Bar Rescue - J.A. Murphy’s / Murphy’s Law - CLOSED

J.A. Murphy’s Bar Rescue

In this Bar Rescue episode, Jon Taffer visits J.A. Murphy’s in Fells Point, Maryland.

J.A. Murphy’s is owned by Keith Murphey and Joel Gallant.

They decided to open up a bar on a whim in 2009.

Despite having no restaurant or bar experience, they successfully launched J.A. Murphy’s by offering dirt-cheap drinks.

These cheap prices worked for around a year.

The bar brought in $12,000 each week in sales.

Keith took over the day-to-day bar operations while Joel managed the books and the staff.

Their accidental success was short-lived.

Over time the cheap drinks led to a business based on excess, not profits.

Due to the clientele going crazy, Keith and Joel let the bar fall into ruin.

The staff says that Joel does not care about his employees.

A previous manager Marka was driven away from working at this bar and she now owns her own bar.

Marka took J.A.’s customer base.

This bar is now hemorrhaging $5,000 each week.

Keith and Joel are drowning in debt and make a call for help to Bar Rescue.

Fells Point, Maryland is a small, waterfront community outside of Baltimore.

Fells Point is home to more than 120 bars and restaurants crammed into a 76-acre area.

If you want to have a successful bar in this area, you better stand out.

The only thing that stands out about J.A. Murphy’s is its appalling state.

Jon’s daughter Sam joins him in the SUV to watch surveillance footage.

He’s going to have her to do the recon tonight.

They go through the Yelp reviews.

The reviews say that the food made them sick the next day.

J.A. Murphy’s is a 3,000-square-foot-space with a congested front bar area with one service station, a separate game room, and a large, unused dining room.

Sam says that as soon as she walked into this bar, she has never smelt anything more disgusting.

She also says that it looks just as gross too.

They didn’t have any beer or liquor.

This bar promotes binge-drinking by the way they have the inception bomb.

If you finish it in 10 seconds, you won’t have to pay for it.

The cook isn’t washing her hands while dealing with food, causing everything to be cross contaminated.

Jon is appalled and heads into the bar.

He’s angry at them for serving food like this.

He goes into the kitchen with the owners.

Keith gets defensive when Jon scolds him for allowing this to happen.

He tells them to throw all of the food away and shut it down.

Jon walks out of the bar after telling the customers to not eat anything here.

The next morning, Jon meets with the staff.

Keith apologizes for seeming like he doesn’t care.

Jon asks who trained Tammy, the cook.

They go over how everyone says that Joel is a jerk and people don’t like Joel.

Jon discusses how you shouldn’t serve someone more drinks after consuming an inception bomb.

Jon calls in his experts to help rescue this bar.

For the bar, Jon brings in flair mixologist Chris Cardone.

Chris is a top bartender at Teller’s Chophouse in New York.

He’s also an award-winning mixologist.

Chris begins assessing this bar’s working environment.

There are maggots underneath the bar.

The bartender admits that they have to put their own money into cleaning products.

Chris says he can’t begin training with how gross the bar is right now.

For the kitchen, Jon brings in expert chef Brian Duffy.

He begins by assessing the kitchen.

The freezer is broken so they have to put the food in the fridge.

There are mouse droppings in the kitchen too.

Chef Duffy says that it shocks him that this bar is still open.

There is a ton of built-up grease and Joel says it probably has never been cleaned.

Jon has the staff clean the bar.

They removed the broken freezer.

There are rat remains behind where the freezer was.

Jon meets with Joel and Keith to discuss the concept.

He wants to do a soft opening.

Jon brings in mixologist Jenny Costa.

She shows them drinks they will be making during the soft opening.

Chris teaches them about how they need to keep their eyes on the customer a lot while making drinks.

Jon’s inspector calls him down to the basement to show him something.

Jon calls everyone to discuss what is wrong.

The beam is rotted and you can stick a finger through it.

Jon tells them they have to leave right now and they can’t come back until it is fixed.

Jon cancels the soft opening.

He says he’s not sure when he can start the renovation.

Jon brings in experts to see if the building is even salvageable.

Keith says he isn’t sure if Jon can save them.

The plumbing systems caused dry rot.

Jon takes the staff to an offsite location for training.

Chris says that the bartenders just need to keep practicing.

Jon brings Joel and Keith to Marka’s bar.

Joel admits that he took his staff for granted.

Jon’s engineers say it’s safe to come back into the bar.

They begin remodel on the bar.

Jon installs a new draft beer system.

Jon is finally ready to reveal the new bar to the staff.

J.A. Murphy’s has been renamed and is now called Murphy’s Law.

Keith says the building looks great.

They head inside the bar to see all of the changes.

There is a brand-new freezer in the kitchen.

Before they open, they review the menu items.

Murphy’s Law opens up for the first time since remodel.

Jon says that since they didn’t get to do the soft opening, he’s not sure how the bartenders are.

On relaunch, orders keep coming in and the staff is slightly stressed out.

A customer accidentally ate a toothpick.

For the most part, the customers are enjoying themselves.

Marka shows up to give her support.

By the end of the night, the staff begins to be more confident and show their flair.

Jon hugs Joel and Keith and says that his work here is done.


What Happened Next at J.A. Murphy's / Murphy's Law?

Six weeks after relaunch, Keith reports that food sales are up 15%.

Beverage sales are up 27%.

The building remains strong and no further signs of structural damage have been found.

J.A. Murphy's / Murphy's Law closed in July 2012, prior to the airing of the episode.

It was put up for sale but struggled to sell due to further structural problems.


Click for more Bar Rescues

Previous episode - Bamboo Beach Tiki Bar

Next episode - Mystique Lounge / Aura Nightclub

This post was last updated in September 2021.

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