The establishment is extremely rough in nature with deadly violent incidents considered not worth more than a moment's attention by the clientèle. Droids are not allowed in the establishment. A droid detector near the front door alerts the management of any entering droid.
It is here that Han Solo and bounty hunter Greedo have deadly blaster face-off at one of the tables. It is here that an Aqualish by the name of Ponda Baba attempted to pick a fight with Luke Skywalker, only to have his arm sliced off by Obi-Wan Kenobi’s lightsaber. It is also here that Skywalker and Kenobi hire Han Solo and Chewbacca to transport them off Tatooine.
The anthology of intertwined short stories Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina, edited by Kevin J. Anderson, explores the cantina and its clientele further. The book also explores why exactly it is that droids are not allowed. Due to the personal animus towards droids felt by the proprietor, the Wookiee Chalmun, and the bartender Wuher, droids are also not allowed inside. However, the reasons for their bigotry towards droids are quite different. Wuher claims to dislike everyone, but lashes out at droids because they are the only thing that will not try to fight back, whereas Chalmun will not tolerate droids in his cantina because they do not drink and therefore occupy valuable space.
Apparently, patrons are not allowed to use blasters inside the premises; this is probably something that is largely ignored, given that Solo, Greedo, and Ponda Baba carried blasters.
Similar cantinas have appeared in other Star Wars media.
The cantina scene is referenced in the movie Team America: World Police where the protagonists are at a bar in Cairo, Egypt. The music played in this scene is a blend of stereotypically Middle Eastern music and the music played during the original cantina scene in A New Hope.
Kevin Smith, well known for Star Wars references in his films, refers to the cantina in the movie Dogma. When Jay and Silent Bob discuss joining forces with Bethany, Jay chimes in: "I feel like I'm Han Solo, and you're Chewie, and she's Ben Kenobi, and we're in that fucked up bar!"
The Country Teasers' 2006 album The Empire Strikes Back features a song titled Mos Eisley. The opening lyrics satire those critical of the growing multiculturalism in Europe: "The world is much more like Star Wars than it used to be. But the world is no more like Star Wars than it should be. There is nothing wrong with a world a bit like Star Wars. I like Star Wars. London is a lot like Mos Eisley. It's a lot more like Mos Eisley than it used to be. For instance, in the fifties and the seventies, it was like the fucking Death Star."
The band Blink-182 references the cantina in their song "A New Hope", with the lyrics "But when you were available, I was Drinking Colt 45's with Lando, I was hanging out in the cantina on Mos Eisley"
Mark Jonathan Davis, later of Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine, made a parody song of Barry Manilow's Copacabana, called "Star Wars Cantina". Davis used the melody of that song; his lyrics are a rough outline of Star Wars Episodes 4 through 6. The song received significant radio airplay, along with "Weird Al" Yankovic's Yoda, in the run-up to the 1997 release of the Star Wars Special Edition VHS box set and the 1999 release of The Phantom Menace. "Star Wars Cantina" is often erroneously attributed to Yankovic.