Midtown Happy Hour: Mamacita Loves the Balls at Foley’s Pub
If you like to eat, chances are you like to drink (read: a lot of you are freakin’ lushes), so I thought maybe it was time to introduce a happy hour column to the site. Every week, our Happy Hour Correspondent “Mamacita” will post about a different bar in Midtown that fits the Midtown Lunch mentality: unhealthy food, not lame (unless it’s lame in a cool way), and most importantly… cheap.
Foley’s pub is just across the street from the Empire State Building and has a storied history. The building is over a century old, and the decorative Tiffany glass in the back and the men’s room urinals claim to have come from the original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Not only do they proudly assert to have one of the oldest men’s restrooms (why this is a good thing I can’t fathom) but they also have the largest professional sports collection I have ever seen, which includes over 2,000s signed baseballs, jerseys and enough autographed pictures to make a killing on Ebay.
The wall of fame has autographed baseballs by a plethora of the games luminaries but also, more interestingly, balls signed by President Ford, Shaq, REO Speedwagon, and one golf ball by Arnold Palmer. Even the classic 70’s porn star Marilyn Chambers left her mark on one of Foley’s balls.
Foley’s doesn’t just stop there. They recently made headlines all around the states last year by banning the popular song Danny Boy for not only St Paddy’s day but for the full month of March! All because owner Shaun Clancy felt “the song is overplayed at the expense of other great Irish songs, is ranked among the 25 most depressing songs of all time, and was written by a man who never set foot in Ireland.” On the topic of Irish music, I asked Clancy if he had a baseball with Shane McGowan’s signature. He told me that he almost got his autograph but the day that the signed ball was to be delivered to him the waitress assigned was fired and she took off with Shane’s ball. Oh well, not the first time a man’s lost his to a woman.
So, with all this history, media coverage and kitschy popular culture angles, you’d think that Foley’s would be an utter vomitous tourist trap. Well, you’d be wrong. The staff treats you like a regular. The owner, Clancy, is always chatting about and even the regulars seem to have made their butt-indent on the leather stools.
Beer specials are very reasonable. For instance, a bucket of 5 Yuengling bottles was $15. They had a wine tasting during happy hour that was a surprising change of pace. We didn’t even know about it, yet the waitress approached us and just offered to bring us the wine samples. On the other hand, top shelf is no deal at $10 for a Kettle martini and $8 for a well martini.
They do offer a full Irish breakfast, blood sausage and all, for $12. We opted for a light snack instead and ordered a 10-inch personal pizza ($5) that came with a nice cheesy topping on a tortilla-thin crust. Pretty good if you like a really thin crust pizza, even better if you consider the price.
We also got something called the “Foley’s Onion Tower” which turned out to be onion rings hanging from a mini football goal post with 3 dipping sauces ($4.95). It was mostly all presentation and not as exciting as the tower hinted so I’d pass next time.
- $5 happy hour pizzas and cheap buckets of beer
- The endless walls of memorabilia are great conversation starters
- More balls than even Marilyn Chambers has ever seen
- Friendly staff, great owner that enjoys to share stories with the patrons
- Occasional wine tasting
- Appetizers generally fall under $10, but expect to pay a little more for entrees
- Well and top shelf drinks are not cheap!
- The front bar and seating area is narrow, so it gets crowed pretty fast during happy hour
- One of NY’s oldest men’s bathrooms, I can’t say that thrills me
Foley’s Pub, 18 W 33rd St (between 5th & 6th Ave)
Photos and post by Mamacita