Friday, September 14, 2007
In the history of American sports, Toots Shor holds a special designation. Off the playing fields, sports stars would socialize at Toots Shor, the legendary New York saloon. It was a second home to celebrities, including Frank Sinatra, Frank Gifford, Jackie Gleason, Sugar Ray Robinson and Joe DiMaggio. (Read Richard Ben Cramer's excellent book--Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life--and it seems like JoeD practically lived at the saloon.) Of course there have been other sports-related restaurants/bars: Mickey Mantle's, Jack Dempsey's, and in more modern times restaurants from sports stars like John Elway and Michael Jordan. (No, the ESPNZone and Hooters don't count.) But nothing will ever be like Toots Shore. Unlike the sports stars of today who tend to spend their free time away from the public or behind the velvet rope, Toots was a place where sports stars, entertainment folks and the public rubbed elbows. In the Wall Street Journal, Allen Barra reviews the documentary Toots. The movie opens today in New York.