(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 2 | View All Season 2 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: August 5, 2012
The Bar's Original Name Was: J.A. Murphy's
Murphy's Law Address: 1703 Aliceanna St Baltimore, MD 21231
J.A. Murphy’s, later renamed Murphy’s Law, was a Fell’s Point, Baltimore, Maryland bar featured on Season 2 of Bar Rescue.
Though the Murphy’s Law Bar Rescue episode aired in August 2012, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place before that.
It was Season 2 Episode 3 and the episode name was “Murphy’s Mess”.
Note – there was another “Murphy’s Law” bar on Bar Rescue in Reno Nevada. If you want to see that update, check out my Murphy’s Law / Money Bar Reno NV update.
Located in Fell’s Point, Maryland (Baltimore), the J.A. Murphy’s bar is owned by Keith Murphy and Joel Gallant.
The duo opened the bar on a whim in 2009.
I’m not sure why Keith got to put his last name on the bar, but maybe it just sounded better.
Or, maybe he put more money into the bar – who knows!
Keith manages the day-to-day operations, and Joel takes care of the books.
At first, they made money by offering cheap drinks. The very affordable prices worked for about one year.
However, things started going downhill soon after that, which is why the J.A. Murphy’s Bar Rescue visit was happening in 2012.
The old manager was driven away from the bar due to Joel’s lousy attitude.
Now she owns her bar and took J. A Murphy’s customer base.
Keith and Joel are drowning in debt.
Fell’s Point, Maryland, is a waterfront community in Baltimore with over 120 bars on 76 acres, so while there’s a lot of competition, there’s also a lot of opportunity if they can do the bar right.
Jon’s daughter Sam helps with the recon.
They read the Yelp reviews of the bar in the SUV.
The reviews say the food has made people ill.
The bar is 3,000 square feet with a game room and an unused dining area.
However, Sam says the bar smells and looks terrible, which isn’t a great sign.
The bar promotes binge drinking with something called The Inception Bomb, which is a chugging contest.
The cook isn’t washing his hands, causing cross-contamination.
Jon is disgusted and comes in angry that they are serving food like that.
The owner Keith gets highly defensive and doesn’t appreciate Jon scolding him.
Jon makes the staff throw away all the food and shut down the kitchen.
Jon warns the customers not to eat anything from there on his way out.
Jon meets with the staff the next day to try to be more productive and get the rescue rolling.
Keith apologizes for his behavior the day before.
Everyone agrees that Joel is a jerk.
Jon tells the team that they shouldn’t serve more drinks after buying The Inception Bomb.
To help improve J.A. Murphy’s, Jon brings in mixologist Chris Cardone, a top bartender from Tellers Chop House in New York City.
He finds maggots under the bar, which apparently isn’t a huge priority for the owners because the bar staff admits putting their own money into cleaning products.
Expert Chef Brian Duffy also comes in for the recon.
He finds a broken freezer in the kitchen.
Everything is in the fridge, which is bound to lead to hygiene issues.
He also finds mouse droppings and a ton of grease built up.
The staff stays to clean the bar and finds rat droppings behind the broken freezer.
It’s all just generally pretty gross and disgusting.
Jon also brings in mixologist Jeremy Costa and teaches the team the drinks they will be making during the soft opening.
Jon’s inspector calls him to the basement and tells him a rotted beam.
As a result, they must cancel the soft opening.
Jon calls in experts to see if the building can even be saved.
The plumbing system issues have caused dry rot.
Chris says the bartenders need to keep practicing.
They train at an offsite location while Jon and the Bar Rescue team keep working on the renovations and fixes to the building.
Jon brings the owners to the previous manager’s bar to show them how well it runs.
It is then safe to go back to the bar.
Jon installed a new draft beer system and revealed a new name for the bar – Murphy’s Law’s.
The staff is stressed at the relaunch. A customer even ate a toothpick!
But overall, the bar rescue ends up being a success after some stressful moments.
So – was the JA Murphy Bar Rescue episode a long-term success? Keep reading to learn what happened next and if it’s still open in 2023.
Murphy's Law Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Murphy’s Law Bar Rescue episode, let’s talk about what happened after Jon Taffer and his crew left Baltimore, MD.
Well, after the episode aired, things seemed to be going well.
Food sales were up ~15% and drink sales were up 25%.
There weren’t a lot of reviews for the bar, but the one review that I did find seemed pretty positive.
Here’s a 4 star review from March 2012 (after Jon Taffer’s visit but before the episode aired on TV):
New and improved after Bar Rescue came to town???
Not so much.
New name – Murphy’s Law.
Improvements – they moved the bar back 6″, washed the front windows, installed a new music machine, changed the lighting and decor (sorta), added a special drinks and grub menu, added a few more tables in the back room, seriously cleaned and deodorized the joint, got rid of Bear Pong (the horror!!), and installed a really awesome massive all in one beer tap.
The bathrooms are still slightly bigger than airplane bathrooms.
The front tv shows everything in a green hue – Shrek-like music videos.
The new food – meh, but the new special drinks – sweeeet.
Fresh, delicious fruit juice with yummy alcohol.
Nicely made, and decently priced (esp. before 7pm).
Dollar shots are a thing of the past, which is a very sad thing, but the staff is sociable and seem to really believe in the “new” direction for the bar.
Overall, I think it’s a better place, and I can’t wait for the show to be aired sometime soon!
Sounds like a promising start, right?
However, that wouldn’t be enough to keep the bar running.
Is Murphy’s Law from Bar Rescue still open?
Murphy’s Law closed in July 2012, which was before the Bar Rescue episode aired but a few months after the visit from Jon Taffer.
Why did Murphy’s Law close?
Well, the debt was one of the biggest issues.
The Murphy’s Law owners were trying to sell the bar.
However, they were having difficulty finding a buyer because of continuing problems with the structural issues that you saw on the show.
As of 2023, the old Murphy’s Law Fell’s Point location is occupied by a restaurant called Papi’s Tacos.
Reviews for the restaurant seem good as it has a four star rating on Yelp.
In an interesting bit of news, Papi’s Tacos had to temporarily close in 2021 because a wall on one side of the building collapsed, which ties back with a lot of the structural issues that you saw on the Bar Rescue episode.
However, the issues are likely unconnected and not caused by Bar Rescue because the collapse involved the other connected building.
Papi’s Tacos was able to reopen after fixing the issue.
Here’s an article from the Baltimore Sun that has more details and some pictures, if you’re interested in what happened.
But again – the article specifically says that the collapse didn’t have anything to do with the JA Murphys Bar Rescue renovations.
If you want to see what it looks like, here’s the Google Maps street view picture for the old Murphy’s Law Baltimore MD location:
Given the state of J.A. Murphy’s / Murphy’s Law in Jon’s visit, it makes sense that they couldn’t save the bar.
Structural issues plus debt plus bad sanitation equals a recipe for disaster, which is why Murphy’s Law couldn’t even make it to the episode’s air date.
Murphy’s Law was the only Bar Rescue Baltimore episode.
But if you want to see another Maryland Bar Rescue episode, you can check out my update for the infamous Bar Rescue pirate bar (Piratz Tavern).
Thanks for reading!
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Last updated: 2023-03-05 06:13