Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant History
The building that houses Foley's NY Pub and Restaurant at 18 W. 33rd St. is one of historic significance.
As far back as 1913, the building was leased to the Café Rhein Restaurant Company. In 1916, it housed the Annex Cafe and Restaurant. It later became known as a “gentleman’s club,” the polite term for a pub at the time. Throughout the decades, establishments have come and gone, yet the interior of the restaurant still has a definite "turn of the century" sensibility. The mahogany walls and the tile floor are over 120 yrs old.
The Tiffany glass in the back – as well as the men’s room urinals – came from the original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, which was located where the Empire State Building currently stands. Legend has it that the owner George’s Fish House, previous iteration of 18 W. 33rd St., brought the fixtures across the street from the Waldorf in 1929. The establishment continued as George’s Fish House from the 1930s through the end of World War II. The bar changed hands several times during the ensuing decades under names such as Madigan’s and P.G. King’s (1993-2003).
When he had to opportunity to run his own establishment in 2004, owner Shaun Clancy decided to open what he calls an “Irish Bar with a Baseball Attitude.” He named it after Red Foley, a legend among New York sports writers. It’s a place where customers get old fashioned Irish hospitality along with satellite transmissions of MLB games and one of the best baseball memorabilia collections in the country.
Foley’s is adorned with seats from Fenway Park, Tiger Stadium and Camden Yards, game-used jerseys, an orange Charley Finley Ball used in the 1970s by the Oakland A’s, more that 300 bobbleheads, and 1,800+ autographed baseballs, including nearly 100 Hall of Famers. Among the notable baseballs signed by players, celebrities, politicians, journalists and others are: former met Joe McEwing (first autograph in Foley’s); Hoyt Wilhelm, Hall of Fame pitcher (#500); Marilyn Chambers, adult film star (# 755); Joe Girardi, Yankee manager (# 756); Joe DiMaggio, Yankee legend (# 1,000); Bill Parcells, Super Bowl-winning NY Giants coach (# 1,500); and Henry Cejudo, 2008 Olympic Wrestling Gold Medalist (# 1,800).
Foley's unveiled the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame, which includes former and current players, execs, journalists and entertainers. Created in 2008 with the blessing of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, it includes plaques honoring legendary manager Connie Mack, Yankee broadcaster John Flaherty, popular Mets & Phillies reliever Tug McGraw, slugger Mark McGwire, Kevin Costner, star of Bull Durham and Field of Dreams, and other inductees. The Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame is becoming a destination for out-of-town baseball fans of all ethnicities.
In March 2008, Foley’s gained worldwide renown by banning the song Danny Boy for St. Patrick’s Day and the entire month. The story was covered by the AP, ABC, CBS, FOX, CNN, NBC, and NPR, as well as ABC (Australia) BBC, RTE, CBC (Canadian broadcasting) and over 800 newspapers worldwide. It also was the subject of countless radio and TV programs, including the popular Colbert Report on Comedy Central. At one point, the “Danny Boy ban” made the home pages of AOL, MSN, Comcast and Yahoo! simultaneously.
Foley’s has now become a destination not only for baseball fans, but also for New Yorkers and tourists from all over the world who want to visit the famed “Bar That Banned Danny Boy.”