If you live in Ocean County the odds are pretty good that you’ve never been to Murphy’s Tavern in Rumson and if after reading this you decide to make a trip get help from your navigation device because you’re probably not going to find it.

On its own Facebook page Murphy’s is described as a fully functional “Speak Easy” in a residential section of Rumson.  There’s more to it than that as it’s located in the basement of a house on Ward Lane (yes you heard me correctly) and since 1919 has been serving alcohol.  It’s actually a product of the Prohibition era as rum runners and smugglers would deliver their product from the nearby Navesink River to the basement location which locals took advantage of.  More than 100 years later locals and visitors alike flock to this unique place which has a maximum capacity of 50 (as long as they are not all big guys).

Murphy's is in the basement of this house in a Rumson neighborhood

Along with a group of friends; Captain Joe, Hibber, Mac and Billy we would always try and make at least one and maybe two trips each year.  Our game plan was rather simple…have a couple of drinks, play a few games of shuffleboard which is a blast, maybe munch on some pork roll fries (very tasty) and then head to nearby Barnacle Bill’s for a burger.

Scene of some intense games

So why am I mentioning this today?  Well the pandemic quashed any plans we had of continuing this tradition…that was until Tuesday.  It’s been at least two years and the good news was Murphy’s has not changed.  Like stepping out of a time machine we felt comfortable the minute we walked in the door and was greeted by Heather Vena, who along with Robb McMahon has co-owned the place for going on two decades.  Heather, who was the bartender for the night is part of the charm that makes Murphy’s so unique along with two dartboards, an awesome jukebox, live music and special theme nights.  You can check out their Facebook page to see what is happening and put Murphy’s on your bucket list of Jersey Shore jewels to visit in the future.

Heather Vena behind the bar

For us returning back to the basement was another sign that life is indeed making a comeback.  The only down note was Barnacle Bill’s was jammed and had an hour wait but we had a very good burger at the nearby Nauvoo Grill Club.  Great night with great friends!

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