PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRADEN WHITE
Almost all University of Cincinnati students and Cincinnati born-and-raised folks have probably found themselves in Murphy’s Pub at one point or another—either for their inexpensive drinks or their free hot dogs straight off the roller. If you’re of a certain age, you may recall Nirvana played as a headliner at the pub back in the 1980s. Either way, Murphy’s has served several generations of UC students ever since they opened their doors back in 1969.
Known for its laid-back, easygoing atmosphere and a location just steps away from UC’s campus, Murphy’s is the perfect place to kick back with friends and grab a draft beer or cocktail to watch the UC game and play a round of darts or pool.
Murphy’s Pub Owner Linda Swarthwood attributes the bar’s quaint decor and chill atmosphere to the type of customers who walk in their doors and the bar’s location in proximity to campus.
“We’re kind of in a neighborhood instead of up on the strip, so we’re kind of separate. We’ve been here for so long and we’re not corporate,” said Swarthwood. “We’re still owned by mom and pop, and we’ve still got this quirky architecture to us.”
She also feels the pub’s community-driven nature and their special events add to the bar’s appeal.
“We’re very community driven. St Patrick’s day is a big thing here. We usually open at 5:30 in the morning for St. Patrick’s,” said Swarthwood.
And if you like your Irish whiskeys, definitely don’t rule out Murphy’s the next time you go out in Clifton. Can you stomach six shots of Jameson? If you think you have what it takes, ask a bartender about getting your name on the pub’s “Hall of Jame” wall. $50 gets you a punch card with six shots of Jameson.
“We don’t recommend you do all six shots in one night, but you can purchase and receive a card and the bartender will punch your card each time you do a shot,” said Swarthwood.
Drinking all six gets your name (or preferred nickname) engraved on a plaque to join the ranks of the hundreds of other former and current UC students who’ve successfully completed the task.
If Jameson isn’t your thing, no need to worry. Come to Murphy’s daily happy hour, which starts at 3 p.m. on weekdays and noon on weekends. Be sure to grab a well drink, domestic draft or top shelf liquor cocktail at a dollar off. And if the weather is nice, enjoy your drink outside on Murphy’s new patio, which opened earlier this year.
Despite significant changes in Clifton over the past few decades, Swarthwood feels that Murphy’s hasn’t changed as time has passed.
“The look of it has changed and the neighborhood has changed a lot, but Murphy’s hasn’t changed,” Swarthwood said. “People come in here and they’re like “wow, it looks the same.”
She attributes one of the reasons to the pub’s low turnover of staff, even after coming out of the pandemic.
“We had a team of 20 employees going through the pandemic and coming out we had a team of 15 of those who were the same employees [at the start of the pandemic],” said Swarthwood. “And that’s probably one of the things that makes Murphy’s. We’re a staple—we’ve been here and we are going to continue to stay here.”
Check out Murphy’s at 2329 W Clifton Ave in Clifton. For more information, or to see upcoming events, check out Murphy’s website here or follow them on social media at @murphyspubclifton.