Oct. 4, 2023 By Jessica Militello
Murphy’s Bar, located at 45-01 23rd Ave., has been the place to be for sports fans in Astoria since it opened last month, just in time for the start of football season.
The venue is the perfect place, not just for watching sports, but also to participate in community games and events. Given these attractions, the place has been packed with excited customers who have been checking out the vast new space and all it has to offer.
“I wanted to stand out a bit differently from all the sports bars,” said Murphy’s Bar owner Rory Murphy. “Whether you’re into sports or you’re just coming with a friend, it’s not just the taps that we have — we also make good cocktails and the [food] menu we have as well.”
The bar has a pretty packed weekly schedule of sports and games, including Premier league soccer, NFL, WWE nights, Monday Night Football, AEW Dynamite, Europa league soccer, rugby and more. They also have game nights featuring activities like cornhole, beer pong, darts and board games. There is also a darts league for beginners to advanced players.
Murphy wants the bar to be a community space, where friends can get together and feel connected with the Astoria community.
“I get a lot of joy seeing the excitement on people’s faces and we’ve got all age groups of people literally acting like a child watching games or having the games night,” said Murphy. “That to me is the best part of the job, to be able to showcase that and plan those events that you can’t get in a lot of places these days.”
Murphy was born and raised in Ireland before calling Astoria his home when he moved here 10 years ago. He first started as a bartender before becoming a partner in opening up another Astoria gem, The Wolfhound on 30th Avenue in late 2016.
Murphy’s Bar is a solo project that he embarked on where he combines his love of sports, music, and comradery that he got from his father while growing up. The spot is filled with tons of sports memorabilia and knick knacks, as well as photos of favorite bands and musicians, and even photos of some beloved movies that were partly filmed in Astoria, like “A Bronx Tale” and “Goodfellas.” Upon entering the bar, there is a painting of the Hell Gate Bridge next to the Cliffs of Moher from Ireland, representing the two places he calls home.
“Murphy’s was somewhat of a tribute to my father because what this bar represents is that entertainment value and sports thing and it was something my father instilled in us,” said Murphy. “He was a well-known musician and he got us into music and then he got us into sports.”
Like the rest of the bar, the food menu pays tribute to Murphy’s roots, while adding some influences
from the present. His friend Carlos Velez created much of the menu, a mixture of Irish and Colombian cuisine along with traditional bar fare.
The spiced bag is a popular bar staple in Ireland, made with crispy chicken, peppers, fries, and spices that Velez added to put his own touch on it. Other popular items are the spicy beef quesadilla, Murphy’s Law burger, and curry dumplings, as well as typical dishes like wings and sides like disco fries and curry fries.
The venue offers 14 drafts, cocktails, and even several espresso martinis to choose from like Terry’s orange, made with vanilla vodka, Mr. Black and cointreau, and the razztini, made with vodka, Mr. Black and raspberry liqueur, just to name a couple. Coming soon, the bar will also have sancocho Sunday, disco croquettes and spicy tacos.
Their next big event will be their Halloween party and with the holiday fast approaching, the new bar might be the place to stop by, especially for sports fans, since they plan on putting their own unique twist on it to match with their sporty theme.
According to Murphy, the event will be called “Walking Dead Sports edition,” where everyone can dress up as zombies in their favorite sports jerseys or even as their favorite athletes. The fun theme is set to become an annual event especially if it goes really well and will include music, hot cider and special cocktails for the occasion. Those interested should check out their Instagram page for official updates, but so far, it’s shaping up to be an unforgettable event.
In the meantime, Murphy’s Bar already has a lot to check out for happy hour specials, fun games and other events to get friends and neighbors together.
“I just like being able to host good parties in here,” Murphy said. “What people might look for in Manhattan, they don’t have to look too far because we have these things in their own neighborhood.”
*This story first ran in the BORO Magazine October issue.