Ernie’s Bleachers -Drive up hot dog stand and beer by the pail!
The Bleachers started out as Ernie’s Bleachers in the 30’s, a hot dog stand selling beer by the pail, right after prohibition. The hot dog stand itself was stolen from Peterson & Elston and set up on the corner of Waveland & Sheffield. Ernie Pareti wanted the only hot dog stand in the city. Anyway, that was his story, told when he was in his nineties. During WWII Ernie and a group of building inspectors built a real tavern, a cigar- box-shaped neighborhood bar that just happened to be located across the street from Wrigley Field. He sold it at the end of the war and it became JB’s Bleachers for a couple of years until JB got sick and sold it back to Ernie.
Ray’s Bleachers – Home of the Bleacher Bums
In 1965 it became Ray’s Bleachers when Ernie sold to Ray Meyers (hope you’re catching on to how the name changes work.) It soon achieved renown as home of the Bleacher Bums who surfaced during the Cub’s race for the pennant in 1969 & disappeared when the Cubs did in the early 70’s.
Ray sold to Jim Murphy in 1980 and the bar has grown in size and reputation ever since..
From the moment that Jim Murphy purchased Murphy’s Bleachers, formerly known as Ray’s Bleachers, in 1980, it became the center point for so much activity in the neighborhood – including serving as the relaxation point of choice for dozens of Chicago Cubs down through the years (Mark Grace, Rick Sutcliffe, Keith Moreland, Jody Davis, and Randy Myers to name just a few), too many journalists, police and firemen to count, a “who’s who” of local politicians, the home to many political and community public events, hundreds of charity and political fundraisers, private good-byes (the family of NBC-5’s Darrian Chapman held Darrian’s memorial service at Murphy’s), the setting for hundreds of community meetings dating back to the battle over night games at Wrigley Field in the 1980s, the occasional wedding proposal, and just every-day rollicking good fun. Jim slowly expanded and re-invested in Murphy’s, creating what is now widely recognized as the best sports bar in America.
- 1981 – Back Room-now in the middle of the main bar & beer garden
- 1982 – South Bar
- 1983 – Original wooden Murphy’s Bleachers sign
- 1984 – Original Rooftop overlooking the ballpark & just in time for the playoffs
- 1985 – Baseball clock/opening day countdown
- 1988 – Irish Bar (featuring a back bar imported from Ireland)
- 1990 – Upper Deck Party Room (1989) Enclosed Grill in the rear
- 1991 – 1929 Mercedes Benz beer truck
- 1992 – Gift of Comiskey Park scoreboard pinwheel by Steve Dahl of WCKG for rooftop
- 1998 – The blue and white lights on the pinwheel were rearranged forming a Harry
- 1993 – Brass & copper Murphy’s sign
- 1995 – Beer garden enclosed & TWO bathrooms added to join main and Irish bars
- 1998 – Rooftop Improvement adding enclosed pavilion, bathrooms and double stairways
- 1999 – A museum was opened to the public on Opening Day 1999 featuring a miniature replica of Wrigley Field painstakingly
created by local artist Steve Wolf.