Tootsie's Orchid Lounge (also known as Tootsie's World Famous Orchid Lounge) is a Honky Tonk bar located in Nashville, Tennessee behind the Ryman Auditorium. Tootsie's has two stages that host live local talent each night; covering modern day country music artist such as Jason Aldean, Taylor Swift, and other popular country music artists as well as original work. Some of its early famous first customers were Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, Mel Tillis, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, Roger Miller and numerous others country musicians. According to www.toostsies.net, Willie Nelson received his first songwriting gig after singing at Tootsie's. Terri Clark a Canadian-born country artist started singing at Tootsie's in 1987. and has since become an internationally known country superstar with hits such as Better Things to Do, and the Warren Zevon cover, Poor Poor Pitiful Me.
Originally named Mom's, Tootsie Bess bought the future honky tonk in 1960. The name however, came later when to her surprise a painter painted the lounge purple. Subsequently, the name was changed to Tootsie's Orchid Lounge and to date, the exterior of the lounge is still painted the same color. Tootsie was known to slip 5's and 10's into the pockets of luckless writers and pickers. It was said she had a cigar box behind the counter full of IOU's from where she had given drinks and food to hungry writers and pickers. Supposedly, at each year's end, a bunch of Opry Performers would take all the IOU's and pay Tootsie so she wouldn't lose the money. At her funeral were Tom T. Hall, Roy Acuff and Faron Young. She was buried in an Orchid gown, with an orchid placed in the orchid colored casket, so she could take her favorite flower to heaven. Connie Smith sang some of Tootsie's favorite hymns at the funeral.
On November 7, 2010, Tootsie's celebrated its 50th Anniversary with performances at the Ryman Auditorium from Kris Kristofferson, Terri Clark, Little Jimmy Dickens, Mel Tillis, Jamey Johnson, and Joanna Smith.
Tootsie's Wall of Fame
Plastered throughout the venue are pictures and memorabilia of past and present individuals that have influenced country music. There are many pictures of Country Music artist, many signed. Some of the pictures include the likes of Hank Williams Sr, Patsy Cline, and Willie Nelson.
"How Tootsie's Orchid Lounge helped change country music and Nashville, in just 50 years". Nashville Scene.
"Tootsie's World Famous Orchid Lounge". Tootsie's.net.
"Tootsie's Orchid Lounge Tribute". CMT.