Pipes of 20th century stardom.
Pipes of 20th century stardom.

Famous Pipes - Keens Steakhouse

Field review by the editors.

New York, New York

Unlike novelty restaurants, where the food is secondary to the autographed hot dog bun display or stuffed sleigh dog, Keens Steakhouse in midtown Manhattan is highly-rated in a witheringly competitive space. Keens' collection of celebrity pipes is an entertaining part of the deal, but most people are there to eat.

President Teddy Roosevelt's pipe at Keens.
President Teddy Roosevelt's pipe at Keens.

The restaurant dates back to 1885, when smoking was encouraged at restaurants and bars, and Keens became known for its Pipe Club. Celebrities like Babe Ruth, Teddy Roosevelt, JP Morgan and Buffalo Bill Cody would keep a pipe at the restaurant for use when they arrived. Over time, some 90,000 pipes were stashed at Keens.

Celebrity pipes are kept in display cases up front, while those of the less famous are now attached to the ceiling. New celebrity pipes still get added -- both national stars such as Stephen King and Gotham favorites like John Starks -- but they do not appear to be smoked, just autographed, their white clay standing out versus the brown tobacco stained pipes of the likes of Enrico Caruso and Herbert Hoover.

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Famous Pipes - Keens Steakhouse

Keens Steakhouse

72 W 36th St., New York, NY
South side of 36th St. east of Ave. of the Americas.
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