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Murphy's Tavern

Murphy's TavernUpdate 3/14/14: Murphy's Tavern is now Lagarto Nightclub.

In a word: You could do worse.

The specs: #0392
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Decider, Madison Fish Fry; official web site.

JM ate the fish fry with a lemonade.
Nichole ate the byo-burger.
The bill was $11, or $5.50/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole both gave Murphy's Tavern a B (see our grading rubric).

Latest Murphy's Tavern news and reviews

In the earlier days of the smoking ban, back when Murphy's was Tailgater's, if memory serves, Murphy's on East Washington protested publicly on their marquee. These days the tavern seems to be doing well, along with the other bars in "Beck's" family, which includes Locker Room and others that may appear on our make-up list (how's that work again?) soon. Inside Murphy's is clean and open but if you're not a regular, prepare for more than the average swivel factor.

JM availed himself of the fish fry, choosing the fried cod and French fries. Curiously, the way the menu was worded seemed to offer a choice of cheese with the fish, so he asked for cheddar, which perplexed the waitress. It must have flummoxed the chef, too, since it was absent from the plate. We were kind of looking forward to how cheese and fish fry would go together, but maybe another time.

Fish fryThe fish arrived very hot with a light yet firm batter. The cole slaw tasted eerily like cologne (English Leather, perhaps) and black pepper. The fries, roll and tartar were all of average Sysco quality. Firmly: Meh.

BurgerNichole liked their build-your-own-burger options and found it impossible to turn down the kettle chips on the side. Again, Kate's burger rating guide was helpful.

  • Bun: toasted, buttered white dusted with cornmeal. Got sogged out.
  • Meat: rather bland.
  • Bun/meat ratio: good. 
  • Cheese: stretchy, good cheddar.
  • Misc.: fried onions were good and hot, but the canned mushrooms were cool-ish. About a 5.5 of 10 overall.

Neither of us were blown away by the standard fare, but Murphy's also features $6 lunch specials every weekday. We peeked at the blackboard behind the bar and grabbed the schedule for you, dear readers:

Monday: Tuna melt
Tuesday: Gyros (scarce in that hood since Dimitri's burned down)
Wednesday: Sloppy potatoes (replace "potat" with "j" and there's your recipe)
Thursday: Reuben
Friday: Fish fry, duh.

So, there's Murphy's. Generic and inoffensive, and the regulars seem to love it.

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