Set Back Inn Brings Tarrytown To Big Screen

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Set Back Inn owner Scott Toth says filmmakers love his bar's atmosphere.
Set Back Inn owner Scott Toth says filmmakers love his bar's atmosphere. Photo Credit: Meredith Shamburger

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – Look no further than the Set Back Inn for a touch of Hollywood movie magic. The Tarrytown bar has played host to several big-name films and television commercials over the years.

“You get to see all sorts of different people,” owner Scott Toth said. “It's a great experience every time we've done it.”

Toth says it all started with a few Miller Lite beer commercials. The films came next.

Movies that have been filmed at the bar include "Henry's Crime," a 2010 flick starring Keanu Reeves and James Caan; "The Good Shepherd," a 2006 movie starring Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie and Robert De Niro; and "Mona Lisa Smile," a 2003 film starring Julia Roberts.

Toth also has future projects lined up for the bar. An NYU graduate student will be filming his final thesis for five days in March.

Filmmakers have taken different approaches to the bar while shooting, Toth said. "Mona Lisa Smile"" shows a completely revamped space. Filmmakers redid the interior, taking everything off the walls and putting in vintage furniture for the 1950s-era setting.

“'Henry's Crime' did it the complete opposite and left it the exact way it was,” Toth said. “So I've had both extremes where they didn't want to touch anything because liked the vibe or they loved the interior but wanted to redecorate it for the time the movie was taking place.”

"Henry's Crime" is the only movie to have kept the bar's name intact, but on a few occasions customers  will recognize the bar when they walk in, Toth said.

“You occasionally get to tell a good story behind the bar when customers ask,” Toth said.

The actors who spend time shooting in the bar have all been nice enough to say hello, sign autographs or pose for a picture, Toth said. Some, like James Caan, came back to hang out.

“When he got breaks he'd come down Saturday afternoon and watch football games or Sunday afternoon watch the Jets game and have a couple of beers with everyone,” Toth said. “He's a really nice guy.”

Hollywood has been a good experience for Toth, and he hopes it's good for Tarrytown too.

“It's nice to have movies here,” he said. “It's fun for a couple of weeks and breaks up the monotony that typically goes on. It livens up the town a little bit and hopefully it helps out other businesses.”

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