Monday, February 9, 2015

Foley's

I don't like sports bars. I don't like nouveau Irish bars. So I'm not sure what made me stick my head into Foley's on West 33rd, but I'm glad I did.





Foley's is famous for its dizzying museum of baseball memorabilia (including more than 3,000 autographed balls). It's only been there about a decade, but the bar itself is a well-preserved antique.

The decorative tile floor alone is worth the trip. There's also a scenic stained-glass wall in the back (Tiffany, or so I was told), and a set of imposing men's room urinals that date to the late 1800s (I was told).







The staff is friendly and, if you're lucky, you'll find yourself in conversation with John Clancy, father of the owner, Shaun Clancy, and author of a memoir entitled "Never Say I Can't." It's easy to fall into chatting with Clancy. Just walk around admiring the place and he'll tell you all about it.

"See that clock up there? It comes from..."



"Papa John," as he is affectionately known, will also tell you about the days when he worked at Toots Shor's, serving Frank Sinatra and Jackie Gleason. And he'll point you to the pistol framed by the door, a gift to him from the mobster Frank Costello.

I wouldn't go to Foley's at night, or during a big game, but on a quiet Saturday afternoon, it's a perfect spot for an old New York feeling.




10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Foley's is like an unregistered NYC museum. I'm surprised it wasn't on your radar.

Give some "newer" places a chance, Jeremiah. Not everything that has opened in NYC since 1990 is a blight on the city.

JAZ said...

My favorite part of sports in bars are the no frills places with the old guys sitting at the end of the bar watching the horse racing channel with their racing forms on the bar.

Speaking of which, it doesn't get any mention, but I feel like shutting down the OTB parlors had to have at least a little something to do with the whole Disneyfication of the city.

Mark said...

What was Foley's before it was Foley's?

Anonymous said...

Now this is making me feel old because I went to Foley's before it was Foley's. I used to work in the Empire State Bldg in the 90s & spent many an afterwork there. Back then it was called PG Kings. Always a good place with nice bathrooms. I see from the pictures they haven't changed a bit.

Gojira said...

Those are very cool urinals, but still not as impressive as those in Old Town. (OK I admit it, I sneak into men's rooms to take a look at antique pissoirs!)

Jeremiah Moss said...

Old Town's are good, too. Gojira, do you take pics?

Anonymous said...

I also used to work in the Empire State Bldg and went there when it was called PG Kings....still go there regularly......the stained glass is from the Waldorf-Astoria which previously occupied the site of the ESB.

John Delach said...

You didtn't mention the unique feature of Foley's that first attracted me, the door handles are baseball bats. Also Shaun Clancy named it after the Daily News sports writer, the late Red Foley.

Anonymous said...

Closing all the OTB places was a big part of ruining NYC.

turner23ism said...

Gojira, have you seen the ceramic coffin sized pissoir at McSorleys. Same thing to do is enjoy it in the afternoon when not frat boy busy.