On the northeast corner at Cook and Station Streets there stands a very old building. It started out around 1865 as the Barrington Fair Store where McGonigal’s Pub is now. In 1916, the frame structure was moved to its present site to make way for the new bank. Since then, its walls have been adapted for many occupants and many uses. But none has been so well and happily remembered as the Town Shoppe of Audrey and Wilbur “Nibs” Veath.
It first opened in the 1930s by Nibs’ brother Joe. In 1957, Nibs and his wife Audrey bought the business and for the next 27 years, the Town Shoppe became a comfortable community center where local news was shared at its long counter. Steamy cups of coffee in the morning, for many on the way to the train; Audrey’s homemade soups and pies at lunchtime, and then famously, on a hot summer evening, after a weary day at the office, a Lime Rickey.
The Lime Rickey was synonymous in Barrington with the Town Shoppe. The tart and refreshing combination of fresh lime juice, simple syrup, and seltzer was named after a Democratic lobbyist, Colonel Joe Rickey, who collaborated with the bartender of Shoomaker’s, a grimy bar in Washington, D.C. in the 1880s. At first a cocktail that could include gin or bourbon instead of syrup, it evolved to become a refreshing non-alcoholic drink, found at soda fountains in small towns across America.
The Veaths retired in 1984; they were the epitome of Mom-and-Pop store owners, loved and respected by those who enjoyed their hospitality. Many folks strolled around town with their Lime Rickey. Only a newcomer might ask about your drink.
Audrey and Nibs Veath, the Town Shoppe, and Lime Rickeys. A cherished glassful of Barrington history.
Barbara L. Benson grew up in Kent, England, and later moved to New York. She settled in Barrington and has walked with our history ever since she first arrived here in 1980.
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