Fenspace Travel Guide
Nobody could decide on the "right" name for the first travel guide to cover space. "Frodo's" would have gotten the writers in trouble with both Fodor's and the Tolkien estate. Other takeoffs of 'Daneside travel guides would have had similar problems, and the 'dane travel writers weren't yet interested in sending someone around the system. And a Douglas Adams fan had already published memoirs titled "The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to Fenspace". Thus, The Fenspace Travel Guide (Hogwarts' Press, $9.95) was born, pretty much by default.
Bennigan's, Ruby Tuesday's, TGIFriday's, and the Hard Rock Cafe are all "up", and local chains Ninjaburger and Brubek's can also be found throughout space. Many of the transplanted chains' restaurants are done up in 50s Sci-Fi style instead of their generic "memorabilia on the walls" look.
Interestingly, the local Hard Rock Cafe is the most likely place to find the local Musician's Aid Society agent, if he or she doesn't maintain a separate local office.
Brubek's is based on the fictional chain of pubs fronting the GURPS Traveler chat room. As that page says, "Along with food and drink, Brubek's sells familiarity. Every unit is identical to every other: same size room, same decor (dark wood, leather, and brass), same view (a holographic panorama of a Generic Big City by Night), same menu, same bottles behind the long bar. It is a recreation of a romantic ideal (some would say mythical) neighborhood joint."
The Fenspace version of the chain was founded by a group of wargamers and roleplayers who wanted a place where they could play their games and get a pint of their favorite brew at the same time. The first Brubek's opened on Central Station in May 2011. Other franchises followed quickly in Juno City, Hogsmeade, Serenity Valley, New Hong Kong, and two locations in Crystal Seattle.
They brew their own beers - just enough for their own use, not for sale elsewhere - and serve typical early-21st-century "pub food."
Outrageously fast food
(review to follow; see the company writeup in the meantime)
The Tipsy Senshi
(review to follow)
Old Town, West Sector
Fusion American-Asian-European-style Public House
The Saloon is a cosmonaut's hangout, offering good, inexpensive drinks in large quantities. The bar serves several different brands of locally-brewed beer along with the usual old standbys from Earth. The interior decor is deliberately cheap, as the Saloon is a place where people go for the food, the regulars, or both, not to gawk at the "random crap" attached to the walls.
The menu is in a constant state of flux, offering food from the United States, Japan, Mexico, Italy, China, Thailand, England, Canada, dishes and ingredients from all over the galaxy, and miscellaneous combinations of any of those according to the chefs' whims. The only constants are the excellent fried dill pickles.
Anno Millar's Fusion Rathskeller
Fusion-American-Japanese-style Family Restaurant
This restaurant has a bizarre feel to its decor, as it is a fusion of comics/anime styles from the Works of Mark Millar and Hideki Anno, with waitresses in uniforms loosely based on a combination of said works and the 'Daneside Hawai'ian restaurant chain Anna Miller's. The food and service are exceptional, with price points ranging from "teenage first date" to "50th anniversary blowout."
However, an entire section of the most daring (and delicious) recipes require either a signed release or obvious biomods before they will be served, due to the chef's penchant for 'wave cookery. That said, none of the "accidental" biomods here has been determined to be a suboptimal occurrence to the recipient.
Dot Matrix's Mainframe Diner
2000 Atlas Park Drive (next to Vulpine Fury's Puppetworks)
Much like the central location from Mainframe Entertainment's ReBoot.
The proprietor resembles her "canon template" only in that she's got green skin and is moderately attractive. This restaurant is best known for the speed of its service, its Googie architecture and its genial atmosphere. The menu tends to be pricey for what they typically serve, but the wave-modded hyperfast kitchen is certified to not deposit Handwavium in the food.
Oftentimes you actually take longer to enter the restaurant and eat than you do waiting for your order.
Manny O'Kelly's Bar and Grill
D Level, West Hub
American-style Bar and Grill
A simple bar and grill like Manny O'Kelly's isn't unusual in an industrial town like Moonbase Alpha. What is unusual is having a Cordon Bleu chef in the kitchen. Manny O'Kelly's serves some of the best middle-class American-style food anywhere, including a garlic steak sandwich made with garlic-rubbed top sirloin served on sourdough bread baked on-premises, with a side of skin-on steak-cut fries. All ingredients are fresh, brought in from Earth three times weekly. Manny O'Kelly's has seventeen different beers on tap; the list varies monthly, but always includes Budweiser, Guiness, Kingfisher, and Crystal Sapporo Dry.
North Ring 4
American-style Dine-In Theatre
Put together by a group of expatriate fendanes from Austin, the Drafthouse is a clone of the famous Alamo Drafthouse. Food and drinks are served inside the movie theatre, which plays new releases and various classic movies at the whim of management. The food is served by a staff of Ninja waiters (who do in fact have to have at least some Ninja training before hiring). Children under the age of 6 are not allowed, and all children are not allowed entry after 6 p.m. local time.
The menu is basic, albeit high-quality, American fare, with additions depending on the film playing.
(review to follow; a transplant of the club at Disney World)
Stellvia, Main Concourse
Meg's is a typical example of the "roadside diner" complete with examples of 1960's-Americana-kitsch decorating most of the walls, except that it's in space. The one wall that isn't decorated is a floor-to-ceiling window, offering a stunning view of Earth or Luna as the station spins to show those worlds.
Recommended drinks include chocolate malted milkshakes for the young or young-at-heart, and Crystal Sapporo Dark or (occasionally) Grovers' Corners Cream for the adults. Stellvia's owner, Noah Scott, has been seen enjoying each of these with meals in the restaurant, so the staff has learned how to serve them "properly" (which means to Mr. Scott's preferences).
Meg's is also the restaurant for the Hotel Stellvia. While the kitchen is always open for the hotel's benefit, the restaurant itself is occasionally closed for special functions such as filming of television shows or movies; call ahead to confirm that you can be seated. The restaurant is wired for sound and has a small stage (usually with drum kit) against the wall farthest from the kitchen; Tuesday is "amateur night".
Steakhouse & Bar
What does the fan-on-the-street expect to see in a place devoted to hard-rock mining? Well, if he's a sci-fi sort, he expects guys in spacesuits with laser drills. But if he's a fantasy fan, he expects ... dwarves. And as every good fan knows, All Dwarves Are Vikings. Thus was born the concept of the First Viking Mead-Hall In Space, after a deadpan comment from Rei teased Chris on the "Viking Dwarves" one too many times. It's possibly the only place in Fenspace where you can go to be served beer and beef by burly bearded men in chainmail (even if they do stand eye-to-eye with a Dalek). The food is high quality without being haute cuisine, and runs heavily to beef products with a leavening of fish and a special vegetarian menu for Rei. Clientèle ranges from miners spending their bonuses to business guests in from 'Daneside to random wandering Fen.
When asked about Valkyries, Marsden replied that he only hires Elves for that position. (Two weeks later, the first waitress appeared at the restaurant. So far, Marsden has held good to his promise.)
The eponymous IPA (Io Pale Ale), Ale Blue Dot, is a 5.6 percent, hoppy, pale, gently bitter brew. Compared to Witch Head limbic (see below) it's a sweet, fruity dance of apple, cherry & boysenberry!
The bioluminescent pure lambic, Witch Head Nebula : Witch Head is a five percent, cloudy blue bioluminescent (modified bobtail squid Vibrio fischeri bacteria) , uncarbonated, rousingly tart & rude beer (house rule : Ordering an IC 2118 is no longer cute : far too many have beat you to the joke.) The marketing : Get your glow on with Witch Head Nebula!
Within the Hotel Bradbury, Olympus Mons
A full-service hotel restaurant with a top-tier chef, providing typical "room service" as well as the pseudo-medieval themed dishes for the restaurant itself. Of particular note, the sommelier stocks several excellent Martian Red wines as well as the expected "Solar System's Finest beverages."
(review to follow; based on the establishment from the Callahan's stories)
(review to follow; based on the establishment from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
Starbase 1, Level 10
(review to follow; based on the establishment from Star Trek: The Next Generation)
The Main Belt and nearby environs
The Dancing Shinobi
Village of Hidden Asteroid
(review to follow)
The Drunken Harlock
American-style Dockside Bar
(review to follow)
Kahiki Tiki Supper Club
The Kahiki Tiki Supper Club is a tiki lounge writ large, complete with all the trappings.
While there are no doubt many fine restaurants in Serenity Valley and elsewhere on Ganymede and Callisto - after all, it's well-known that you can get the best goat satay in the Solar System in Little Jakarta - none of them are known to the compilers of the Fenspace Travel Guide.
Pablo's Cajun Sushi Bar and Hominy House
(review to follow) "For the best blackened California roll in Fenspace, you go to Pablo's Cajun Sushi Bar and Hominy House."
(varies, usually 5/5)
The Hilton chain was the first into space, and that was by invitation by many of the colonists on Mars and Ganymede. (They had already been using "hilton" as a generic term for "hotel", and decided to formalize the situation.) The quality of Hiltons throughout space equals that of their Earth-bound operations.
The chain has only made one publicity faux pas so far, in having heir-apparent Paris Hilton dress in a variation of the local outfit when opening the Crystal Paris Hilton.
(varies, usually 2/5)
The least expensive short-term lodging available in space, Motel Six's franchises in space conform to the chain's Earthside standards. The only difference is a slight change to their advertising slogan: "We'll leave the running lights on for you."
(review to follow; for now, think "high-tech rustic")
Disney's World, Earth orbit
(review to follow; a copy of the resort at Disney World)
Olympus Mons, Mars
An exceptionally tasteful, recently opened hotel designed primarily to cater to the Earth tourist trade. Decor includes replicas and originals of some rare sci-fi art and artifacts from the Forrest J. Ackerman collection. The rooms are spacious and tasteful, with the expected amenities, with rates from the "ya gotta have somethin'!" to "Thank you, Mister Trump, we'll feed a village in southeast Asia for a year with this." (The more expensive rooms include the discretion of the staff; a famous person can call himself John Doe and check into the penthouse suite without the Hotel Bradbury "recognizing" him... or letting the press know that he's in residence.)
Against expectations, Room 451 contains an extensive library with signed editions of several authors' works. Of note to Potterites is the full collection of Signed UK First Editions of the Harry Potter books, signed in loco by Rowling herself. Sadly, this room is heavily booked up to two years in advance, with a formidable security deposit.
The remainder of the hotel's 2010 rooms are typical for a high class hotel. Unlike many Western hotels, the Bradbury does have a 13th floor, including the Rod Serling, Stephen King, and HP Lovecraft suites.