Saturday, December 3, 2022

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Belly Up To...

Third Street adds ‘party bar,’ the Lucky Monkey


Bartender James Frizell cracks open a Coors Light for a customer at the Lucky Monkey on hump day last week.

Bartender James Frizell cracks open a Coors Light for a customer at the Lucky Monkey on hump day last week.

Don’t mistake the Lucky Monkey for its previous identity as the 101 Lounge. It’s anything but. From the time Tim Hartman and his two brothers purchased the building last September to its grand opening in January 2013, major revamping has occurred: The space has been gutted and renewed to showcase a clean, open layout, and the upper deck has been demolished, replaced by a spacious patio with outdoor seating and Red Bull high top tables, which provide standing room for those too energized to lounge. Along with the change in scenery has come a change in patronage, as the Lucky Monkey is home to an entire new crowd, according to Hartman, who describes the joint as a “party bar.”

“There’s always something to do here and people to interact with,” he said.

And when he says “always something to do,” he means it. Guests can choose from beer pong, Big Buck Safari, Golden Tee Golf, Silver Strike Bowling and ping-pong. Can it get better than that? Uh… yeah. Don’t bother asking bartender James Frizell to break your dollar for quarters for a game of pool. It’s free.

For the more passive partier, the Lucky Monkey also offers flat screen TVs on nearly every wall.

Although most bar-goers think of Friday and Saturday nights as the prime time to let loose and get crazy, the Lucky Monkey gets its party on every Tuesday night. Beer pong tournaments, karaoke and drink specials draw in a crowd for a pre-hump-day celebration.

“Tuesday nights definitely compete with Friday nights,” Frizell said. “Last Tuesday we had around 150-200 people.”

Even if it’s not a crazy Tuesday or a weekend night, the Monkey still provides other enticing incentives. On Monday nights, bartenders sling free Busch Light draws. And for a group of friends looking to enhance the buzz, the Lucky Monkey offers a shot-ski for $15. Beer munchies? Bartenders will serve up good eats until closing time.

“If you want breakfast at one in the morning, I will serve you up a cheeseburger with egg and bacon,” Frizell laughed.

The Lucky Monkey serves burgers all day and night and breakfast, too, he said.

If you ask the owners, the bar is all about catering to the diverse whims of the customer at varying degrees of intoxication, and everybody wins. Even the goofy name, Lucky Monkey, is one of compromise, Hartman said. His brother had wanted to name the bar Lucky’s, but Hartman had his heart set on the Drunken Monkey. The end result? Well, you can guess.

If there is one thing they didn’t feel the need to compromise on, though, it’s the bar’s slogan: “Everyone Gets Lucky at the Monkey.”

Sounds fair. CV


Lucky Monkey
102 3rd St., Des Moines
(515) 243-9338
Hours: Sun. – Fri. 2 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sat. 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Happy Hour: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Entertainment: Beer Pong tournaments and Karaoke every Tuesday night
Capacity: 187


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