McSorley's was a home away from home for many of those who had decided to leave Ireland's shores, for one reason or another. Men congregated there to talk about the news of the homeland, and to argue over and over again about what should be done, and why they're not the ones to do it.
For many years, McSorley's was a boys' club - women weren't allowed in until about 1965.
The atmosphere changed over the years. Now it's a hangout for young people and college kids, young folk looking for a bit of the nostalgia of an early 20th Century Irish pub.