25 Of The City's Coolest Matchbooks—Collect 'Em All!

You might remember Gin Lane partner Emmett Shine from the truly awesome business cards story we did a while back. Well, this savvy collector is b-b-b-back to share some of his favorite matchbooks from up and down our favorite island, as well as a few from the Hamptons and some other New York-related locales (Miami's in there!). And pyros, we're not talking about some bland little flap of paper with a restaurant logo stamped on it. Nope, this is all about really unique specimens of miniature artwork you'd love to carry in your bag or keep on your mantel—whether you need a light or not. "I love simple, elegant design that feels relevant but timeless," says Shine. And man does he deliver: From an old-school Soviet print to a simple pair of peepers, Shine's favorite samples are all here, plus one or two tchotchkes that he included, along with the lowdown on what makes them so special. While there are endlessly major matchbooks all over the Big Apple, we can't list all of our favorites (we only have so many Volupsas!), so leave us a comment if you think we missed some badass 'books. Can't start a fire without a spark, right?
Check out 25 of the city's coolest matchbooks—collect 'em all!
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Tom & Jerry’s
"Reminds me of the Fido Dido cartoons from the '90s; Nice, hand-drawn, black-and-white, simple design."
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"This really nice West Village restaurant has an elegant matchbook which matches the art and theme of their restaurant."
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"I found this at a flea market in Seattle. I love the three stacks of bills next to each other. Racks on racks on racks."
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"They have great branding, soft colors, and nice geometry."
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Dave’s Grill
"One of my favorite restaurants in Montauk; You have to dial in at 4:15 p.m. the day of to get a reservation. The food is great, it’s no frills, and the matchbooks match this perfectly. I love that there are a variety of fonts used but it blends together seamlessly."
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La Bottega at the Maritime Hotel
"Probably the most original matchbox I know of in New York. So well done. It really feels memorable. Great job."
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Coffee Shop
"'Open 23 hours.' Great, colorful matchbook."
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Ohio Blue Tip Matches
"The giant blue box is an American backyard staple for BBQs and grilling."
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Market Table
"Instead of matches, some restaurants offer toothpicks. This is nice packaging and presentation for the toothpicks."
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Joe’s Stone Crab
"What is more classic Miami than Joe’s? 'Same Management Since 1913.' Best Key Lime pie in the world? Nice booklet, too."
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"Located on right north of town in Montauk, the recently re-opened restaurant and bar features a sharp eye for design and detail. They have great coasters, menus, and a nice themed design. The inside of the matchbooks feature a map of the area."
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"Classic. What else is there to say. Quintessential Manhattan."
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"We do a lot of work with Aol.—they’re a fun team to work with as they are focused on constantly fusing art and technology. This is from SXSW and features the work of James Taylor, one of Aolartists collaborators. It’s a giant box, as well."
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"These guys are always great at attention to detail and design. Their newest spot, Tiny’s in Tribeca, has the coolest menus I’ve seen featuring different cityscapes cut out of corkwood. The inside of the matchbook features the drawn cityspace in pink, which makes the color of the front of the building."
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Mermaid Inn
"They are the best. Love their mermaid logo, the simple, black-and -white design they use for everything, and the beautiful cursive. One of my spots for oysters, martinis, and the weird fortune-telling red folding fish..."
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Bar Lubitsch
"A Sean MacPherson bar in Hollywood; I love the design and main character. Simple, referential, and fun."
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News Cafe
"On Ocean Drive in Miami. Again, black and white kept simple and to the point. Great type logo that's not cluttered. Bold and clean."
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The Bear Cafe
"Located upstate in Woodstock, NY, the Bear Cafe is awesome. Their logo and matchbook are great. Elegant, a bit luxurious with gold foil, and fitting with a full moon in the background."
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The Dutch
"This new restaurant features a butcher’s knife. Different than what you usually see; works well here."
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The Gutter
"I had a recent birthday at this bowling alley in Brooklyn. They are awesome. Black, white, and red all over."
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"Maya’s is a staple of the Caribbean, located in St. Barth’s. My girlfriend has a recent birthday there. I love the bright yellow and simple design. Exotic but relaxed."
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Great Jones
"Amazing orange, and the matchtips feature the same orange! Too perfect. Great spot."
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Collection of Baron Von Fancy lighters
"BVF doesn’t do matches, but he does do lighters, and has done a ton. Here are some of my favorites; Most are in collaboration with other artists or personalities."