Mom's was the original name of Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, Tootsie Bess bought Mom's in 1960. She credits a painter with naming Tootsie's. She came in one day to find that he had painted her place purple...thus the name Tootsie's Orchid Lounge. Tootsie was a singer/comedienne with "Big Jeff & The Radio Playboys". Her husband, Jeff Bess, was the bandleader. She recorded, "My Little Red Wagon" and "Tootsie's Wall of Fame". Records recorded about Tootsie's include "The Wettest Shoulders in Town" and "What's Tootsies Gonna Do When They Tear the Ryman Down?" Charlie Pride gave her the jeweled hatpin that she used to stick unruly patrons. It is rumored that Roger Miller wrote “Dang Me” in Tootsies.
Tootsie was known to slip $5s and $10s into the pockets of luckless writers and pickers. It was said that she had a cigar box behind the counter full of IOUs from where she had given drinks and food to hungry pickers and writers. Supposedly, at each year's end, a bunch of Opry Performers would take all the IOUs and pay Tootsie so she wouldn’t lose the money.
Famous early customers include Kris Kristofferson, Faron Young, Willie Nelson, Tom T. Hall, Hank Cochran, Mel Tillis, Roger Miller, Webb Pierce, Waylon Jennings, Patsy Cline and many more. (Taken from tootsies.net/theLegacy)
This tiny venue packs in big fun every night of the week! Don't let the size fool you though, this place has three separate stages for you to cut a rug. Come on in, and enjoy live music from some of Nashville's most talented performers. Once they're discovered, you'll be able to say you 'knew them when'! Tootsie's has great music, tasty drinks, and most of all, an enduring legacy.
Cover image by Hari Nandakumar via unsplash.com. Information courtesy of Tootsie's Orchid Lounge.