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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 Old Timer.

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.

 
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