Murphy’s Tavern gets a facelift

In April, Bob Bear signed a contract to manage and partially own Murphy’s Tavern on Henry Avenue in Roxborough. Since then, Bear, 46, has torn down the restaurant’s booths and replaced them with high top tables, trimmed down the fried items on the menu and an added an outdoor patio connected to the tavern by French doors, which lets in more natural lighting to the bar. All of these changes, Bear says, aim to transform Murphy’s from an obscure dive to a family-friendly neighborhood bar.

“Our motto is it’s a neighborhood place with a big city taste,” says Bear, whose business partners are Misconduct Tavern owners Chris Markham and Chuck Ercole.

Bear says he’s simply improving the dining experience for customers with Murphy’s new look and relaxed atmosphere. Popular items like its customizable pizza and burgers remain on the menu. And Murphy’s still offers daily specials like wing nights on Wednesdays, albeit with jumbo wings now and a revamped hot sauce recipe, Bear says.

“Before, I think we had a large menu and did everything okay,” says Bear. “Now, we trimmed down the menu and do everything great.”

Trivia night is a new weekly attraction at Murphy’s, and it’s held every Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. Alex Gross, a 25-year-old Roxborough native, hosts the event. Gross also runs the pop culture and Philadelphia comedy blog with some of his friends, and says he scours the internet to create trivia questions rooted in music and entertainment-related factoids.

“It generally tends to be stuff the average person understands,” says Gross. People competing in Murphy’s night stand win everything from free drinks and dinners to gift cards. 

“We didn’t want to reinvent the wheel, so we just took the previous owners legacy that we inherited and grew with it,” says Bear. He says he expects to sign the contract for complete ownership of Murphy’s by December.

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