Vincent and Frankie, The Hi-Hat, and Club 366
- Vincent and Frankie, the twins played by Franco, are based on an actual set of twins who were a part of the shadier side of New York City in the '70s. In a 2017 interview with The New York Times, series creators Simon and Pelecanos revealed that they met with an unnamed man whose vivid stories about his club, his involvement with the mob and the porn industry, and his brother brought the era alive for them. In turn, the man's tales inspired the show, even though he passed away before the premiere. Simon and Pelecanos noted that their source showed no sense of regret about his alleged involvement in seedy dealings. "In other words, he had a very romanticized view of his life. He never really felt responsible for the attrition around him," Pelecanos told the newspaper.
- In 2017, Franco explained to Paste, "My character, Vincent, is based on an actual guy who had a twin brother. He had run this bar around the Times Square area that was very unusual because it was a melting pot of all areas of social levels. At the time, you certainly had gay bars and straight bars. But rarely did you have a bar where they would mix and they would mix with police officers and the Warhol crowd and trans customers."
- The Hi-Hat bar, which is featured prominently in season one, is reportedly based on a real bar called Tin Pan Alley. Like the club depicted in the show, it was said to be a melting pot where people of all walks of life came together. The same is true of season two's Club 366, which also bears more than a passing resemblance to Studio 54. The series seemed to acknowledge the similarities in the second episode of season two when famed real-life Studio 54 patron Andy Warhol stops by.