The New Starlight Inn: An Upstate New York Shuffleboard Beer Joint



OF . . .


The Phippens, on opening day. From left:  
Ellen, Dick, Derek, Sheila, and owner Clark

 Starlight Photo Gallery    


June, 1998.

Welcome to the Grand Opening of the
New Starlight Inn
, located in the heart of the Hamlet of Winthrop, NY, just off US Highway 11 about 13 miles northeast of Potsdam. The New Starlight Inn is the namesake of the original Starlight Inn, a rowdy, flying-barstool establishment, fondly, and perhaps not-so-fondly remembered by the more seasoned New Starlight Inn patrons. Mr. Clark Phippen, owner of Phippen's trucking, and patriarch of the well-know Phippen clan of Winthrop, swung his doors open for business on June 19, 1998.  I was there for the grand opening and snapped some photos of a wildly successful christening of the bar!


Not having a bar in a North Country town is like not having a drug store in a Florida retirement community, so Clark Phippen, seizing an obvious money-making venture, built his bar where the old Rufa's restaurant once stood. In just a few short years, the Winthrop/Brasher Falls area has suffered the grievous loss of three taverns, all to fire. The first to burn down was the venerable Ward's Hotel, well known throughout the North Country as a great place to eat, as well as drink. Next to go was  the notorious Lil's Tavern. Rowdier than Wards, Lil's attracted a younger crowd, and it  was the place for rock 'n' roll on a Saturday night. Three years later, Rufa's Restaurant, a favorite watering hole for many years, burned to the ground. Before Rufa's Restaurant, it was Ryan's Restaurant,  where on Saturday nights many of the locals enjoyed refined and edifying entertainment provided by none else but topless go-go girls. Finally, just last year, one of the last remaining bars open to the public in the area, the Winthrop Bar, didn't burn down, but closed its doors due to financial difficulties (now re-opened under new management).


(Dick Andrews)

The recent loss of the Brasher Falls/Winthrop area's three major drinking establishmnents to fire is tantamount to the State of Michigan's loss, should the Great Lakes run dry. Thus Winthrop and Brasher's townspeople have placed great trust in the New Starlight Inn's capacity to make up for all that beer that never got drunk. The bar has a convivial atmosphere, friendly bartenders, and an excellent new shuffleboard table. You might see Clark's son and daughter-in-law Larry and Laura on the shuffleboard, so watch out!they've slid a few pucks in their day. Also keep watch for a tall, gangly fellow who goes by "Twiggy." He's the local shuffleboard shark. Local country crooner Gary Murray runs Karaoke Friday and Saturday nights at the Starlight. If you can't carry a tune, no matterteam up with Gary, turn down your microphone a bit, and the audience will think you sing  just like Clint Black.


So the next time you're in the Brasher/Winthrop area be sure to swing into the New Starlight Inn for a beeryou won't regret it!you won't regret it!

  .Starlight Photo Gallery

North Country