Jesus! Murphy’s Irish Sports Bar & Grill is no more.
It’s hard for anybody cruising down Main Street in Oliver to miss the five big red letters that spell out ‘H-O-T-E-L.’
But underneath that big-city signage was actually a beloved saloon. The type of tavern with shabby lighting, poker tournaments and a scratch ticket machine. Where the TVs would be tuned into sports, pool balls were cracking, and a menu that came with all the favourite pub grub – chicken wings, mozza sticks, burgers, chicken fingers, etc.
Some people even found love in the hopeless place, changing the course of history for people like Ross Mackenzie. Years ago, while traveling through Oliver for work, he stopped at Murphy’s for a beer. And that’s how he met his now-girlfriend, who he eventually moved to Oliver to be with.
“It’s been a seven year ordeal,” he said.
How did they spot the chemistry?
“I used to try and tease her but she would always have these good comebacks that were making me think. Who is this girl? I had to investigate a bit more.”
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Murphy’s was a comfort zone to many, perfect for anyone to hang out, kick back and be themselves.
“Shame when they close places like this,” said Glenn O. He was there on Friday night eating some fish ’n’ chips. “Aw (beep) it’s got good (beep)in’ character, right? Lots of character, charm, history – gonna miss all that.”
Staff were even known for sometimes driving their patrons home at the end of the night. Bartender and manager Gabby Campbell said Murphy’s was like a big family.
“It’s just like CHEERS, everybody knows everybody,” she said.
“Gabby’s like my second mother,” said Marianne Huffman, who claims Fridays (karaoke night) were the pub’s best night of the week.
“Everyone goes a little nuts.”
Huffman and her father were both regulars at Murphy’s, and with the doors now closed, they figure they’ll be spending more time at the Firehall.
Another regular, Don Tucker, said he’ll be migrating over to the Elks Club.
“It’s wherever people feel at home is what counts,” he said.
And don’t forget about Ye Olde Welcome Inn just north of town.
Although one of Oliver’s favourite pubs has finished its run, there is optimism among the patrons that another owner will come along and breathe new life into the 76-year-old building.