1970s: Sam Varela Remembers the Galway Bay Inn

In the 1970s a fun place to go to for Sunday brunch was the Galway Bay Inn in Moss Beach. The owner himself, Michael Murphy, was often there, serving the customers.

Do you remember the restaurant?

I wish I’d kept the napkins with the four leaf clover logo. The Galway Bay Inn overlooked the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve; we’d get a seat by the windows; it was a lovely way to spend a Sunday morning. Do you know where it was?

In the early 1970s the low key Galway Bay Inn became the upbeat Moss Beach Distillery when several young, high energy guys bought the historic prohibition roadhouse, among them Dave Andrews and Sam Varela.

(Photo: I believe both Dave Andrews & Sam Varela are standing outside the Distillery; sorry the image is so small.)

Dave and Sam were personable and easy going; they soon had a big loyal following. Such a special, loyal following that every year there is a reunion in Princeton-by-the-Sea.

Here’s what Sam Varela, former owner of the Moss Beach Distillery remembers:

Back in the very late 60’s a drunken Irishman by the name of Michael Murphy, who worked for the Telephone Company, spent so much time drinking in Dominics in HMB, that one day he woke up there, and decided that since it cost him so much to hang out there, he might as well buy the place.

So he did, but not having much money, and being a real tight—– Irishman, he converted it to an Irish restaurant by simply adding an O to the name thus creating O’Dominics. Do you remember ?

After a few years in the business, he sold the O’, and worked out a deal for Vic Torres’ place with Pearl [Torres], a restaurant which was located over a cove that reminded Murphy of Galway Bay ( beats me ). Thus was born the Galway Bay Inn an Irish restaurant.

In early 1973, I was diving for Abs near Flat Rock, right below “Weebies” (Sp ?) place, which I think is where “Goofus, the duck” lived. This is a Sunday about noon; I didn’t live on the Coastside then, so not too familiar with where I was. I was thirsty from diving, and wanted a beer, looked at the building , couldn’t figure what it was, so checked it out, and by golly there was a Bar in there, but not one customer in the whole place.

To make a long story short, 9 months later I was behind the Bar and “Goofus” was in my ice bin behind the Bar with two of my friends, Jerry and Mark, cracking up.

October of 1973 the Moss Beach Distillery was born, as was the world famous “Tamale Jerry enterprise.” As well as a classic Streaker with a very cold butt ! God those were fun times ! The “Still” today is geared for Tourists, not locals and lacks the Color of the early days. There are too many memories to list but I know you can recount many, I did spend time with Fannie and Frank Torres at their home close to the Still and enjoyed their stories. (Photo below: Fanny & Frank Torres; behind them the “lost” painting of Frank Torres wearing suit & tie, with Devil’s Slide in the background, courtesy Millie Muller.)

Does anybody know who “Goofus the duck” was? And what about the Tamale Jerry enterprise? I know Sam is referring to photographer Jerry Koontz,

(Photo: Jerry Koontz & Doug St. Denis in the 1970s.)
and I do remember Jerry selling homemade tamales from a cart.


Sam? Are you there? Peter Adams remembers the good times. He and his wife send you a big hug.