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February 3, 2009

J.A. Murphy's Tavern replaces Lulu's Off Broadway

j.a. murphy's tavernHere's a first look at J.A. Murphy's Tavern (1703) Aliceanna St.).

The new Fells Point bar opened last week in the space formerly occupied by Lulu's Off Broadway.

Lulu's closed in December of 2007, and the building sat vacant until Joel Anthony Gallant (J.A., for short) and Keith Murphy took over a couple months ago.

Murphy and Gallant kept the vintage back bar but redid the rest of the place.

The comfortably cluttered Lulu's is now the plain, open J.A. Murphy's, named after its owners ...

Rather than make it an Irish pub or a sports bar, Gallant and Murphy decided to keep an open mind with their tavern and see where their clientele takes them.

"We call it a bar about nothing," Murphy said. "No themes. Everyone's welcome. It's the sandbox mentality."

In this economy, it’s tough to make long-term predictions when it comes to bars. But I think if Murphy listens to his customer base and makes decisions based on what they want, this tavern has a better chance than most new bars. 

There is no phone number or Web site up for J.A. Murphy's Tavern just yet. But the bar's hours are 4 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 2 p.m.-2 a.m. Fridays, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m.-12:30 a.m. Sundays.

My full review will be in Thursday's paper.

(Photo by me)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:27 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


it's the Seinfeld of bars! (a bar about nothing!)
they should take the labels off the bottles and just serve "beer" "wine-red, wine-white", "vodka" etc...
they could have "wings" and "burger"


That's not a bad idea, I might have to borrow that one in the "near" future.



A friend and I stopped by Murphy's at the tail end of happy hour one night last week. We gave them some crap about their lack of "crap" hanging on the walls or cluttering the bar, and they took it in good humor. Everyone behind the bar introduced themselves when we sat down, which I heart about Baltimore bars (tho the accent is distinctly Boston), and they circled back to check on us and to chit-chat. There were maybe ten other people in there, and one of them guessed the secret word of the day, prompting a round of free shots. It is definitely not Lulu's, but that's OK. All around a good experience and a place worth stopping by again before or after they identify their niche.

Heather -

I was the one who guessed the word.

J.M. Giordano & jason,

The idea isn't novel.

"they should take the labels off the bottles and just serve "beer" "wine-red, wine-white", "vodka" etc...
they could have "wings" and "burger""

Up until Movies and TV found they could sell businesses on product placement, it was standard practice if they didn't give it a fake company name.

Radio & television weren't going to give anyone free advertisement. In 1955 when Chuck Berry first single was released "Maybellene", radio DJs would bleep out every mention of Ford and Cadillac.

In the late seventies to the mid eighties there were food products that were labelled that way, including beer, which was called generic marketing*.
Johnny Lyden's PiL parodied this with their 1985 release "Album" (aka Cassette, Compact Disc)"

* Wikipedia entery on Generic branding:

The best thing about Murphy's (aka the dollar store) is the great mix of people there. A real cross section of Bmore with alot of locals & folks from around town. The owners make everyone feel welcome.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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