Gloria Happy Hour bar play set

Lately I've been doing most of my ranting about dolls on tumblr instead of here, but I felt this post would work better in blog format.

So last week I was waiting for 3 packages, the first one being an Azone Pure Neemo body I ordered in january for my new Licca head. According to ebay it was supposed to arrive LAST friday at the latest, but mail from Japan has been slow lately so I wasn't too worried. Anyway, this friday I finally got a parcel delivery notice, and so I happily skipped down to What Passes For The Post Office These Days to pick up what I assumed would be the body (insert traditional comment about our morbid hobby here).

Instead I received a big flat box with a label said "China" and "doll mirror set", and I realized this must be the Gloria play set I ordered a couple of weeks ago. I hadn't expected it to arrive so soon, and I wasn't looking forward to organizing the return of this "doll mirror set", whatever that might be.


One of the corners of the bag was torn.
 I hadn't needed worry, though:

The box had taken a hit, but since the set comes unassembled and tightly packed nothing was damaged.

There we go. Gloria's Bar, or Happy Hour as it's called on the box.

Incidentally, on the box photo the barstool foot rests are mounted upside down. All the dolls are unarticulated though, so it's not like it matters anyway.

I've wanted this set for a long time. It's pretty adult for a playline playset, if not exactly ADULT (even as kids we probably realized that all that partying and disco-ing Barbie and her friends were up to probably entailed having a drink once in a while). Maybe that's why it's still in production, despite being a clone brand with a decades old design: it still sells and doesn't really have any equivalents from competitor brands. On the other hand, there are loads of much less interesting Gloria play sets in production too, so I don't know. You can find this set at various sellers on ebay. I picked the Chinese seller with a price+shipping/highest feedback combo I liked and received it well within the ETA timespan. If you're in the US there's a few domestic sellers that offer lower shipping, so you should be able to get it for a bit less than I paid. 

This set seems to be quite popular among adult collectors and diorama builders and I've seen several great repaints of it. I won't be bothering with that, though - partially because I'm lazy and haven't figured out how to get acrylic paint to stick to plastic yet (at least not in a way that doesn't require a respirator), partially because I kind of like it's 80s-early '90s tackiness - but here's one example:

Enjoying a Cocktail in the bar

More repaints here!

So let's get started! My god, it's full of... well, whatever that is. What is that? Some kind of... plastic?

Plastic? In my 1/6 doll furniture set?

The set consist of a drink cabinet, a bar, and two bar stools (+ a bunch of glasses). I couldn't find any instructions, but it looks pretty straight-forward so let's go.

I started with the barstools. It's pretty simple: the post only fits one way. The seat is in two parts which don't come together completely, so there's a bit of a gap in the back. Not a huge problem, but it could have looked better.

The actual problem here was the footrests - not figuring out which way is up, but the fact that they won't stay put! There's a cross-shaped hole that goes on the cross-shaped post, and then it seems you're supposed to twist them slightly to fix them in place. Problem is, they fit pretty badly and won't rotate far enough to fit securely in place. As soon as you put any weight on them they come loose. Aaaargh. I'll have to figure out a fix for that.

Luckily, that's the only actual problem with the set that I can think of.

TA-DA. Two barstools.

Ok, on to the bar itself.
Bar parts. Exciting!
Bar footrest... bar... things. For some reason the photos led me to believe they were in one piece.

Now what have we here?

Note barstool assembly instructions.
Paper! And cardboard. Getting the pieces out of their plastic bag was actually one of the most difficult things about assembling this set, since they were practically vacuum sealed.

There's the bar front, a few fake bottle insets for the shelves, and look: instructions. Turns out I was right about the footrests. Twist to lock! (Or not, in my case.) You could probably do without them, though: for most parts they're unnecessary, and for the one part (the shelves in the cupboard) where you might actually need instructions they could have been more detailed. But nothing is particularly complicated and the worst that could happen is it'll take you a bit longer to figure it out. Still, it's always nice not having to guess so I appreciate that they were included.

There's also the front for the bottle cabinet with fake doors. Someone drew this with physical color pencils. Wonder what a gig like that pays? Probably not very well. At first I couldn't decide which side was up and whether the door panels were supposed to be convex or concave, but then I noticed the shadows cast by the doorknobs which made it pretty unambiguous. Shiny side up it is.

I imagine this sold as a postcard from a little stand by the bar. Greetings from Gloria's! We have furniture!

Front of the bar fitted in without much problem. v. '80s.

Or maybe early '90s?

Hexagonal holes for the whole overhead glasses rack-thingy in the top of the bar. One of them had some extra plastic mold flare at the top that made it too round and small, so I had to carve it out a bit. There were a couple of little things like that: tabs that had to be pared down a bit to fit in the holes and such, but nothing too bad.

The beer tap goes in the third hole. This was the other thing that annoyed me a bit: one of the ...tap tabs? or whatever they're called was molded too small and kind of wobbles a bit. I guess you could fix it with some blu-tac or glue.

Ecti quality. Where quality stands for... not quality. Must be one of those hipster beers.

As I mentioned, the shelves were the trickiest part to get right coordination-wise, which is why there are no photos of that stage. The illustration could have been clearer, as the angle it showed sort of hid some of the important parts, but most parts only fit one way so unless you're 5 and try to force things that don't fit, you'll get it right eventually. The lower shelf was a bit bent but the cardboard bottle bits helped straightening it out.
The only known photo of this mysterious step of the process.
Oddly enough, the blue inset for the bottom shelf was the only one that was a bit too small. Anyway, there's nothing stopping you from replacing it with something better.

This one was a bit dirty and damaged, but it's on the part you won't see so I'll allow it.

The assembled main pieces seen from the back:
Notice the little tabs keeping the cardboard backs in place. The bar could have used some shelves, but that would probably have raised the production value considerably. 

Finally we pop the cardboard top with the slightly misaligned print in place, and we're done. Welcome to Gloria's! Run by, who else, Gloria. Or maybe she's Betty Teen, I'm not sure. It's the same face mold anyway.
"My name? You ask too many questions, kid."
To complete the playset you obviously need some accessories. There aren't that many included, so I scraped together what I could find for the photos. The biggest downside is it doesn't come with any bottles (which is what the lattice-type rack would be for), but you do get six kinds of glasses including beer mugs. Aaaaand that's it. There's three of each type, even though there's room for at least four in each section of the rack. A sneaky way of cutting production costs? They're not painted liquour-colored like on the box photo, so you'll have to use your imagination.

Two of the glass types have fancy molded flower decorations. The one on the left has a pretty thick stem and required a bit more force to fit into the hanging rack.

Probably don't use real liquids though, since at least one of the glasses is a bit wonky.

"Barkeep! This drink is more drunk than I am!"

Since there's four hooks but only three beer mugs, I put Skeleton Bob on beer tap duty.

"Hey, it's a living!"
"Bob. Please."

"What did I tell you, Bob? Keep your hands to yourself!" "It's fine, I was just about to ask for a straw anyway."
"Hey, what do I have to do to get served around here?"
"Well, first of all you have to wear some shoes..."
"Sure, no problem."
"...that fit."
"Best part of the job? No pants. I mean the community."

"Anyway, why not try our special: Cupcake Mushroom Smoothie?"

Whew! Good thing my recent thrifting turned up the most important bar accessory of all:

I think the Justin Bieber backstage set came with some fake vomit.
"I don't understand, I just had a few glasses. And they were all empty!"
"What about that smoothie?"
"The one that was glued to the glass so you could sell it again?"
"Hey, I'm just trying to make ends meet here."

So that's the Gloria Happy Hour bar set. I think I'll put it next to the Arco office play set so the offiec ladies have someplace to go for their after work.

Oh, and the Azone body finally arrived today, but she's not in this photoset since I'm pretty sure she's too young to drink.


  1. I loved reading this. Looks like your dolls will be getting up to all kinds of drunken shenanigans! :)

    1. Well they can try, but I still don't have any bottles... It's a great set to just have them hang out in, though. I'm really glad I bought it.

  2. Who would think that putting together the set would make such an interesting story :-)

    1. The assembly itself was pretty boring, so I had to try and entertain myself. :)

  3. I enjoyed this. That set has been on my wish list for a long while. It's something of a must-have for adult collectors who make dioramas I suppose.

    1. Just FYI, I noticed there's another set on ebay right now!

    2. Yeah, there's usually a few available, depending on shipping options. There's also the wine rack set if you want to expand your 1/6 wine cellar.

  4. You might have found the assembly boring but it looks like your dolls had a lot of fun. It looks like it will be a fun set and you will be able to do a lot with it.

  5. Hi! :) I read mostly youir blogspot blog and flickr, but you seem to be more active on tumblr, but i hope you'll see that message!^^ You are often calling older Steffi Love dolls "80s dolls", but them started to be made in 90s actually. Their iconic older face mold was introduced in 1992/1993 and new face is from 2004. Evi Love dolls were introduced in late 90s. So most of Steffi dolls you found are probably from late 90s/early 2000s. Not as vintage as you think. ^^

    1. Oh, I haven't abandoned this blog completely! Particularly since neither flickr nor tumblr really allows anon comments. I don't check the notifications every day, but I'll get the message eventually.

      You're right, I'm usually pretty imprecise when talking about Steffi dolls older than "in stores now". I've been thinking I should read up a bit on her history, but the truth is I'm just not a huge Steffi fan and haven't really gotten around to it. So I end up just calling them "older Steffi Love" and hoping I'm not totally off. But maybe it's time I looked her up so there's no confusion.

  6. Hmmm ... I need to get my folks a bar set. Maybe ;-)

    1. Just be warned that the shelf in particular is pretty rickety. The tabs don't fit perfectly together, but you could always glue it together permanently.