If first you don't succeed, build an Irish pub. That could very well be the motto for Dermot Cowley's new bar in Blaine. The pub owner is best known as the Irishman behind one of downtown Minneapolis' great Irish institutions, O'Donovan's Pub. He's no stranger to the suburbs, either. He also owns Jake O'Conner's in Excelsior and Lola's Lakehouse in Waconia. Last August, Cowley took over the old Time Out space in Blaine, turning it into another sports bar, The Club. Business was slower than expected so he closed the joint in February and has been hard at work transforming the strip-mall spot into JJ Murphy's.
“We’re committed to bringing the Irish back to Blaine after 150 years,” Cowley told me this week.
That’s right, the first settler in Blaine was an Irishman way back in the 1860s. “It was a guy named Phillip Laddy. This isn’t even a story I made up!” (We believe ya!)
Cowley will open JJ Murphy’s on Monday afternoon with bagpipers (at 5 p.m.). He’ll also have a priest bless the bar that evening. “Back in Ireland, when they build a new home or open a new business they have the local priest come in and bless the place,” Cowley said.
Cowley has outfitted the bar with some salvaged pub material from Ireland. During a trip back home a couple years ago, Cowley picked up some old architecture from a famous Dublin bar, the 5 Crosses. He's using that bar’s old sign, plus filling the place with old oak tables, antique benches and snugs (gotta have snugs). There’s also a copper bar and a new stage.
Looking back, Cowley said he realizes the sports bar scene was already saturated in Blaine. But the closest Irish pub is in Maple Grove or White Bear Lake.
The menu will lean more toward traditional Irish food, much like his O’Donovan’s. Happy hour is every day from 4 to 7 p.m.
The pub will open just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Leading up to March 17, the pub will host live bands each night. They’ll kick things off Monday with the Wild Colonial Bhoys. Check out the pub’s website for more details.
Details: Opens 5 p.m. Monday (March 12). 1040 Baltimore St. NE., Blaine. www.jjmurphyspub.com