Making the best of the ballgame at McMenamin’s

by Tom Beck
Posted 10/26/23

It’s game six of the National League Championship Series, and the mood at McMenamin’s Tavern is subdued. 

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Making the best of the ballgame at McMenamin’s


It’s game six of the National League Championship Series between the hometown Philadelphia Phillies and Arizona Diamondbacks, and the mood at McMenamin’s Tavern is subdued. 

The Phillies are struggling to get runners on base, and ever since starter Aaron Nola gave up back-to-back home runs to Tommy Pham and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in the second inning, McMenamin’s has been mostly quiet – save for the frequent moans, groans and expletives shouted at the ceiling. 

During the 8th inning, McMenamin’s patron and Mt. Airy resident Dan Danehy started to give up hope. The Phillies were trounced by Arizona 5-1, thanks to a strong five-inning start by the team’s starting pitcher, Merril Kelly. 

“I was here last night for the Eagles game, and now I'm here again,” he told the Local between sips of a pilsner earlier in the game when it was still, well, a game. “If there's a game tomorrow night -- and I hope there's not -- I'll be here again tomorrow.”

But Danehy would indeed have to come back Tuesday night. 

“I’m going to head out,” Danehy, a now-retired dental software salesman, told the Local in the 8th inning. “I don’t think this is going to end well.”

McMenamin’s has been the neighborhood bar since 1936, and it’s “the feel of the place,” which includes nine TVs and a bell bartenders ring every time there’s a big moment in the game, which keeps people coming back, McMenamin said.

“It's not too much,” he said. “And everybody's hanging out with their neighbor.”

McMenamin’s Tavern was the first bar Danehy, who moved to Mt. Airy 16 years ago, patronized when he moved to the neighborhood. It instantly became his favorite.

“It's a sports bar, but it's a more intellectual sports bar,” he said during the fourth inning of the National League Championship Series’s game six between the Phillies and Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday night. “Everyone here is an educated fan. There's not too many people walking around with their chest painted green.”

Going to McMenamin’s, Danehy explained, is the closest you can get to the feeling of going to a game without actually going to the game. 

“I'd rather watch the game here among other fans,” he said, “than sit at home by myself.”

The loss wasn’t the result the bar’s owner, PJ McMenamin, a colossal Philadelphia sports fan himself, wanted to see. But the forcing of a game seven on Arizona’s part certainly wasn’t bad for his bottom line.

“Even our takeout does really well with wings and stuff,” he said. “The Phillies are headed towards potentially the World Series and everybody wants to be part of that.”

Though the bar’s atmosphere was one of frustration for most of the night due to the Phils’ inability to get timely hits throughout the game, Danehy knows what it’s like to watch a game at McMenamin’s when the team is winning. And that’s why if the Phillies make it to the World Series, he’ll be back again.

“This is the first bar I came to when I moved to the neighborhood,” Danehy said. “And I keep coming back to it.”