Bar Rescue and Murphy’s Law: please help control the bar population, have your bar spayed or neutered

11/21/12 EDIT/UPDATE: Muprhy’s Law closed a mere few months after relaunch and went to auction. It has since reopened as a place known as Bradley’s, which the Sun recently reviewed as “Bland

In case you missed it last night, Spike TV’s Bar Rescue episode featuring Fells Point’s J.A. Murphy’s-turned Murphy’s Law aired, the full episode of which should be available online sooner than later (there’s currently a roughly 10 minute preview available that gives a pretty good gist of the rest of it). A few months ago I posted a pondering as to the bar’s grand reopening that no one knew about, or the renaming, Murphy’s Law was a part of our Halloween in April event and everything went swell but now it would seem Murphy’s Law is going to auction, is closed, hey great good thing that show helped them out so much I guess.

The episode itself is full of dramatics, editorially constructed subplots and Gordon Ramseyesque histrionics courtesy of the show’s host John Taffer, all of which are expected of a show like Bar Rescue. But apparently, as we’ve seen numerous times with those other shows, the limitations of production can only put a bandaid on the hull of a sinking ship, which was certainly the case with Murphy’s Law. It’s true that they pumped some major dough into renovations, repairing a support beam underneath the bar itself, a new bar system and some structural patchwork but the few times I popped in to check it out it was pretty obvious that they didn’t even touch the dilapidated bathrooms or other remaining major structural concerns. The capital needed to really overhaul the joint exceeded six figures without question, and my hunch is Spike TV ain’t got the benevolence to put that kinda love into a Baltimore bar even if they wanted to. As it was noted by then nightlife reporter Erik Maza at the Sun, the reconfiguration of the drink menu and happy hour specials took away the party atmosphere of Murphy’s, replacing it with a more boring version of a bar that was just barely interesting to begin with. Nail in the coffin.

I’ll say, it’s not a good idea to build a business/bar known widely for insanely cheap booze, it’s just going to get you in trouble one way or the other. But neutering your establishment and stripping its fun identity is in some ways worse for business, and Taffer probably knew that but didn’t have time to really tackle the issue. So Murphy’s is gone, let’s all shed a tear. My advice, if you want a happy medium with a similar vibe, observe the subplot of this episode and head literally right around the corner to Dogwatch Tavern. It’s bigger, just as fun, has decent prices and as the guy who wrote the review for the bar for the Sun said (some asshole), “While so many bars these days seem to be opting for the “upscale casual” approach with expensive drafts and microbrews, Dogwatch aims for simply “casual” and nails it.” Sounds a lot like Murphy’s used to be!

9 thoughts on “Bar Rescue and Murphy’s Law: please help control the bar population, have your bar spayed or neutered

  1. Just to add some info to your article – Bar Rescue did actually fix all of the structural issues, which is why the bathrooms unfortunately were not touched. The landlord should actually have had to pay for it, but he refused and they were on a time crunch so the show paid. Also, the show did in fact put more than 6-figures into Murphy’s. The reason for it closing was not lack of sales, we were doing well, it was debt and the fact that you can’t teach someone to be a responsible business owner in just a week. And yes, Dog Watch is awesome and everything we were not because the heart of Murphy’s left to open Dog Watch. We were there last night, it’s an awesome place.

    Lastly, Murphy’s was closed down but now it is my understanding that someone is now renting it and renovating it (the bathrooms, I assume!) and are reopening it under a new name in mid-September! I am so elated that someone will get good use out of all that new equipment!

  2. Is all that renovation expense at the kindness of John Taffer or is there a repayment of the debt expected. It would seem logically that Mr. Taffer is not a fool and would like his money spent wisely, so where does all that money come from and is it expected to be recouped by the show or the host?

    1. I assume they have a bunch of sponsors, he’s always name dropping “my good friends at XXXX provided this stripper pole!” etc. but i wouldn’t think it would get into the six figures. i doubt very highly that any money is coming out of his pocket, just the show’s budget.

  3. What was the drink with Jose and whipped cream vodka and lime didn’t get the ratios and is it really good? Sorry to hear the bar closed hope you found something

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