Tootsies Orchid Lounge
Established in 1960 by Hattie Louise “Tootsie” Bess, and her husband, Tootsies grew into one of the world's most famous honky tonk joints. The bar is named in honor of the original proprietor who operated the bar until retiring from the business in 1978. The "orchid" in the name is the result of a mistake as the establishment was accidentally pained purple and Tootsie decided to make this the bar's signature color.
Backstory and Context
Since 1960, Tootsie’s has operated across the alley from the Ryman which led to many famous country musicians visiting as performers or patrons. The list of legendary performers includes Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, Hank Williams Sr., and Loretta Lynn who filmed a scene of “Coal Miners Daughter” at Tootsie’s.
Visitors can see historic photos known collectively as the “Tootsie’s Wall of Fame.” The original proprietor was a singer and comedian before opening the bar which features two stages. At the time it opened, the city of Nashville was home to a growing country music scene. The Grand Ole Opry was dry at the time so Opry performers and patrons used to visit Tootsies between shows.
Tootsies Orchid Lounge in Nashville, TN. Vacations Made Easy. 2001. Accessed 10/01/2017. www.vacationsmadeeasy.com.
Hight, Jewly. How Tootsie's Orchid Lounge helped change country music and Nashville, in just 50 years. Nashville Scene. 11/04/2010. Accessed 10/01/2017. www.nashvillescene.com.