Where is Utah’s oldest bar? Answer can be found at the “Tip Top” – Press Release 8/16/2004

DATE 08/16/2004 7:17 AM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Where is Utah’s oldest bar? Answer can be found at the “Tip Top”

Here is a little-known fact about U.S. Highway 89: in addition to the many historical buildings, homes and events, the scenic route is also “home” to Utah’s oldest continuously operating bar.The Tip Top Club, located right on the Heritage Highway in Centerfield, opened its doors in 1947 selling beer, ice cream, soda pop and sandwiches. It soon became a popular destination for people far and near in search of refreshment and some friendly socializing.

It has been a community establishment ever since, a not-so-easy feat in Utah. Over the years, there have been numerous changes to the state’s liquor control laws and many bars and private clubs have gone out of business.

But the Tip Top Club persevered. “The ice cream and soda pop went away, but it stayed a little beer bar and tavern and it has managed to remain open,” says owner Chuck Allred.

Some 57 years later, little has changed. The brick structure still looks much like it did back in the 1940s and 1950s, thanks to Allred’s careful restoration and preservation efforts. The only major modifications to the building have been indoor plumbing and wooden awnings. Inside, the bar is the same one that patrons sat at when the Tip Top first opened and the walk-in cooler dates back to the 1950s.

And it is still a local “hot spot.” “The community has really supported the place and kept it open through the years and all of the changes to Utah’s laws,” Allred says. “I think it is because it has always been there, the local people are used to it and they have worked to help keep it going.”

Allred and his wife, Debbie, bought the bar (and a home in Mayfield) after he fulfilled a life-long dream and “retired” in Utah. His father, Everett, was the oldest son of 10 children born to Centerfield residents Frank and Myrtle Allred. “I have been coming here for as long as I can remember,” Allred says.

“My mother had been after me for years to buy the Tip Top, and I always intended to retire here. When we came here for a family reunion in 2002, the club was for sale. I just happened to be looking for a house to buy, so I made arrangements to buy the Tip Top and my house. It was something I probably should have done years ago.”

Allred enlisted in the US Navy in 1962 and was stationed in California before serving three tours in Vietnam, where he was awarded numerous medals. After his honorable discharge in 1966 – and after only a week’s vacation – he went to work for the Pacific Telephone Company in Woodland, California. He later joined the California Highway Patrol and also worked as a private insurance investigator, establishing three with investigators and support staff offices.

After moving back to Centerfield and buying the Tip Top, Allred, backed by the town council, applied for and received private club status, which allows him to serve a larger variety of drinks. He has also added new entertainment features such as karioke every Friday night.

He admits that running a private club is a far cry from his earlier jobs, and it doesn’t lend itself well to retirement. “We are there six to seven days a week, I don’t think I can even call myself “semi-retired,”” he says with a laugh.

“But I like people and meeting new people, and everyone is very supportive of the place. We have members who come from as far away at Mt. Pleasant, Orem, Provo and Green River just because they like the atmosphere. That says a lot.”

For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502
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