Honky Tonk: Definition, Etymology, Purpose
A honky-tonk (also called a honkatonk, honkey-tonk, or tonk) is a type of bar that provides musical entertainment (usually country music) to its patrons. Bars of this kind are common in the Southern and Southwestern United States. And especially common on Broadway in Nashville, TN.
The sound of the word honky tonk (or honk-a-tonk) and the types of places called honky tonks suggests that the word may be an onomatopoeic reference to the loud or boisterous music and noise heard at such establishments.
Top of the list is Tootsie’s Wild Orchid Lounge, just around the corner from the Ryman Auditorium. This is the honky tonk in which Tommy Lee Jones, playing Doolittle Lynn in Coal Miner’s Daughter, took a slug to the mouth while his wife Loretta was playing at the Opry.
Tootsie’s features upstairs and downstairs stages for musical acts, and the club is layered with photos and graffiti of the famous and not-so-famous that frequent the joint.
John is the president of AE Ventures, ESX's Event Management company.