The Toots Shor Store.

Toots Shor Matches

It was a mythological New York, a place before Times Square was taken over by Disney, a smoke-filled era in which men were men and women were dames, a period when getting properly inebriated was a sign of character and top shelf was the elixir of life.  Between World War II and the end of the Eisenhower era, Manhattan’s place to be and to be seen was Toots Shor’s, and for those who were part of the inner circle – pals one and all – it sure was fun while it lasted.


Only Toots Shor’s was Toots Shor’s, and only Toots Shor’s had Toots Shor.  This stout, gregarious palooka reigned over his men’s club and served up food and strong drink with a heaping side of insults and put-downs.  More than a host, he was a lord.  And the eponymous saloon was his personal fiefdom.  He drank with five presidents, golfed with royalty, and became the toast of the town.  They don’t make them like Toots anymore.

Toots Shor’s

“Somebody called it a cathedral, Toots’s cathedral,” said one former employee. “But I don’t think there was much prayin' goin' on.”

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