Buffy the Vampire Slayer has a cult following of loyal fans whose love for the series has not diminished despite the show ending seventeen years ago. There is something timelessly transcendent about the writing, the characters, and the story. There is also a lot that is very rooted in one specific time: the 90s.
One of many aspects which feels like a product of the 90s is the main Sunnydale hangout spot, the Bronze. The venue is introduced in the pilot episode and is a mainstay of the series to the end. Here are 10 hidden details about the Bronze not even diehard fans notice:
10 The Bands
The Bronze is the only place in Sunnydale to hang out, or at least that’s what Buffy’s told in the first episode. The club is a small hole in the wall with dim lighting and a crowded stuffy ambiance. The place offers food, drinks, a dance floor, and live music as entertainment.
One notable detail is that the bands are surprisingly good. While it has some local high school bands (such as Dingoes Ate My Baby, the one Oz is in), there are also some fairly popular artists who perform there, among them Michelle Branch, Aimee Mann, and Cibo Matto.
9 Age Of Admittance
When Buffy moves to Sunnydale, the small California town is a difficult place for her to adjust to as a high school student used to life in the far more upscale city of Los Angeles. The one place for kids to hang out was the Bronze.
Then Buffy went to college in Season 4 and Sunnydale mysteriously was big enough to have a sizable university. This causes the nature of the Bronze to change as its now-adult cast begin hanging out at a place for kids. The Bronze did not change its culture so much as magically become retconned to accommodate changes in the show. After all, there tends to be a big difference in places kids spend their time compared to those establishments catering to adults.
8 Second Floor
The Bronze is a fairly small place. Its patrons press into one another, shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip, tables and dance floor both crowded beyond what is safe for Fire Code safety. Despite this, it has a second upper floor.
While this floor does not seem to be specifically open to the public, it is also not entirely blocked off, as Buffy and Giles were able to gain access to it without difficulty in the first episode of the series.
7 Alcohol Policy
When Buffy goes to college, alcohol consumption becomes a recurring theme in the series. There is definitely an “after school special” quality to a lot of the stories and one particularly memorable episode involves Buffy being magically turned into a neanderthal after drinking beer with a bunch of frat boys.
One element of the show involves Buffy and the others drinking beer at the Bronze. As this is a club which serves high schoolers and Buffy frequently drinks before the age of 21, this raises questions about the Bronze’s alcohol policy.
6 Vampire Hangout
The Bronze is a feeding ground beloved by the undead of Sunnydale. It is one of the only places open after dark and it has a constant crowd of desperate young people with little life experience who make perfect Lunchable targets to feed on.
There is good reason to think that the Bronze must have a good idea that vampires use the place as a hunting ground. How many people have to get attacked out back behind the dumpsters and rescued by Buffy before the management catch on?
5 It’s Full Of Creeps
The Bronze is pretty seedy, when one thinks about it. Young people enter without getting carded while drinks are being served. Adults and kids party it up side-by-side on the dance floor. People mysteriously exit the back door and disappear forever, either being turned into ash or exsanguinated through holes in the neck.
The truth is that this is a place designed for vampires to easily be able to abduct a potential victim, but those aren’t the only nightstalkers there. In one memorable scene from Season 3, Buffy and Faith are dancing there as random older guys rub up against them.
4 No Particular Subculture
One interesting aspect of the Bronze is that it has bands from many different subcultures. Sure, the cool preppy kids hang out there with their Britney Spears aesthetic, but there was a mixture alt-rock groups like Dashboard Prophets, triphop, indie rock, electronic, and pop-rock such as was performed by Aimee Mann.
Of course, as far as most Buffy fans are concerned, the most important band to perform there was the rock group Dingoes Ate My Baby, of which Oz was a member.
3 Great Lighting
Like many bars in the 90s, the Bronze was a dimly lit hole in the wall, its dank depressing atmosphere making it a perfect place to enjoy music while also imbuing the joint with a pub-like aesthetic that allowed the Scooby Gang and others to bond over drinks at a table.
Surprisingly, the Bronze occasionally had electronic music performing. On one such occasion, Buffy and Faith partied it up on the dance floor as strobe lights flashed. The lighting in the Bronze is apparently a higher quality than most people would expect and it is kept dimly lit on purpose.
2 First Meetings & Romance
The Bronze is a place where a lot of characters meet for the first time. Buffy met both Angel and Faith outside the Bronze. Cordelia also met Angel there, while Buffy was with Willow and Xander when the three met Spike for the first time.
Many romantic meetings also take place here. When Spike reconnected with Drusilla, the two went to the Bronze to pick up another couple for drinks (which is to say, they drank the other couple). Also, this is the location where Willow first begins expressing romantic interest in Kennedy.
1 It’s Very 90s
With the focus on the characters, it can be hard to notice the background details of the Bronze. That said, the place is very much part of a different decade.
Little details give the Bronze its 90s style. The most obvious example is the music, but post-grunge alt-rock and trip hop performances are just the start. The sign on the door is in a font that evokes the rough edges of the time sliding into digital modernity. The dim lighting and crowded seating arrangement also speak to a different time, while the annual Fumigation Party speaks to a time when poor sanitation was something that could be made into a fun event instead of bad Yelp reviews.
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About The AuthorTheo Kogod is a freelance writer. While working as an English teacher in Japan, he helped found the magazine 3 Feet Left as its Resident Writer. Since then, he’s written for various online publications, including CBR, Screen Rant, and The Comics Vault. His published fiction includes the prose superhero story “Typical Heroes” released by Diabolical Plots and the sci-fi story “Antediluvian” in the anthology A Flash of Silver-Green. He currently lives in North Carolina with his spouse, two adorable cats, and an ever-growing book-hoard.
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