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Greytown’s iconic top pub sold

By Emily Norman

[email protected]

The Top Pub in Greytown became just a little more Irish last week after publicans Tony and Ursula Murphy bought the landmark pub.

The Irish couple had been running The Top Pub- Greytown Hotel business since last April but the Victorian-style building was only recently sold to them by Trust House.

Trust House had been the owners of the building since 2008.

Publicans Tony Murphy and his wife Ursula behind the bar at the Top Pub- Greytown Hotel. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN
Publicans Tony Murphy and his wife Ursula behind the bar at the Top Pub- Greytown Hotel. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN

Mr and Mrs Murphy said the purchase of the pub had now “cemented” them into the Greytown community, where they planned to stay for the long term.

“It just seemed like the natural thing to do when Trust House decided they would sell the building,” Mrs Murphy said.

“We just thought, oh yeah, that’s a natural progression for us.

“It cements us in the community a bit as well and makes us feel like we really are part of it now.”

The couple had moved from Ireland to New Zealand about 12 years ago, but Mr Murphy was originally a Porirua man.

He left for Ireland when he was 20 years old for “one year”, but came back 13 years later with a family.

While in Ireland, Mr Murphy entered the “pub game” and ended up running pubs and working in an Early House.

“Here at the Top Pub, it’s really just like an Irish pub,” he said.

“You get the same kind of characters, and people sit at the bar and chat – that’s what a good bar is.”

Mrs Murphy said she wouldn’t be surprised if the pub stayed in their family for their children to run one day.

Their daughter Aisling who is six years-old regularly comes down to help in the restaurant and helps clean the rooms and windows.

“There were so many good publicans before us and it really feels as if we’re carrying on this tradition,” Mrs Murphy said.

“It would be nice to think we’re going to carry on for a long time, and that our kids might carry on too, you never know”.

The couple said patrons shouldn’t expect too much change other than a “build-up of atmosphere” and a new food menu.

“We’re looking at renovating upstairs, but I mean, the essence of the pub is not going to change,” Mrs Murphy said.

“It is such a traditional bar – I mean, it’s perfect, and I think that’s why it suits us you know.

“It’s like a bar that you would walk into in Ireland, you know in the mid-country.”

An upcoming event they are looking forward to celebrating at the Top Pub is a Halloween fundraiser event, raising money for Carterton dad Nick Perkins who is battling multiple sclerosis.

Trust House chief executive Allan Pollard did not wish to comment on the sale, but it follows the sale in recent years of the Greytown Four Square, and the closure of Greytown Wine and Spirits.


  1. We Wish you well,
    We did enjoy meeting you & your family when our daughter was the 2014 NZ Rose of TRALEE.

  2. Every blessing to Tony and Ursula.
    Wish we lived closer…uum now thats a thought.
    Aroha from Paul and Gillian S.

  3. I wish the Irish couple well.. perhaps come St Patricks Day they will have shamrock around the place! Murphy is a real Irish name eh! Wonder what part of the Emerald Isle he is from, I have been all over the Island/Ireland, north and south, as Mum was from Ulster.

Comments are closed.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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