here are a variety of attributes, which make up a great Irish pub, music being one of them. Irish pubs generally tend to focus on hosting traditional music, however, that’s not necessarily the case with Scruffy Murphys, a pub with a “decidedly less-than-traditional take on the live bands that play [on] stage.”
Scruffy Murphys owner, John Elliott, states; “We’re more focused on what people would consider Irish rock or Celtic rock. I know Street Dogs singer Mike McColgan and Nathen Maxwell from Flogging Molly. We’ve hosted Flogging Molly several times at the pub – and hope to do so on 14th March again when they play Denver this year.”
The diversity of music speaks for itself; the pub has played host to such great acts including Seven Nations, The Mighty Regis and Brazen Heads. Everything from Irish Punk to Psychobilly music is covered.
The reasons behind breaking from the norm are down to logistics according to John; “Here in Denver, there are some great traditional venues; like Swallow Hill Music, but with our location in heart of downtown and being located near Coors Field, we’re responding to what our customers told us they would like to see on a Friday and Saturday night.”
Scruffy Murphys opened on February 5th 2005, the brainchild of John Elliott, along with Donnie Danesh and Andrew Toole. Prior to opening the pub, John worked for an outsourcing company, which enabled him to travel the world. In 2004, John moved to Denver and here he met with Andrew and Donnie. “We just wanted some place which was a great place to hang out, you know, good live music, a bit of good food and a proper pint, so that’s how we got started. The pub has had seven years of continuous growth since;” says John.
The thinking behind the name of Scruffy Murphys came from Andrew Toole, who frequented a similarly named pub located in Dublin 2 back in Ireland. He enjoyed the challenge of seeking out similarly named pubs. “He’d go to cities far and wide;” says John. Originally the plan was to name the pub Ma Reilly’s, however, this lead to a dispute with a near-by restaurant, which subsequently closed. Sometime during this dispute, Andrew suggested; “Scruffy Murphys” and, according to John; “the name stuck.”
Since that time, Scruffy Murphys has been a huge success. With regards to opening further pubs, John prefers to pursue a different approach. “I think I’ve my hands full! I’ve talked about it with other people — about opening a second pub — a second Scruffy Murphys or a third. But I keep saying there won’t be a second or third. It’ll be different to what we’re currently doing;” says John.
John puts the success of Scruffy Murphys down to common sense; “To make a pub work, you need to focus on the people as much as the drinks. If people have a good time at your bar, the money will take care of itself, but if they are not, that obviously has an impact on every other thing that you do.”
Scruffy Murphys is located in Larimer St, Denver, Colorado and their web address is http://scruffymurphysdenver.com/