Bartenders & Baristas: Pre-Halloween Hobnobbing with Michael Murphy

By Wynter Holden

If you haven't been to the new Hob Nobs (in the old Willow House space on McDowell and 3rd Ave.), it’s definitely worth a visit. The place is adorable, with restored original fireplace and hardwood floors, sunlit rooms and local art decking the walls. Another cute-as-heck thing we found at Hob Nobs was barista Michael Murphy, a kooky character who’s batty for Halloween – his favorite holiday. Costumes? Check. Pumpkin-carving contest? Yup. Spooky stories? I sat a spell and he offered up a tale that'll curdle the soy in your nonfat, decaf, triple-mocha latte!

Making a Yosemite Sam costume on the fly...

Chow Bella: What’s your favorite drink to make? Michael Murphy: The Hob Nob latte. I might be kind of partial to that because I invented it. I researched online what a "hobnob cookie" was, and it was a kind of British tea cookie. They're little shortbread cookies with sugar and cinnamon. So I came up with a drink using the shortbread syrup and cinnamon, and coffee.

CB: Tell us what your drink of choice is. MM: What time of day? I drink coffee, except when I'm at work. At work, I stick to water and hot tea. When you're working with it, coffee gets all over you, in your clothes, in your hair.

CB: So I hear you’re a big Halloween fan. What was your most pathetic costume? MM: This is such a sad story, and one that anyone can probably relate to. I was raised by a single mother, and one year we had to throw something together for a Halloween pageant. Mine was a queen-sized sheet with holes in it. I probably could've forgiven [my mom] earlier for that if it was a twin sheet, but a queen-size sheet is just too long for a seven-year-old. People didn't know if I was a ghost, or a bride...because I had a long, white train in the back!

Scary stuff behind the cut....readers, beware!

CB: What will your costume be this year? MM: At work, I'll have my work uniform on, but I'll be going as a 3-dollar bill. It'll be a mask that I'll make with my face in the center like currency has, and the number 3...and maybe a few little gay things added [get it? queer as a...oh, yeah!]

CB: Have you seen any nudity working as a barista? MM: Up in Scottsdale, I was working around Halloween and there was someone who had to run naked through the coffee shop. He was claiming that someone had stolen his costume. We were all thinking, what kind of costume requires you to be naked underneath??

CB: What other crazy on-the-job stories do you have for our readers? MM: I've got a creepy one...Remember when Arizona Center used to have bars on the second floor? I was working at Starbucks, and there was a bar right upstairs...back then, you could go out on the balcony with your drink. A ruckus erupted one night. Well, the fight moves outside, and there was a guy outside leaning against the railing at the time. He had nothing to do with the fight, but he got pushed off the railing and fell and split his head open.

This was late at night. It's 5:30 the next morning and my co-workers at Starbucks are coming into work, and they're still scrubbing bits of brain off the sidewalk. People are coming in for coffee and asking "what's that red patch out there on the stone walkway?" I mean, what do you tell them?

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Wynter Holden
Contact: Wynter Holden