Thanks, Mike! )

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