Everyone Came to Elaine's

Everyone came to Elaine's. And that's hardly an exaggeration. A Manhattan Upper East Side institution helmed by a chain-smoking owner who wasn't afraid to toss men twice her size just because she didn't like them, Elaine's was the go-to spot for generations of celebrities and media types—and was the place to be on Oscar night in New York City. Elaine Kaufman died in December 2010; earlier this week, it was announced that her beloved restaurant would follow.

When the owner departs, the fizz disappears from the champagne. It's over," said William Grimes, author of a culinary history of New York. But even after Elaine's is gone, New York will still have the memories. Click on any photo below to expand. View the full gallery on LIFE.com.


Everyone Came to Elaine'sMatt Dillon leaves Elaine's in 1985.

[Ron Galella/WireImage/LIFE.com]

Everyone Came to Elaine's

Carly Simon attends a party for Michael Caine in 1992.

[Ron Galella/WireImage/LIFE.com]

Everyone Came to Elaine's

Sean Penn and Madonna bring their scowls in 1984.

[Ron Galella/WireImage/LIFE.com]

Everyone Came to Elaine's

Diane Keaton in her man-jacket phase in 1983.

[Ron Galella/WireImage/LIFE.com]

Everyone Came to Elaine's

Diana Ross says goodbye in 1985.

[Ron Galella/WireImage/LIFE.com]

Everyone Came to Elaine's

Arnold Schwarzenegger smokes a cigar outside Elaine's in 1986.

[Ron Galella/WireImage/LIFE.com]


Everyone Came to Elaine'sRepublished with permission from LIFE.com. Photo at top: Robin Platzer/Twin Images/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images.