Written by 2:29 pm Movies

The ‘Road House’ bar withstood a hurricane to bring a classic back to life


Along with the cinematic reinvention of a classic, the new Road House movie sees Jake Gyllenhaal take center stage in a tale of fists, and wit, set amidst the raw beauty of the Florida Keys… well, sort of.

Directed by the ever-imaginative Doug Liman (Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Edge of Tomorrow, The Bourne Identity) this action-packed rollercoaster swaps the ’80s vibe for a more modern thrill, but at its core remains the gritty essence of its predecessor.

And what’s a Road House movie without its roadhouse? Let’s dive into the making of this film’s most iconic character: the bar itself.

Bringing the bar to life in the Dominican Republic

Filmed almost entirely in the Dominican Republic, a stand-in for the scenic Florida Keys, the production team went to great lengths to bring their vision of the perfect roadhouse to life.

Director Doug Liman and his crew weren’t playing around – they wanted authenticity, a place that breathed life, not just a pretty set on a soundstage.

 “I didn’t want the bar to feel like it was on a soundstage,” says Liman. “Visiting the Keys, a lot of the bars don’t even have doors necessarily; they’re open to the outside. I really wanted to embrace that, and one way to do it was to build the bar for real in a spot that’s directly between a highway and the ocean. It was the most ideal way to shoot this movie because the scenes can flow from inside to outside. The sets that Greg and his art department created for this movie were so beautiful.”

Greg Berry, the production designer, hit the nail on the head with a mid-century modern, Tiki Polynesian twist that’ll make you want to live there, or at least grab a drink and soak in the vibes.

The dedication to detail was nothing short of extraordinary. Jessica Williams (playing Frankie, the roadhouse owner) couldn’t believe her eyes.

 “The production design was jaw-dropping,” Jessica Williams said. “My favorite part of the Road House was Frankie’s office because it was filled with portraits of members of her family. And everything was so intricate; you could open a drawer and see mail for her. It was completely immersive…and the crazy thing is none of it had existed before.”

The set was so detailed that it felt lived-in, from family portraits down to the mail in the drawers – it was all there, adding layers to the story without saying a word.

The ‘Road House’ bar even survived a hurricane

And when Hurricane Fiona came knocking, the roadhouse stood tall, a testament to the craftsmanship and love poured into its creation.

Gyllenhaal himself was awed, suggesting it should’ve become a real bar post-filming. Now, if that doesn’t tell you about the set’s magic, what will?

“It was so well-crafted that I think it should have become a real bar when we were finished with it,” Gyllenhaal said. “But it wasn’t just the Road House—every set that was built for this movie was just beautiful work.”

The new Road House isn’t just a visual feast; it’s an homage that dares to carve its own path. It treads the fine line between honoring the gritty, punch-drunk spirit of the 1989 cult classic and exploring new territories.

The original, with Patrick Swayze’s Dalton offering pearls of wisdom on handling the rowdiest of crowds, was a product of its time – filled with unapologetic brawls and a heart of gold.

This modern retelling, however, while packed with adrenaline, opts for a slightly different punch, focusing more on the characters’ journeys against a backdrop of stunning set pieces and intense action sequences.


What about the fashion, you ask? Costume designer Dayna Pink threw punches of her own with wardrobe choices that blend the past’s flair with today’s edge. From Dalton’s fighter-turned-bouncer silk shirts to Conor McGregor’s Knox, who’s as loud in style as in presence, the costumes are characters in their own right, adding depth and color to the narrative.

Comparing it to its predecessor, the New Yorker’s Justin Chang points out the new Road House might pull its punches in terms of raw aggression, but it compensates with character depth and a visually stunning world.

The essence of the roadhouse, its embodiment of freedom and rawness, remains untouched, bridging the gap between the old and the new.

So, grab your popcorn (or a cold one), and step into the world of Road House, where the fights are fierce, the scenery is breathtaking, and the bar is a character you’ll wish you could visit.

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