On May 18, 1981, a year after Mt. St. Helen’s blew, Seattle’s first Irish bar opened: Murphy’s Irish Pub. That’s right. We’ve been around for more than thirty years.
When Chris Barnes and Dan Cowan originally opened Murphy’s, it stood where Starbucks stands today, a half a block to the east (a Radio Shack stood on the corner of 45th and Meridian, where Murphy’s is today). Dan left shortly after (and went on to open The Tractor Tavern in Ballard), while Chris slowly built a Seattle institution.
For years, its stage was host to the nationally syndicated Sandy Bradley’s Potluck, a sort of Prairie Home Companion of Seattle, featuring “traditional old-time American music, ragtime and blues to movie cartoon sound tracks and novelty songs”.
Being the first Irish pub, it managed to log a few firsts along the way: the first bar in Seattle to start a St. Patrick’s Day tradition (the lines start forming at 10 am now), the first bar in Seattle to pour micro brews from the tap (Redhook opened in Fremont in 1982), and first in the hearts of its patrons all the way.
30 years later, you’ll find that Murphy’s is still pretty much the same: a bar in the Irish tradition, where you can shoot some darts with friends over a Guinness, listen to some live music a few nights a week (Irish music jam session on Mondays), and just relax after a long day.