This landmark watering hole is the 8th installment in our Wrigleyville Scouting Report. You can find prior versions here:
The purpose of this report is to cover 5 key areas in a Wrigley Bar:
And as always, we assign grades in those areas are on the 20-80 MLB Scouting Scale. Hopefully this helps you navigate your next trip up there and be the guy organizing the Moves in your group of friends. Don’t forget: everyone fucking LOVES that guy.
To The Report:
It’s hard to get closer to Wrigley Field without actually being inside Wrigley Field. So that’s probably the first notable thing about Murphy’s. You’re practically in the away team bullpen when you walk up to the entrance.
Next to that – Murphy’s is known as one of the premier outdoor bars not just in Wrigley but The Whole City. And since Chicago is a world class city, you could argue its accolades apply internationally.
In other words, this bar fucks.
Bathrooms = 55. But wait Carl! The piss closets at Murphys suck and there’s always a line. And to that I definitely agree – the bathrooms suck and it always takes forever to squeeze out a piss. But that’s only if you’re dumb enough not to use the porta potties outside or take a leak under the L tracks. You can exit out of Murphys on the north side of the beer garden, take a quick piss and be back in literally 2 minutes. Just have your ID handy because you will always always ALWAYS need it to get into the bar no matter your age or circumstance.
Patio = 75. One of the rare Hall of Fame grades handed out in these scouting reports and rightfully so. There are very few tools in MLB that grade out 75 or 80. Billy Hamilton’s speed. Aroldis Chapman’s fastball. Joey Gallo’s power. It’s basically reserved for the kind of talent that makes you turn your head every single time and that’s what you get with the Murphy’s Beer Garden. It’s a multi-faceted, balanced superstar that can play every position on the field while carrying a high batting average and slugging percentage. Think Barry Bonds before the steroids or Mike Trout if you ever wanted to give a fuck about how good he is.
That’s the Murphy’s Beer Garden when the weather cooperates.
Guys being dudes
Atmosphere = 65. I’d go higher but this place can be an uninhabitable jungle of asshole 45 year-old bankers with tucked-in polos 90 minutes before first pitch. So that’s the downside. Definitely not the worst crowd Wrigley has to offer though so take it all with a grain of salt when I say this is the classic meet up spot for your uncle and his college buddies.
That said, the vibe is outstanding. Not a ton of drunken jerkoffs and if you can get a seat on the outdoor beer garden it’s basically the best pregame positioning in Wrigley.
Drink Replenishment = 45. No one is perfect and the same can be said for Murphy’s Drink Replenishment. That’s why I recommend ordering several drinks at once and having someone with you to carry them back to the table where at least one other friend waits. So if you’re keeping track this is a 3+ man operation. I don’t know of circumstances where 2 people would rendezvous here but that’s just me. Do a group to manage the circumstances.
In this case, you’re hampered by the abundance of adults at Murphy’s that are so casually enjoying their alcohol and taking their sweet time checking emails while they post up. There’s also a diminished urgency because those asshole bankers are going to tip well no matter what. My advice is make eye contact early then shut up. These bartenders are largely savy industry veterans that appreciate your calm demeanor. As soon as you start barking you become another asshole banker. Key takeaway here, again, double up on your drink order and bring an extra set of hands.
Intangibles = 70. You can’t get closer if you tried. Your dad probably blacked out here several times in the 80’s. They don’t try to be anyone other than a regular guy’s watering hole with a very solid kitchen serving classic ballpark food. They got picnic tables in the open area patio for groups of 6 or more. You can take a piss and rip a cig under the Red Line then be back inside in 5 minutes. And for you HGTV guys, there’s exposed brick, an old ass bar with the original wood and a lot of hot older women that could use your company.
In sum: there’s history, functionality, a lively crowd and the chance to take selfies like this
Outside of this place being a goddamn zoo when the weather calls for it, you really can’t beat Murphy’s.
Overall = 65. An all star in most seasons and probably getting its own statute at some point. Years from now you’ll tell your kids what it was like watching Murphy’s in its prime. Sure you’ll have complaints that maybe they were too cookie cutter some seasons. Maybe not the easiest to cheer for in others. But when you think about all the Greats that make you think I’ll never see this again – it’s hard to say Murphy’s isn’t #1 on that list after combining proximity and outdoor pleasure.
I highly recommend getting a taste this summer. Just get there early and bring at least 2 solid friends. Once you get the hang out of it, start inviting people to meet you there. Knowing how to navigate Murphy’s like a champ is a major social card every one of you should be playing.