I took this photo years ago:
You were served your cold quarts of beer by middle-aged men in white shirts, at plain tables with ashtrays and cigarette burns, with nice, big artwork of different Canadiens’ players lining the walls. A thick haze of smoke filled the air, and people huddled at tables, talking Habs and solving world problems.
Except for the pictures on the walls, it could’ve been just another plain and slightly rundown beer parlor in any town or city, filled mostly with men who took their drinking and hockey seriously.
But of course it wasn’t just any old tavern. It was Toe Blake Tavern on Ste Catherine St. in Montreal, where many went before the short walk to the Forum to see the big game.
Sometimes Toe himself would be there, although I never saw him. My buddy Ed Wolk did, though. And the pictures on the wall? Apparently they’re safe and sound at Toe’s son Bruce’s place.
Toe Blake Tavern opened in 1952 and closed in 1983.