(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 8 | View All Season 8 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: June 12, 2022
The Bar's Original Name Was: Throwbacks
Murphy's Arcade Address: 418 Sanford Ave, Sanford, FL 32771
Throwbacks, later renamed to Murphy’s Arcade, was a Sanford, Florida bar that was featured on Season 8 of Bar Rescue.
Though the Murphy’s Arcade Bar Rescue episode aired in June 2022, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place a few months before that at the end of March 2022.
It was Season 8 Episode 23 and the episode name was “Game Over”.
In this episode, Jon Taffer visits Throwbacks in Sanford, FL.
Sanford, FL is a small historic city on Lake Monroe, just north of Orlando.
It’s actually hosted Jon Taffer and Bar Rescue before, as he visited the city in the Season 5 Rockin’ Rhonda’s episode in August 2017.
I’ve never been there, but it seems like a fun place with a nice downtown area.
Throwbacks is a cool retro-style bar with a bunch of arcade games and other games, such as a dedicated beer pong table.
It has a bit of everything – live sports, music, arcade games, board games, beer pong, and so on.
Here are some of the regular events at the bar:
- Open mic night on Mondays
- Skee-Ball league on Tuesday nights
- Karaoke on Thursday nights
- Live music on Friday nights
- Drink specials for brunch on the weekend
Honestly, it looks pretty cool and seems like the type of place I would visit even before the Throwbacks Bar Rescue episode happened.
The bar is owned by Robbie Kennerney, who has a lot of experience in marketing but not necessary in the bar industry.
He hails from Ireland, as you can probably tell from the accent.
Robbie bought the bar in 2019, so he’s had it for around 2-3 years at the time of the Throwbacks Bar Rescue episode.
At the time that he bought it, it was a British-style bar. He bought it on a bit of a drunken whim after visiting the bar.
Robbie has a dog, Murphy, who’s a bit of a resident at the bar.
This fact will become more important later on.
Sadly, Murphy was hit by a car and lost one of his legs.
The Sanford community rallied around Murphy and contributed money to help with Murphy’s medical care via a GoFundMe page.
The way the community rallied around him made him want to keep the bar going.
However, Robbie is very laid back in his management style and a lot of the employees aren’t especially trained, most notably the bartenders.
Robbie admits this, noting that “everyone of my bartenders could probably do with some training”.
Not a good sign haha, though Robbie seems like a fun manager to work for.
For example, Destiny, one of the bartenders, doesn’t even know how to make all of the drinks on the Throwbacks menu.
To add further confusion, Robbie hasn’t implemented any real hierarchy, so it’s hard to know who’s in charge and responsible for stuff.
Timmy is the closet thing to a manager, but it’s still a bit chaotic.
Here’s another weird thing:
There’s no dedicated cook in the kitchen!
The bartenders and other staff are just kind of responsible for the food.
Obviously, this means the food isn’t very good, and you can see this in reviews from before the Throwbacks Bar Rescue episode.
The bar also hasn’t been kept up very well, and a lot of the old arcade games are broken or unreliable.
A commenter below notes that the reliability issues with the arcade games could be because of the brand of game that Throwbacks is using.
Put all of these issues together and Robbie is dealing with $75,000 in debt.
It’s not just money, though. If the bar isn’t successful, Robbie might have to leave the USA.
As part of the rescue, Jon Taffer renamed the bar from Throwbacks to Murphy’s Arcade.
Again, Murphy is the resident dog at the bar, which is where the name comes from.
Lots of reviewers mention how much they love Murphy, so he seems like a real fixture at the bar.
As part of the new concept, the bar has a new pizza oven so they can start serving pizza.
So was the Throwbacks Bar Rescue episode a long-term success?
Keep reading our update to learn what happened and how the bar is doing in 2023 and beyond.
Murphy's Arcade Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Murphy’s Arcade Bar Rescue episode, let’s talk about what happened to the bar after Jon Taffer and his crew left Sanford, FL.
First off, if you want a little backstory, this March 20 2022 Facebook post from Historic Downtown Sanford has some pictures of right after the rescue happened.
There are also 200+ comments on that post with people sharing their experiences.
In the posts, it seems like Throwbacks was actually pretty popular even before Bar Rescue.
They seem to have a lot of fans and some people commented how they’re surprised it was on Bar Rescue since it was always crowded.
For example, this comment:
Why did it need to be rescued if that place usually always packing?
However, there were obviously some issues, too. For example, another person mentioned that a lot of the old video games were broken before Bar Rescue happened:
The place looks great!!
I hope they refurbished the video games.
Most didn’t work right and the joysticks were broken.
The post above confirms that what you saw on the Throwbacks Bar Rescue episode was legit when it came to the state of the bar before Jon Taffer’s visit
You can also see the original post about the Bar Rescue Throwbacks episode on the bar’s page.
This is interesting because it provides some reasoning from Robbie about why he did the show.
Someone made a comment about liking the original bar (“Bring back the shit dive bar we loved.”) and Robbie responded with this:
if we don’t make improvements there shit dive bar thing doesn’t survive forever.
Let me know what you miss though, we want to keep the ambiance, just make it a bit nicer in its infrastructure is all.
Here’s a screenshot of the relevant portion:
Is Murphy’s Arcade from Bar Rescue still open?
As of 2023, Murphy’s Arcade is still open and serving customers in Sanford, FL.
However, they seem to have gone back to using the original Throwbacks name, as they still use that name on social media and posts from after the episode aired now only refer to the bar as “Throwbacks”.
For example, here’s a Facebook post from October 2022 where they just call the bar “Throwbacks”:
However, the bar does still seem to have the Murphy’s Arcade sign outside. Maybe that’s because they want people to recognize it from Bar Rescue?
They still go by Throwbacks on their social media profiles, but I don’t think they’ve totally abandoned the name that Jon Taffer gave them yet. It seems like they’re just using both names for now to avoid confusing their existing customers. For example, on a recent posting on May 9 2022, they listed the event as being “at Throwbacks/Murphy’s (418 Sanford Ave)”. I’m honestly not sure what they’ll be doing with the name long-term – I’ll update this post when I know more.
Either way, Throwbacks / Murphy’s Arcade is active on Facebook, regularly posting events and such.
For example, they have a weekly beer pong tournament with a $50 grand prize (and a free Jello shot just for signing up!), sports watch parties, karaoke, an “emo night”, and other fun stuff you’d expect from a bar like Murphy’s Arcade.
Here’s what the Throwbacks Sanford FL location looks like in the most recent picture from Google Maps street view:
When I’m updating this, the most recent picture is from June 2022, so it still includes the Murphy’s Arcade sign.
However, I’m not sure if that’s still there now – I will need to wait for Google Maps to update again.
If you’ve been to the Throwbacks Sanford location in person and know if the sign is still there, please let me know in the comments section.
Throwbacks / Murphy’s Arcade reviews after Bar Rescue
So far, reviews for the bar after the Murphy’s Arcade Bar Rescue episode seem to generally be pretty positive.
The one thing people really complained about before Jon Taffer’s visit was the food at Throwbacks.
After Bar Rescue, those issues don’t seem to be totally fixed, but it does seem like the menu/food has improved.
Overall, it has a 3.5 star rating on 19+ Yelp reviews.
On Google, it has a 4.5 star rating on 287 reviews.
Here’s a sampling of reviews that were written after the Throwbacks Bar Rescue visit.
I like being positive so let’s start off by looking at some of the positive reviews for Throwbacks / Murphy’s Arcade.
5 star review from November 2022:
Very nice place, bar.
Outside patio is very cool, working in getting a outside bar set up.
Nice area to relax chat with friends.
Very cool that it’s got an mini arcade on the loft.
Cool idea also couple skeeball machines.
Thought I was at a adult carnival, and the house special brew beer 🍺 was very tasty.
Been telling family and friends about the place, few of us looking forward to one of the night they have karaoke,, trivia, etc.
So cute the owners dog Murphy is there hopping around on three legs, played on skeeball machine looking out at the bar , making sure everything was ok.
The owner, Robbie very professional, friendly guy.
I give throwbacks 10 stars
5 star review from June 2022:
Top of the line, great food, fun atmosphere, only problem is time goes twice as fast being there.
Just something to prepare for. 10/10 recommend.
5 star review from May 2022:
Free of school arcade games, pizza, and beer.
What more can you ask for?
4 star review from April 2022:
A good neighborhood bar, typically good bar food, and good drinks fair pricing, attentive staff.
Can get loud sometimes from everybody having a great time …
it’s your typical active neighborhood place …
5 star review from March 2022:
Freaken top 3 pizzas of my life, staff is awesome, owner is awesome, great laid back bar!!
The review above seems to suggest that the new pizza oven was a good decision by Jon Taffer.
5 star review from March 2022:
Lots of fun, really relaxed environment.
Our go-to in downtown Sanford.
All of the arcade games are free play.
Seeing Murphy is the best part.
Of course, no one is perfect, and there are also some negative reviews about the new bar (though the positive reviews far outweigh them).
1 star review from May 2022:
ordered the chicken tenders.
Paid 8 dollars for three small tenders to go.
they were pink on the inside and slimy.
Not cooked all the way through.
tried to call a couple times immediately upon arriving home to try to warn them that something was clearly wrong with however they are cooking them. but got no answer
1 star review from April 2022:
Now known as Murphy’s Arcade I was so disappointed.
I expected something totally different for a bar rescue.
First seen on FB that they “bar rescued” but can’t be by John taffer because this place sucks only thing good is the free arcade games the bar counter was sticky.
They are still using the old menu in which they had nothing in stock from the old menu.
The pizza roll for $13 dollars is a joke and barely shareable for two people.
It came out warm from a 500 degree oven and had to be taken back.
The bartender had no idea about anything blaming it on they had been rescued last week and still learning the menu which was the old menu lol this place just sucked big period.
The decor was slightly updated but mediocre at best.
If I ever come back it’d be a Miracle lbs
The Murphy’s Arcade owners actually responded to this review – you can read part of their response below.
It seems like the person came right after the Throwbacks Bar Rescue visit while the staff was still learning the ropes:
The reality is that we’re a few days removed from a rescue and we’re still learning the oven, let alone the menu.
The prices weren’t set by us and we have to put the old menu out for drinks because the new one only has 5 drinks on it.
If you don’t like the decor you can take it up with them because we’re doing our best to work with what we’ve got.
Throwbacks / Murphy’s Arcade after Hurricane Ian
Because Throwbacks is located more on the East coast of Florida, it was spared the worst of Hurricane Ian (which hit Florida in September 2022).
Throwbacks did close for a day on September 28 to prepare for Hurricane Ian.
However, Throwbacks confirmed the next day that the bar still had power, which let them reopen:
Final thoughts on Throwbacks / Murphy’s Arcade
Overall, it seems like Throwbacks was already pretty popular even before Jon Taffer came to town.
However, they seem to generally be happy with the renovations, though there were some growing pains.
While they did seem to keep the Murphy’s Arcade name for a few months after Taffer’s visit, they seem to have completely ditched it as of late June 2022 and now exclusively go by Throwbacks again.
Overall, I really like both the original and new concept at this one, so I think it will be a long-term Bar Rescue success story.
If you disagree, let me know in the comments! And if anything changes, I’ll update this post.
If you want to see another Sanford, FL Bar Rescue episode, you can check out our Rockin’ Rhonda’s update, which is another bar in the same city.
For some other Orlando Bar Rescue episodes, you can also check out these posts:
- The Copper Rocket update
- Lucky Leprechaun / Lucky’s Corner Pocket update
- Lake House / Sidelines Sports update
To see all of the bars in Florida, I also have a dedicated page that lists all 26+ Florida Bar Rescue episodes.
And if you want to share your thoughts on the Murphy’s Arcade episode, you can do so using the comments section below.
Thanks for reading!
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Last updated: 2023-09-13 06:05