The Story About The Toronto Brokers, A $700 Bordeaux, & Leonard Cohen

The Title Is “This Is the Best Story You’ll Read All Day Just Trust Us” & It Features Leonard Cohen – Go Figure

Here’s how the story begins:

“Hey, bartender,” the old guy gestured at me, almost whispering in a sonorous rumble. “See those gentlemen over there? Ask them if I can have two fingers of their wine.” I looked over my shoulder to where a couple of brokers had just ordered a $700 bottle of Bordeaux, then back at Sonorous Rumble and hesitated, not sure how to politely tell him he was nuts. He looked a little nuts, all decked out in an admittedly stylish tweed in the middle of summer. Shrugging amiably, the old guy got off his bar stool and circled the big marble slab to go speak directly with the brokers. I watched the way you watch a shopping cart rattle toward a Porsche in a parking lot: morbidly curious, shoulders slightly hunched in a pre-loaded cringe.

The rest of the tale can be read at This Is the Best Story You’ll Read All Day Just Trust Us by Russ Rowlands (Roads & Kingdoms: Dec. 6, 2016).

Note: Sonorous Rumble is the latest addition (#351) to the list of Leonard Cohen Nicknames.

Leonard Cohen Halloween Treats

Leonard Cohen Belgian Chocolate Bar

Today’s Halloween post addresses the all-important issue of the appropriate Halloween treats for the discerning Cohenite to bestow upon the costumed ragamuffins.

Leonard Cohen’s Own Preferred Snack Foods

Cheetos are always a hit. (Photo by Bob Faggen, contributed by Leonard Cohen)

faggenLicorice Cigars

Leonard Cohen, who has been called the finest poet of his generation — albeit by a Canadian cultural magazine no one has heard of — is sitting there eating penny candy and drinking Welch’s grape juice in the upstairs furnished duplex he rents near the McGill campus in Montreal. The penny candy, which is in a glass on a coffee table, is mostly licorice cigars with those little red things on the fat ends.1 [emphasis mine]

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  1. From Is the World (or Anybody) Ready for Leonard Cohen? by Jon Ruddy. Maclean’s: October 1, 1966 []

Leonard Cohen’s Montreal: The Montreal Pool Room

Montreal Pool Room at its post-2010 site, across street from the location Leonard Cohen visited

The Montreal Pool Room is another Montreal establishment regularly named as a Leonard Cohen hangout. The following excerpt is from Montreal Pool Room Is Moving On Wednesday by Andy Riga (Montreal Gazette: March 26, 2010)

From a 2009 Gazette story about the lower Main:

One of the most popular night spots in the 1960s and ’70s was the Montreal Pool Room, at 1200 St. Laurent, where you could score a hot dog steamé and rub shoulders with the likes of a young Leonard Cohen or Michel Tremblay.

“Reeking of patates, steamies and lost innocence, this cheap Red Light institution has hands down the best hot dogs and inhale-the-grease fries,” is how one tourist guidebook writer described the Pool Room.

In spite of the date on the door that claims a Bulgarian immigrant, Filipoff Dakov, opened the Montreal Pool Room in 1912, city archives show Dakov obtained his first licence in 1921.

His was one of three billiards rooms on the block.

The Montreal Pool Room lost much of its legendary underground allure after it was gutted by fire in 1989. When it reopened, things weren’t quite the same.

I’m not sure about that. It still has a je-ne-sais-quoi.

“Seedy goodness,” is how one colleague describes it.

“It is a slice of our nightlife, where the world – rich or poor – meets,” says another.

Hot dog steamé from the Montreal Pool Room

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Leonard Cohen Munching Healthy Snacks (No Cheetos In Sight)

Leonard Cohen, who has a penchant for sweets such as chocolate bars and a now well-known penchant for Cheetos (see below), is shown here grazing on a health-conscious selection of fruits in the studio.

Photo atop post found at the official Leonard Cohen site. This photo was originally posted Nov 19, 2011 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen On His Red Needle Cocktail-Fueled Passion For “Always” As A R&B Song

Leonard Cohen prepares Red Needle on Talkshowet 1992-12-05

I like your cover of “Always” on the new record. You once told me that your ambition was to someday wear a tuxedo, stand over by a grand piano, and sing “As Time Goes By.”

Did I? (laughs) “Always” is in 3/4 tempo, but every time I played it, it turned into this 4/4 R&B song. When we got into the studio, I was dispensing this drink I invented in Needles, California, called the Red Needle, and I felt we should all drink a lot of this before we recorded. It’s composed of tequila and cranberry juice and fresh fruit. It’s very colorful and very potent. The version you hear is the shortest version I could find because usually we played it for the entire length of the tape. We couldn’t stop playing it.

From Sincerely, L. Cohen by Brian Cullman (Details for Men, January, 1993). Originally posted Oct 23, 2014 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Also see Video: Leonard Cohen, Poet-Singer-Songwriter-Mixologist, Recreates His Red Needle Drink On TV