Dining Out, Wining & Dining

Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub – Erin Go Braugh

By The Gastronomes

With March being the month to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and all things Irish we were very disappointed to find out that the St. Patrick’s Day parade will not take place this year. So…in the spirit of the holiday we thought it pertinent to feature Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub in this space.

Tom and Melinda Mooney wanted to open a pub celebrating their Irish heritage, and chose Old Town Alexandria for this traditional Irish pub and opened their doors at 713 King Street in 1978.

For anyone who has been in Old Town for any length of time, if someone says, “Meet me at Murphy’s”, you know exactly what they mean. I have been going to Murphy’s since they opened. It has been the go to place for a good time and a good meal not to mention the perfectly poured Guinness for many patrons ever since. Fittingly, Murphy’s has one of the longest bars in Old Town to serve their many customers. As soon as you walk in the door you can feel the energy generated by the clientele. The dining area downstairs has two and four top tables with the option to put tables together for larger groups. In the middle of the dining area there is a huge fireplace that is a great feature on a cold winter day. The second floor has its own bar as well and more tables to accommodate private parties or their regular customers on very busy nights.

As to be expected, the menu is chock full of hearty choices at a very reasonable price. Murphy’s offers thirteen appetizers including the standard chicken wings to Shrimp Killarney, Irish smoked salmon, Irish egg rolls and steamed shrimp. All appetizers are under $10.25. Their Irish Specialties and Entrees range from Beer Battered Fish & Chips to a Jumbo Lump Crab Cake Dinner, Shepherd’s Pie, Hot & Hearty Irish Stew, Jameson’s Strip Steak and Bangers and Mash. They also offer Broiled Salmon, Chicken Curry, Seafood Tacos and a very good Jameson Steak – a charbroiled, 12 ounce New York Strip. Murphy’s offers seven different sandwich options and all served with cottage fries. Included are the Charbroiled Murphy Burger as well as a Vegetarian burger. Rounding out the options are Murphy’s Breast of Chicken, Irish Reuben, French Dip, Pulled Pork and Crab Cake Sandwich.

Everything on the menu comes at a reasonable price. I have eaten many meals here over the years and can attest to the quality and quantity of their offerings. Three of us chose a rainy afternoon to slip into Murphy’s for a nice lunch and the warmth of the fire.

For our appetizer we chose the Irish Smoked Salmon and Soda Bread. The salmon was fresh and sliced on the thick side making for a generous portion. The soda bread was very good but to my way of thinking a little heavy for the salmon. For lunch I ordered a slice of the Irish Meat Pie with gravy. This was a hearty meal with ground meat and potatoes in a light flakey crust. The portion was just enough for lunch. I cannot say enough about the dark brown gravy covering the pie.

One friend had the Charbroiled Murphy Burger, a hearty portion of fresh Angus ground beef topped with Canadian bacon and melted provolone cheese with lettuce and tomato. The burger was cooked perfect to the medium rare request. With both of these orders we got Cottage Fries as well. Lightly fried circular cut potatoes that were piping hot and a great compliment to the main course. The Cottage Fries were a nice change of pace from French fries and they seemed to stay hotter longer.

What would a trip to Murphy’s be like if someone didn’t order the Irish stew?? Not to disappoint any of you, my usual dining partner did just that. In fact, in all of the years we have been dining together at this establishment I can’t think of when she didn’t order the stew. She really may need to step outside the box next time. On the other hand, why mess with a good thing. The Murphy’s stew is the perfect combination of large chunks of beef, carrots, onions and peas in a hearty soup that comes from slow simmering on the stove. Served with soda bread and butter, it never disappoints.

We didn’t have room for dessert but they do have a nice apple crisp with ice cream, Baileys Irish Cream Cake and ice cream on the menu. I’m thinking that we may have to save space for the crisp and cake on our next trip there.

If you are looking for a good Saturday breakfast after you cruise through the Farmers Market, Murphy’s opens at 9 am with a full breakfast menu. On Sundays they open at 10 am with a nice Champagne Brunch that is served until 3 pm. There are daily specials all during the week and they are open from 11 am – 2 am Monday through Friday.

In addition to great food and drink, Murphy’s also offers music entertainment nightly at no cover charge. As I have noticed over the years the entertainers are very good and their music usually gets your toes to tapping.

Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub

713 King Street

Old Town Alexandria



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