This coming Tuesday I’m attending my first blogging event as a vintage blogger at the new malt shop called “Bean & Baker” right here in Toronto. I’m very excited to check out what they have decided to do with their store and try their yummy drinks and then bring that back here to all of you. Stay tuned!

UPDATE: See my visit HERE.

Bean and Baker Malt Shop Toronto

In the mean time, lets take a stroll down malt shop lane and check out some cool images of vintage soda/malt shops and the customers who are enjoying them.

lana turner at a malt shop
Lana Turner 1937


A Soda shop, also often known as a Malt shop (after malt, a sweet milkshake flavoring), is a business akin to an ice cream parlor and a drugstore soda fountain. Interiors were often furnished with a large mirror behind amarble counter with gooseneck soda spouts, plus spinning stools, round marble-topped tables and wireframe sweetheart chairs.

The counter-service soda fountain was introduced in 1903, and around that same time, drugstores began to attract noontime customers by adding sandwiches and light lunches. The beverage menu at a soda shop usually included ice cream sodas, chocolate malts, fountain colas and milkshakes. A 1915 issue of Soda Fountain magazine stated: “The soda fountain of today is an ally of temperance… Ice cream soda is a greater medium for the cause of temperance than all the sermon ever preached on that subject (source).”

Now what can we get you?

1950s soda jerk
Source: Wikimedia
1950s Soda Shop
Source: Flickr-
UNCG Digital Projects

1950s malt shop image

Malt Shop are for hanging out, catching up and also reading as these girls are demonstrating.

1952 malt shop image
Source: Flickr- File Photo Digital Archive

When grabbing a drink at the counter it’s mandatory that one looks their best, like these very stylish teenagers. Their hats are the BEST!

1950s teenagers at the soda shop

And looking their best for these boys means it’s all about the Plaid.

1950 teenage boys hanging at the soda shop

After a fun day at the beach a nice refreshing drink will do the trick. And now on a side note, what an amazing photo! The girl swimsuits are stunning as well as the girl’s hair on the right. WOW!

1940 girls in swimsuits at the soda counter
Girls sitting at the soda bar in Atlantic City (1948)

There is that fantastic “counter” style we keep seeing. Another great hat! Wonder if that is mandatory when going to a malt shop?

1940s woman at a soda counter

Even Movie stars stopped by for a milkshake or two as seen here in the picture below with Joan Crawford and her editor Alice in 1939. P.S. HAT! (see it’s mandatory to have a great hat).

Joan Crawford at Soda Fountain with Editor Alice Thompson, 1939.
Image by © CondÈ Nast Archive/Corbis

Malt Shops are not just for teenagers and movie stars, they are for all ages.

1940s vintage soda shop image
Source: We had faces then
1950s little girl at the malt shop counter
(Photo by Terrence Spencer//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Date Night!

1930s Malt shop vintage image

1950s teenage couple

1950s teenagers on a date

Shall we have a dance or listen to some music before we leave?

Image by © Michael Ochs
Image by © Michael Ochs
1940s 1950s teenagers listening to music at the soda shop
Source: Pinterest-Erica Lewis

Lastly when I was in Memphis the hubby and I stopped in at A.Schwab and had REAL soda’s from their vintage soda counter. Here are a couple of images of that super cool experience.

A.Schwab Soda Bar Memphis
Soda Bar Choices

mmmmmm real soda pop.

Homemade Soda from A.Schwab Memphis
Which one to try first?


Now Question: Do you have a favorite place to go for vintage sodas? Milkshakes?

Liz 🙂

7 comments on “Vintage Malt Shops”

  1. So fun! I want my time machine again. From lovely Lana to all the cool hats, the way they even made rolling up their jeans look cool, that girl on the right’s hair (bet that took a lot of work) and crazy Joan Crawford drinking calories, malt shops look like the place to be. We were born too late to have “soda jerk” make us one in our youth. Of course, all that time at the counter prepares you for the adult years, sitting at a bar, drinking different drinks.

  2. How fabulously fun!!! It really warms my vintage loving Canadian heart to hear about a classic malt shop like this opening. I’m so going to tag along with you in spirit! 🙂

    ♥ Jessica

  3. I’m crazy about vintage soda shops. There are two great ones near mr Franklins fountain in Philly and Brooklyn farmacy in Brooklyn. We need more of these places

    • ohh good to know about the 2 soda shops your mentioned if I ever visit. I love them so much and I’m excited Toronto is finally getting one as I agree as well that we need more.

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