Late Wednesday night, as the New York Mets completed their sweep of the Chicago Cubs to clinch the National League pennant, advancing to the World Series for the first time in fifteen years, the camera quickly cut away from the scene at Wrigley Field to the celebration back home in Queens. Inside McFadden’s Saloon, an Irish sports bar tucked behind the bullpen gate at Citi Field, more than 600 screaming, blue-and-orange-clad fans were busy popping bottles of Champagne and jumping up and down in drunken jubilation.
The site of the TBS Network’s Mets “fan cam” for the duration of the National League Championship Series, McFadden’s has in recent days become one of the most popular locations in New York City to watch the team as they chase their first championship title since 1986.
“I guess the best word to describe it would be magical,” Amani Mousa, the manager of McFadden’s, tells the Voice. “I mean, people were lining up. They would arrive early just so they could make sure that they were sitting on the side of the bar that was being taped. Everyone got so into it.”
Though McFadden’s flagship location on 42nd Street has long existed as a near-inescapable midtown watering hole, for many New Yorkers this postseason has represented a coming-out party for the bar’s second location, at Citi Field. The saloon typically only operates when there’s a home game or special event at the stadium, but as the Mets traveled to the Windy City to challenge the Cubs, McFadden’s opened its doors so that diehard fans could root their team on from home.
“The McFadden’s location at Citi Field was chosen to showcase the excitement of the fan base during key moments of the game,” a TBS spokesperson told the Voice in an email. But as the Mets inched closer and closer to the pennant — and as second baseman Daniel Murphy set an MLB record with home runs in six consecutive postseason games — excitement turned to pandemonium and “key moments” became any excuse to show the crowd’s reaction at McFadden’s following a big play. In a city where Irish pubs can be found on nearly every street corner, you couldn’t ask for better publicity.
“I think that it’s definitely assisted in people recognizing that we even exist,” Mousa says. The Mets recommended TBS use McFadden’s as the location for its fan cam, and the network first reached out to the bar before the division series earlier this month. “People all week long were coming in and saying that they were here to be a part of the experience because of what they saw on TV.”
Still, thanks to the bar’s prime location and strong relationship with the team, for six years McFadden’s has been a mainstay of Mets fandom at Citi Field, even if the bandwagon is only just catching on now. During the regular season, the bar hosts autograph signings and meet-and-greets with ex-players, and patrons are able to hear the cheers of 45,000 fans from the comfort of their barstools.
“Pretty much every bar in New York City tried to capitalize on this conference series and the division series and put on their happy hour specials to draw in a crowd,” Mousa says. “But people already associate McFadden’s Citi Field with the Mets, and they know that we’re the place to be before, after, and during the game.”
Next Tuesday, when Fox broadcasts Game 1 of the World Series into millions of American homes, it remains to be seen whether McFadden’s will once again be chosen to serve as the Mets’ de facto clubhouse.
“We’re the true home to Mets fans — any other bar would be like a duplicate,” Mousa says. “No disrespect to them, but you really can’t compete with us.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 23, 2015