By Lara Alexander
This fall, just as the evenings call for a scarf and orange leaves begin to dance down Main Street, there will be a new place to in Edmonds ready to pour you a Guinness as you find your place near the fire and take in the authentic Irish atmosphere and music.
Brian Taylor, owner of Daphnes Bar at 415 1/2 Main St., is getting ready to open Jack Murphys, an Irish-themed bar on 4th Avenue North between Bill the Butcher and MKG Martial Arts. “As a business owner for the last 11 years, I know the value of a good landlord,” Taylor says. So when his current landlord offered him the space for Jack Murphys down the street, Taylor took the plunge with the lease for his new venture. The landlord will spend the next two months making changes to the space before handing over the keys to Taylor so that he can begin his preparations for the bar, with the anticipated opening after Labor Day.
Taylor has given Daphnes Bar such a distinctive feel, it’s clear that he enjoys the process of bringing vision and character to his business ventures. “I’m a bit of a purist,” he admits. “If it had been up to me, I would not have had stools at Daphnes. In Paris, people come in at 7 a.m. for espresso and come back at 7 p.m. for a glass of wine, standing at the bar to have their drink.” Thankfully, Taylor strayed from his purist ideals and provided Edmonds folks a place to sit at Daphnes, while delivering the spirit of a Parisian neighborhood bar with perfect pitch.
Married to an Irish woman, Taylor lived briefly in Cork two years ago and is excited to recreate an authentic Irish bar in his own hometown of Edmonds. His attention to style and detail is evident both in his execution of Daphnes and as he speaks about his plans for Jack Murphys. He does admit though that some details must be sacrificed to shape authenticity for a local audience, like a song played with traditional instruments but translated lyrics. A real Irish bar, Taylor explains, has no ice, no TV, four bottles of liquor behind the bar and five beers to offer. Not to worry — just as he caved on the stools for Daphnes, he’ll let us have ice and a few more choices at Jack Murphys.
As he describes his new bar, his vision begins to take shape: A fire burning in the fireplace, a small group of musicians playing the fiddle, tin-whistle and tineo Irish drum, neighbors gathered in conversation over a stout. “When the word gets out, people will usually be happy to play music for a few pints.” Taylor is sure to have music drifting out of the door every month during Thursday Art Walk, but he hopes that it will be a weekly occurrence. He is particularly excited about incorporating a “snug” into the design. “A snug is an enclosed area of the bar where women used to sit to drink,” Taylor explains. The snug provided a private seat for women, or even the local bobby or priest, to enjoy a discrete drink. Jack Murphys’ snug will be available for reservations and can be enjoyed by a small group of four patrons out for ladies night or two couples wanting a quiet corner.
Jack Murphys will be offering food with your drink, but the menu is still under discussion. No matter, what Taylor really serves up is an authentic atmosphere and fun style. Edmonds will be happy to share a stout with him.
A culinary adventurer, Lara Alexander grows, cooks and writes about food from her home in Edmonds. You can read about her garden and kitchen fun on the blog Food-Soil-Thread.