Monkey Barrel Gets the Green Light to Host Live Music

Things are looking up for Jimmy Nigg and his bar Monkey Barrel, which had a rough time trying to find a place to serve liquor and music. He had to close his 1611 Platte Street spot since that building was slated to be demolished. Then, he hung a “coming soon” sign last spring outside of what would become the second incarnation of his bar at 4401 Tejon Street. The announcement on the new space stated, "Live Music and Local Beer.”

It turns out live music wasn't coming so soon. Getting the green light turned out to be tricky: Last summer, he was granted a liquor license but denied the cabaret license he needed to host bands.

Nigg withdrew his cabaret-license application and re-petitioned the Sunnyside neighborhood. Many had reached out to him to show support for live music, and he decided to take a second shot.

Since the Monkey Barrel started slinging drinks and serving Carbone’s sandwiches last September, Nigg notes, he's received special-events permits to host live music. He had five shows with solo guitarists, “just to show neighbors there wasn’t going to be any concern about noise.”

He's also worked out an agreement with the neighborhood group Sunnyside United Neighbors, which Nigg says limits the bar to a cut-off time for live music of midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

On December 28, he attended a hearing with the Department of Excise and Licenses. A week later, he received long-awaited word that the city had approved the bar's cabaret license.

In the meantime, construction is under way for an addition to the building that will include a dining room and an area for live music. Once that’s completed, Nigg says, he plans on finishing a patio extension that leads to the sidewalk.

"The cabaret license can't be used until construction on the addition is complete," Nigg wrote in an e-mail. "We are anticipating having that work completed at some point in March and hosting our official grand opening with multiple acts on the bill over three days ."
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Jon Solomon writes about music and nightlife for Westword, where he's been the Clubs Editor since 2006.
Contact: Jon Solomon