The Sly Fox Inn, a popular bar and restaurant on Union Turnpike in Fresh Meadows, will close next Friday. In business since 1977, it enjoyed a spot only two blocks east of St. John’s University. It became a meeting place for St. John’s students and faculty alike.
“The Sly Fox has been a pillar of the local community for decades because of their friendly staff and family values,” said Barney Carleton, a St. John’s graduate. “It served as the only bar and restaurant in the general vicinity of St. John’s University, serving athletics, alumni and the university. There have been many variables in the neighborhood over the years, but the Sly Fox has been a staple.”
A local feeling was part of the appeal.
“I liked the atmosphere. I enjoyed working with the people I worked with,” said Dallis Vargas, who started working as a waitress at the Sly Fox Inn in October. “The regular customers seemed like one giant family. It’s a nice neighborhood kind of place. It’s a bar near a college without being a college bar. It’s more laid back.”
Students enjoyed having an off-campus hangout.
“That’s the one cool place that teachers and students were allowed to be social outside of school,” said John Corbett, who graduated from St. John’s in May. “There were good vibes all around. It never felt like a ‘college kid’ bar, but more of an adult bar. That’s why I think that faculty and students could go there after class and grab a drink together, because it was a classy bar that they could both be at.”
Although students and faculty may be sorry to hear the news, it was not a complete shock.
“I’m not surprised,” said Bob Richards, President of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce. “It looked like they were ready. It’s just part of the general economy and competition. It just looked like it was falling down.”
Richards also noted that they may have been “pigeonholed into one age group.” Eddie Moore, owner of the Sly Fox Inn, declined to comment for the article.
The end of the Sly Fox Inn marks the end of an era.
“What I liked about it was it seemed like a tradition. My dad used to bring the family there before each game when we were kids,” said Scott Saunders, whose father graduated from St. John’s. “It was also fun to talk about St. John’s or to see a former player, whether it was a scrub or a player you remember being good.”