The Bada Bing!
(aka the Bada Bling
or The Bling
) is a fictional go-go bar
from the HBO drama television series The Sopranos
. It was a key location for events in the series, named for catchphrase
"bada bing", a phrase invented by James Caan
on the set of The Godfather
. The popularization of the fictional club benefited the real-life go-go bar where scenes were filmed.
Use in and effect on the series
The Bing is owned and chiefly operated by Silvio Dante, Tony Soprano's consigliere. Tony's office is in the back room(s) of the Bing, and the Soprano Family often conducts business either in the Bing or these back room(s).
The club's title is a stereotypical Italian-American expression, also rendered as "bada bing bada boom" or "bada boom bada bing". The use of Bada Bing as the name of the club and elsewhere in the series popularized the catchphrase such that it was added to the 2003 Oxford English Dictionary as an exclamation to emphasize that something will happen effortlessly and predictably. Bada bing is imitative of the sound of a drumroll or may also derive from the "bada-bing" sound effect that James Caan's character, Sonny Corleone, makes to describe an up-close shooting in The Godfather.
Booze and nudity
The "Bing" represents one of the series' chief deviations from reality insofar as real-world New Jersey law prohibits the sale of alcohol at topless (and nude) dancing establishments.
Reviewer Paul Levinson heralded the Bada Bing!, and its background of nudity, as a key setting for the series:
"The Sopranos's brilliant solution is to situate most of its nudity in the Bada Bing! strip joint run by Tony Soprano's aide-de-camp, Silvio Dante. The setting is an eminently logical place to frequently find Tony and his crew discussing business, and the naked women need no further motivation than that they are dancing in the club...Bada Bing! is an ideal locale -- doing for The Sopranos what the diner did for Seinfeld and the bar owned by Munch, Meldrake, and Bayliss did for Homicide -- but with a physically illicit explicitness that gives sexual energy to whatever other story is unfolding.”
The Bing is where:
- Tony Soprano and his crew find out Jackie Aprile, Sr. has died from his illness. One of the dancers vows never to forget where she was the day Jackie died.
- Tony Soprano cancels the hit on Don Hauser, his daughter's soccer coach and uncovered statutory rapist.
- Tony and Sil agree to have Richie Aprile killed, but are pre-empted by a deadly domestic dispute involving Richie and Janice.
- Tony Soprano and his underboss Paulie Walnuts agree to have Big Pussy whacked if they found out he was wearing a wire for sure.
- Ralph Cifaretto beats his pregnant girlfriend Tracee, a Bing dancer, to death in the parking lot just outside the building.
- Johnny Sack informs Tony that he is prepared to reconcile with Ralph following an insult to Sack's wife, in turn allowing Tony to cancel a planned hit on him.
- Christopher Moltisanti threatens Tony with a gun for allegedly having an affair with his fiancée, but he has already emptied his gun of bullets by shooting Tony's car in the parking lot.
- Tony makes the case for not killing Vito Spatafore over his homosexuality to Silvio and Carlo Gervasi.
- Paulie has a vision of the Virgin Mary hovering over the dance floor and reconciles with his aunt and adoptive mother Marianucci.
- Silvio Dante is shot several times in the parking lot on an ordered hit from Phil Leotardo. Patsy Parisi accompanies Sil, but flees on foot. Silvio is hospitalized in critical condition.
- Joey LaRocca accidently beats to death Mario Buscetta, the nephew of Angelo Buscetta, the Philadelphia mob boss in the strip club's bathroom after having a heated argument with Paulie Gualtieri whose body he later helps dispose of.
- Matthew Bevilaqua and Sean Gismonte desperately try to gain the attention of Tony Soprano unsuccessfully and angers him about boasting of criminal activities around him so openly. He dries his wet hands after going to the washroom on Matthew and throws him against the bathroom wall.
- Silvio Dante arrives at the club to open it in the morning and finds Christopher Moltisanti, coming down from a heroin binge vomitting heavily in the toilet. He later brings this up at Christopher's rehabilitation intervention.
Effect on film location
All interior and exterior shots of the Bada Bing were filmed on location at Satin Dolls, an actual go-go bar on Route 17 in Lodi, New Jersey. (Occasionally the neon "Satin Dolls" logo can be seen on an interior wall of the club.)
The popularity of the series and the notoriety of the Bada Bing! resulted in economic benefits through tours and souvenirs for the real-life club.
After the series finale, the owners of the real bar decided to auction off the furnishings.