Local Business Update: Nancy Whiskey Pub

It figures it would take a global pandemic to change anything at Nancy Whiskey, which has been on the corner of Lispenard and Sixth Avenue since 1967. It didn’t close for 9/11 or Sandy, but the pub of course shuttered on March 16, with the rest of the city.

It’s owned by Fidi resident Billy Wall, who bought it in the late ’70s from the original owners and who left it in amber, with some minor updates here and there. (Wall also owns Saluggi’s, around the corner on Church, and Saluggi’s East, on Grand and Suffolk, which are still open for delivery and takeout.)

Wall has appointed the millennial in the group, bartender Tommy Keane, to create a GoFundMe page for the staff. (So far, Tommy said, he is the only one among the 11 employees who has been able to collect unemployment. He said if you leave one field blank in the application, it spins you off into an endless cycle of hold on the Department of Labor help center.) So every donation has made a difference.

“Everyone is in limbo, so it’s been really helpful to be able to pay some bills,” Tommy said. “The regulars have been great — I see all the names. Some of them have been coming here once or twice a week for 50 years. And people from all over the country have left messages.”

The shuffleboard table has been there since the beginning (all proceeds from that go to the Gary Sinise Foundation, which the actor founded in 2011 to support defenders, veterans and first responders) as has most of the art on the walls, including “Bless All In This House,” a painting by regular (and art radical) Bob Cenedella. “People walk in after 20, 30 years and they say, ‘Nope, nothing’s changed.’ People love that about the place.”

The bar closed the day before St. Patrick’s Day (“one of our biggest days of the year”) so that too is preserved: the decorations are all still hung, waiting.



  1. I like many other AT&T employees from 32 AOTA started to patronize Nancy’s in 1972. We now have started our annual reunion there in September for the past 28 years! We LOVE it there because it looks and has the same homely feeling after all these year! Please hang in there and stay safe!!!

  2. Hey, This brings back some great memories. I worked across the street from Nancy’s and spent many a lunch and after work times there. A big hello to Billy Wall (aka Paper). Also memories of Chris Keane, Ed & Bobby Callahan who were the original owners and of course Sam McKeon the perennial bartender.

    I hope you can weather this COVID19 storm and re-open.

    Best regards and start safe.

    Dan C.

  3. Bunch of real life cuties…

  4. Aleck rules!

  5. Who remembers the barber shop nearby…Joe & Tony. ?