By Lara Alexander
The necessary permits and and licenses have been issued for Jack Murphys, the Irish-inspired bar opening soon in downtown Edmonds. Owners Brian Taylor and Louise Favier are expecting to open sometime before Christmas. They still have some staffing to work out, product still en route, and minor construction items to attend to. “We could open tomorrow,” says Taylor, “but we want to do things right.”
Taylor and Favier are not new to the business of bar keeping. They own bars in Brooklyn, N.Y. and Bellingham, as well as postage-stamp-sized Daphnes on Main Street in Edmonds, next door to the movie theater. Daphnes is modeled after a Parisian neighborhood bar and plays the part very well. Taylor acts as his own interior designer and does a fine job.
“Jack Murphys is our take on all the little Irish bars that we saw when we lived in Cork,” explains Taylor. He acknowledges that he won’t stay completely authentic, as he also wants to cater to his customers’ taste, serving Guiness colder than is traditional, for example.
Jack Murphys will be serving 12 beers on draft, all from Ireland or the Pacific Northwest, including Guiness, Smithwicks, Kilkenny Red, and Edmonds’ own American IPA. They will also have eight Walla Walla wines, all served on draft from casks. The winery, Proletariat, in a cost- and environmental-savings strategy, does not bottle any of its wines, selling them instead in reusable casks. Customers can also expect to find at least a dozen Irish whiskeys to choose from, among other liquors.
Although Taylor stresses, “We are a bar, not a restaurant,” limited food will be available for hungry patrons who can order at the bar, “There will be no table service,” says Taylor, a statement he plans to stick to while acknowledging that for customers, it will take some getting used to. All dishes cost $6 and will be served in a small cast-iron pan with a knife and fork rolled into a napkin. The menu includes mac and cheese, a warm cornbread sandwich, and Irish bangers & mash.
Jack Murphys is named for the owners’ son Jack and also for Murphy, a close family friend. Look around the bar and you will notice small nods to both local and family history. A piano in the back of the room is a reminder that the space used to be a piano- tuning business run by Dick Steves, the father of local travel guru Rick Steves. Irish racing medals decorate a table, each one won by Favier as a young woman. Signs reference the town of Kilkenny, where Favier’s father lives.
For a truly Irish experience, customers can reserve the “Snug,” a cozy private room at the front of the house. Traditionally, a snug was used by modest ladies, priests or other wanting to drink in private. Jack Murphys’ Snug has a door that locks other customers out, and a second door with a window that opens to the bar staff for ordering another round.
Taylor and Favier first acquired the space on 4th Avenue North in March of this year and have been steadily working toward opening day. “We had some of the usual delays and some more unusual delays,” says Taylor, referring to his bout with prostate cancer this summer. Things are looking good for Taylor’s health now and he is even looking ahead to a possible new project in Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood. He isn’t holding his breath though; Favier has him on a one-year restriction from anything new.
Jack Murphys is expected to open before Christmas Day. It is located on 4th Avenue North, half a block north of Main Street in Edmonds. They will be open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.
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.