FOR THE FOOD LIFE’S “Lucky 13” Favorite Irish Pubs
– Outside Boston, Chicago, South Bend, or NYC area.
CRITERIA: No prefab pop up template ‘Irish Pubs’
MUST HAVE: 10+ year history.
BONUS POINTS: It’s In a former residence, It’s in a neighborhood, It has a “Supernatural” component, It has a legendary Irish Pub Legend as part of its folklore.
Murphy’s Memphis, TN
Category – Glorious Dive & Neighborhood Hang Out
Originally Opened in late 70’s by Russell George, who named it after his son Murphy. The first motto was “Midtown, Motown, & Monk”. This anthem was displayed in the bar & on Murphy’s T-Shirts, a St. Paddy’s day fashion staple. Murphy’s was originally just a beer bar, with a great jukebox, as Russell always had a great love and insider’s understanding of jukebox Music history, especially the rarities, and later parlayed the expertise into the infamous Ernestine’s and Hazels venture on Main in a historic brothel used to service Beale street musicians and patrons back in its 1st heyday. But the Monk story; well, Monk was a notorious Street Personality usually in Midtown or Crosstown area, who had an intimidating profile with strategic facial protrusions that were highly visible, even under his well worn fluorescent orange hunting cap. He wrapped several dirty coats around his neck on his 4’ frame, and while brandishing his orange candy cane striped cane like a drunken Musketeer, he carried both an aroma of the street as well as the countenance of the old neighbor keeping the kids off his lawn. He was usually seen waving his cane at passing motorists as he wandered in the streets, or guarding a local bartender/bookies payphone/house phone, keeping patrons away so that incoming bets could be received (anyone remember “Big Daddy’s on Madison, etc.?), in exchange for Hamburgers and Beers. But I digress….
So when Monk died, Russell was at the funeral and strategically tossed a set of Murphy’s keys (according to Russell they were an actual set of Murphy’s Keys, though no one to my knowledge ever dared dig them up to test the proclamation) into the grave as they tossed shovels full of dirt on the casket, promising to the dearly departed Monk for all to hear, “Monk, you’re always welcome at Murphy’s”. And for years Russell kept Monk’s dirty hat and cane behind the bar.
Patrons from those days would hardly recognize the place now, as Murphy’s has had a lot of work done. Full liquor bar, enclosed patio, extended raised east room, etc.. In Murphy’s early St. Patrick’s Days, Russell would remove all furniture and shuffle board game to the alley out back to make room for the overflow crowd that would extend on to Madison Ave. and the small parking lot. The day would start with Russell lifting young Murphy up on the bar, Russell pouring shots to the surrounding crew and all nighters, and then Murphy would bless the Kegs, the shots would be tossed back, and the fun would begin. Gail Stanton, Memphis model and former Playboy Playmate used to make an appearance every year.
I was lucky enough once during Cotton Carnival to share a beer with Archie Manning at Murphys’ as he was being Honored as a Cotton Carnival ambassador in early 80’s. This and other celebrity sightings are proof that Southern royalty will drop in to Murphy’s throughout the years, to rub elbows with the alcohol soaked underbelly of Midtown. ..
Casey Moore’s Oyster House – Tempe, AZ
Category – Collegiate & Neighborhood Hang Out
Employees swear they have see a “Ghost in the walk in” – It’s in an Old House @ 9th & Ash, an old neighborhood within walking distance of Arizona State University campus. Large sprawling outdoor area with picnic tables, lawn bowling, romantic nooks, and benches.
Limerick Junction – Virginia Highlands, Atlanta
Category – Neighborhood drinking hang out
Irish Olympic Boxing Team = 96
Murphys Pub – Champaign, ILL
Category – Collegiate Hang Out
Open since 1969, right off the Illinois University campus, on Green Street – the main drag. You may be lucky enough to run into the Fighting Illini Women’s Rugby Club team! Try to go toe to toe with them in a drinking game.)
McGuire’s Irish Pub – Pensacola, FLA
Category – Tourists and Locals welcome
Open Since 1977, Over One Million Signed Dollar bills on the ceiling, in Pensacola’s original 1927 Firehouse
3 Angry Wives Pub, Las Vegas NV. (in West LV area Neighborhood near Summerlin)
Category – Neighborhood Hang out, Open 24 hours a day! Gambling machines.
3 Angry Wives logo features One wife brandishing Meat Cleaver, One with Rolling Pin, and one with a Frothy mug of beer in each hand.
The Shanty – Tuscon, AZ – since 1937!!!!
Category – Neighborhood & Collegiate hang out
“ Unique Experience for the Drinking Enthusiast” – you can find retired professors reading worn poetry books, sports enthusiasts, drinking professionals and students on the 7 year plan hanging out in this amazing place!
Celtic Crossing –Memphis
Category – Neighborhood Hang Out, Soccer Fan Pub, Entertainment
It is in an Old House that still has stairway in main room. More on this later in my best Soccer Pubs story in 2 weeks.
Padre Murphys – North Phoenix, AZ
Category – Neighborhood Hang Out, Sports Bar, OTB Parlor
Truth be told, it’s named for an Irish Catholic priest that owner Tom Boyle has known since childhood. Hence the ANTHEM – “Go and Sin No More”
Silky O’Sullivans – Beale Street, Memphis, TN
Category – Entertainment, Sports Bar, Tourists and Locals Welcome – Live GOAT!
In heart of Beale Street, across the street from Fedex Forum, in 100 year old building that was even then a sprawling saloon of incredible proportions. Silky Sullivan was founder & owner who had several versions of his Tavern going back to 1973 in Overton Square district. Current location since 1992. More about Silky O’Sullivan’s in the best places to watch March Madness Next week in For The Food Life.
Seamus McCaffery’s – Downtown Phoenix, AZ
Category – Neighborhood Hang out, Sportsbar, Tourists and Locals welcome
Don’t be fooled, even though the website is impressive to point of overwhelming, just like the junky assemblage of Irish memorabilia and uniform patches behind the bar – It’s Really just a Good old Irish pub
Auld Dubliner – Long Beach
Category – Neighborhood Hang Out, Sports Pub, Tourists and Locals welcome
Ok, so now they have several of these in 3 states, but I included them because this is the original and it is a classic Irish Pub. In 2013 when in town for the TED show, “Bono” of U2, dropped in to pour some pints for the crowd.
Fibber McGee’s – Chandler, AZ
Category – Glorious Dive & Neighborhood Hang out
Unique bar shape and overhang. some serious drinking goes on here, take a cab as you will not be walking straight line when you pop out into the Arizona sunshine.