In a show with such a detailed tale as The Sopranos, many locations are needed to eradicate monotony. And among the many great locations traversed in the mafia-infested New Jersey is the Bada Bing!. The topless dancer nightclub is where members of Tony’s DiMeo crime family enjoy hanging out and discussing business.
Owned by consigliere Silvio Dante, the Bada Bing! is where a couple of the key decisions are made, including the canceled hit on Don Hauser and the vow to kill Big Pussy if any evidence is found on him. However, there are many other details about the Bada Bing! that fans of the show are probably not aware of.
Its Name Is Borrowed From A Godfather Catchphrase
Fans of The Sopranos who aren’t familiar with the proceedings of The Godfather might think of Bada Bing! as a cool and unique name but it isn’t. Bada Bing! is a catchphrase first popularized by Sonny, one of the Corleone family’s most adored members.
As one of the liveliest characters in the Francis Ford Copolla project, it isn’t a surprise that Sonny would be the one to come up with such a name. And since the mobsters in The Sopranos are shown to be such huge fans of the movie, it isn’t such a shocker that they named their favorite hangout spot after a Sonny catchphrase.
It’s Based On A Real-Life Mob Nightclub
The Bada Bing is based on New Jersey mobster Vincent “Vinnie Ocean” Palermo’s popular nightclub known as Wiggles. The nightclub was eventually shut down by authorities.
Tony Soprano is also said to be partly based on the DeCavalcante crime family mobster. A couple of differences can be noted between the two. While Vinnie Ocean eventually turned into an informant, Tony never even considered going that route. Vinnie Ocean also owned another strip club in New York whereas the DiMeo crime family only ran the Bada Bing!
The Mugshot On The Wall
There is a large mugshot on the wall of the Bada Bing! office. This mugshot is of legendary singer and actor Frank Sinatra when he was 23. Sinatra’s crime? The seduction of a married woman back in 1938.
Interestingly, this particular mugshot was included in a show where characters thrive in infidelity. Almost every mobster has a mistress. Even Tony’s wife, Carmela, sleeps with AJ’s guidance counselor when she gets tired of his cheating. However, the mugshot is also fitting since Sinatra was alleged to be one of the mob’s favorite celebrities.
Bada Bing! Scenes Were Filmed In An Actual Go-Go Bar
A real-life New Jersey go-go bar named Satin Dolls was used to film the Bada Bing! scenes. Thanks to its connection to the show, the bar’s sales skyrocketed.
In a case of reality imitating fiction, Satin Dolls was briefly shut down due to ties to mob activity. Just as Tony and his buddies are shown to admire characters from mob movies, real-life mobsters presumably look up to Tony and his crew too, hence the reason they also chose Satin Dolls as a hangout joint.
The Nightclub Inspired A Coffee Shop Chain
There is now a New Jersey coffee shop chain known as the Bada Bean! And inside each shop are pictures of The Sopranos characters and several other mob pop culture figures.
Bada Bean! is indeed a creative business name, the only problem being that the chain was founded in 2020, over a decade after the end of the show. Perhaps sales would have been higher if the business had been set up at the height of the show. However, true fans will be eager to pass by frequently.
The Name Was Added To The Oxford English Dictionary
“Bada Bing!” was finally added to the Oxford English dictionary in 2003. It’s defined as an expression fitting for something that will happen predictably and effortlessly.
The dictionary definition goes in line with what slain Corleone crime family mobster, Sonny Corleone, intended for the phrase to mean back in the ’70s. But since the phrase only got included when the HBO show was still airing, David Chase and his team can be given all the credit for making it as popular as it is today.
A Slight Deviation From Reality
Scenes from the Bada Bing! show alcoholic drinks being sold as the dancers are on stage. In reality, this is against New Jersey state laws. In the state, topless dancing is prohibited in establishments that sell liquor.
It makes sense for such a law to not exist in the fictional world of the show because the mobsters never really go to the Bing! for the dancers. They mostly do so to discuss recent developments and make plans. It’s therefore fitting for them to have a drink while doing so. Since they are mobsters, they could be deliberately breaking the law too.
None Of The Main Female Characters Have Scenes At The Nightclub
Apart from the presence of the dancers, the Bada Bing! is an exclusively male establishment. None of the main female characters, including the best Sopranos mob wives have scenes at the nightclub.
For the DiMeo crime family mobsters, the nightclub is more of a base of operations rather than a place of merriment. And given that they never want to mix family with business, there’s justification for them not allowing their spouses or other family members to pop in and out frequently.
The Bada Bing Dancers Appeared On Playboy
The Bada Bing! dancers became so popular that they ended up being featured in several magazines, including Playboy. The dancers appeared in the August 2001 issue of the magazine.
Sadly, though the dancers were popular with audiences, only one of them was ever granted proper character development. Tracee (Ariel Iley), became friends with Tony as well as the girlfriend of Ralph. Tracee is also the only Bada Bing! dancer to be portrayed by a professional actress and not an extra.
It’s The 3rd Most Featured Location
Among the most iconic Sopranos locations, the Bada Bing! is the 3rd most featured one. It ranks below the Soprano home and Dr. Melfi’s office.
Given that it was the only location where the DiMeo crime family members felt truly safe, it made sense for them to hang out there more than any other place. Even at the height of the FBI’s efforts to bring down the family, the Bada Bing! was never bugged. Neither did any law enforcement officer show up to try and shut it down.