McFadden had been a fixture both behind and in front of the mahogany bar that was a haven on game days for Michigan Wolverines fans, as well as those rooting for the Buffalo Bills. The former junior high math teacher first opened the bar at 800 Second Avenue in 1977 with his brother Joe and a friend named Danny Ryan.
The bar eventually franchised, and McFadden’s now has more than a dozen locations, from San Diego to Washington, D.C.
The original location of the bar — known for attracting a wide variety of people, including journalists and firefighters — was the setting for Lucky Guy, a 2013 play by Nora Ephron about the late Mike McAlary of the Daily News. It was also the place where future governor Andrew Cuomo once celebrated a birthday.
Back in 2008, McFadden's bar was home to a glass-throwing brawl that included four FDNY firefighters among twenty people in the fight, the Times reported. The article starts with McFadden himself recalling a fight at the Yale Club, of all places. But "McFadden’s is neither the Yale Club nor a typically rowdy saloon, but is, like most drinking establishments in New York City, somewhere in between the two extremes,” the story notes.
The late McFadden embraced more than a pint, especially for a cause. In 2015, McFadden paired up to start a wine label with Mets' Ron Darling, called Darling. Proceeds went to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.