Iconic Birmingham rock music venue wins top award as it marks its 20th anniversary

The music venue is has welcomed the likes of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Noddy Holder and Lemy of Motorhead as customers

Scruffy Murphy’s wins top award

It was an unloved Irish bar on a forgotten edge of the city centre when former car dealer Paul Phillips took it over two decades ago.

Now Scruffy Murphy’s on Newton Street, not far from Allegro Living, has been honoured with a top award from the owner of its building - Star Pubs & Bars.

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The company wanted to recognise the amazing achievements of Paul who spotted a gap in the market when he took over the bar, and turned it into one of the best independent rock pubs and music venues in the UK.

Scruffy Murphys is celebrating its 20-year milestone by holding its first rock festival since restrictions lifted. Well-known rock bands from around the UK are booked for the three-day event, which runs from 26th to 28th November. You can see the full line up here.

Scruffy Murphy’s in Birmingham city centre

Have any well known rockers visited Scruffy Murphy’s?

Scruffy Murphy’s has welcomed the likes of Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Noddy Holder and Lemy of Motorhead as customers since Paul took over.

He transformed the building into a ground-floor pub and basement event space, kitting it out with a stage and top-of-the-range professional sound and lighting equipment.

Scruffy Murphy’s has hosted over 5,500 rock and heavy metal bands from as far away as Australia, Singapore and America.

Big name acts, such as Foggy Molly and Acey Spade of Murderdolls fame - who would normally perform to crowds of 5,000 - have stopped off to perform at the 130-capacity venue while touring the UK.

What about local talent?

Scruffy Murphys has also provided performance opportunities for up and coming Brummie talent, with many going on to sign music contracts.

Over the years, Paul has invested more than £300,000 to keep Scruffy Murphys at the top of its game. Despite being forced to close for 15 months by the pandemic, Paul has no intention of ‘calling time’.

Scruffy Murphy’s manager Paul Phillips celebrates 20 years at the venue

What has Paul said about the award from Star Pubs & Bars?

Says Paul: “It’s been a tough 18 months for everyone. Hospitality and entertainment have been particularly hard hit. The price of closing was eye-watering. It’s the support and encouragement of our followers that has got us through, I can’t thank them enough.

“At our lowest point, they even raised more than £4,000 to help. When we started out, Birmingham had many more venues like Scruffy Murphys. Now there are only a couple of us left.

“I never thought I’d still be here 20 years on. I couldn’t have done it without the backing of a fantastic team of staff. We’re now serving children and grandchildren of some of my original customers.

“The festival is a big thank you to our followers and will hopefully mark the start of another 20 years of music at Scruffy Murphys. Having got through three lockdowns, our next goal is to see some new superstars start their careers here.”

Scruffy Murphy’s manager Paul Phillips celebrates 20 years at the venue

What have Star Pubs & Bars said about Scruffy Murphy’s in their own words?

Adds Star Pubs & Bars’ area manager, Jacqueline Frow: “It’s an honour to present this award. Paul has put his heart and soul into Scruffy Murphys and built it into one of the best independent rock pubs and music venues in the UK. It’s a real Birmingham institution and adds to all the city has to offer.

“It’s been the most challenging period the live music industry has ever known. It’s a tribute to Paul that Scruffy Murphys has survived and thrived. We wish him many more happy years at the helm!”

To see the full line up and book your tickets to the Scruffy’s 20th Anniversary Rock Festival click here

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