Go anywhere and say you are from Clinton, Massachusetts and the first
thing you will hear in response is “I’ve been to the Old
Timer.” The Old Timer Restaurant has been the landmark
restaurant for four generations of Clintonians. Every politician, sports
star and celebrity who has visited Clinton since 1929, has been to the
Started by John and Helen McNally in the 1929, they converted the
street-side flower shop into a bar called the “Tap Room.” The name “Old
Timer” derived from the old patrons who became daily fixtures when the
bar first opened. The greatest honor the ‘Tap Room” can bestow on a
patron is to retire their hat above the bar. There are dozens of hats
on display and Jim, Irene or Brian will be glad to tell you the story
behind each one.
The dining room was added in 1934 and is virtually unchanged today. Even
the murals done by German artist Fred Gentsch are still intact. In
1941, the McNally's opened the Clinton Hotel next door which was
connected to the Old Timer Restaurant. The 33 room hotel has since
been converted 16 apartments.
In the 1930s, diners would be entertained by the likes of Sammy Davis,
Jr. with the Will Mastin Trio, singer Jim Brown, Shermis Midgets from
Germany, orchestras, roller skating acts, dance bands and even trapeze
acts. Trapeze acts?? The trapeze support rings are still visible
in the dining hall support beams. Rumor has it that the German midgets
would climb a rope, invert themselves, and then play clarinets!!!!
Today, music is still a part of the Old Timer Restaurant. An afternoon
buffet is still served every Sunday from September through June and
includes entertainment ranging from piano music, singing groups and Jim
McNally (the singing chef) serenading the patrons.