Monkey is reborn!
The Donghu Lu fixture has reopened, morphing into a cocktail bar and lounge with acclaimed mixologist Jackie Lo at the helm. Like the previous venue, it carries a semi-speakeasy vibe, and it has a burger window as the storefront.
This is actually the third iteration of Monkey.
The first was Monkey Lounge, a speakeasy. The second was Monkey Champagne on Donghu Lu, also a bit of a speakeasy, but with a focus on champagne, and it had Bonobo (elevated Asian street food, now closed) was the entrance to the bar/club. Hip-hop is a big part of its DNA.
Monkey 3.0 is in the same vein, except much more grown up and without the dance floor party vibe.
About the Burgers and Crazy Chili Cheese Fries
Before you get to the bar, you’ll have to pass through the burger counter. You need to stop here (or order inside) for the chili cheeseburger and the chili cheese fries.
The food menu is really quite simple—combinations of burgers and fries with or without chili or cheese.
The burger is reminiscent of In-and-Out in that it’s packaged as fast food but is of quality. The patties are griddled with a nice brown char, slathered in chili, and are oozing with cheese. It’s oh-so delicious.
Chili Cheeseburgers are available as single, double, or triple stack for ¥68, ¥88, or ¥108. Chili burgers are ¥58, ¥78, or ¥98.
Fries are available as plain, with cheese, or with chili for ¥28, ¥38, or ¥48. Extra cup of chili for ¥20.
The front of the store serves a simplified drinks menu—housemade lemonades (¥60), bottled sodas from ¥25, beer, and shots.
There’s a daily happy hour from 6-9pm: Double Chili Cheeseburger and Fries for ¥88. It’s a good deal.
Through the double doors you’ll find the bar.
Acclaimed Mixologist Jackie Lo Behind the Bar
Monkey has graduated to a sleek, sultry bar with fully crafted cocktails. On play is a curated soundtrack of hip-hop. No Top 40, no EDM. There will be DJs on weekends, but not the blaring horns of DJ Khaled sort of night. There is a small space to dance, should you feel the need to drop.
Behind the bar is acclaimed mixologist Jackie Lo, a Hong Kong native who is the first woman to receive Drink Magazine Asia’s prestigious DMBA 2018 Bartender of the Year (China) award.
She’s done shifts all around the world, including CE LA VI in Singapore, and was the first Chinese bartender to be invited to Moskovsky, one of Moscow’s most famous bars.
In addition, she takes pride in making her own syrups, infusions, dehydrated garnishes, etc. She’s also waste-conscious, freezing fruit into ice cubes and preserves other garnishes so they last longer.
Six Signature Cocktails at Monkey
Jackie’s has six cocktails (¥98/drink) on the menu. More to be added later on.
Welcome to the Jungle — Puerto De Indias Strawberry Gin, East Imperial, Burma Tonic Water with Sichuan peppercorn and black pepper.
It’s my favorite cocktail on the menu. It’s like a gin & tonic— bubbly with basil on the nose and it’s low ABV, which means you could drink it all night. Adding a bit of fanfare, the cocktail is spritzed with a house mix of tropical fruit essence—pineapple, rum, strawberry, and mango—as it is served.
Juicy — Olmeca Altos Plata, Cointreau Orange Liqueur, blood orange puree, truffle salt, fresh lime juice.
It’s a punchier margarita. The sharp citrus from the blood orange cuts through the spirits, and a dab of hibiscus, lemon, and orange-infused Grand Marinier adding that extra level of sophistication. It’s sour, it’s punchy, it’s dangerously delicious. Second favorite on the list.
Monkey 3.0 — Thai Tea infused Havana 3 years, spiced coke syrup reduction, and fresh lime juice.
It’s a combination of a cuba libre and a daiquiri sans bubbles. I love how Jackie is impassioned about reducing waste—the idea of making coke syrup is to use up the flat soda at the bar. The Thai tea really comes through on this one. It’s creamy with bitter notes, milky and herbal without being overpowering. Third favorite.
Life after Monkey — Chivas Mizunara (oak aged), house infused perilla leaf and cucumber honey soda, lemon juice, dill, and garnished with dried, shredded coconut.
It’s Jackie’s take on a whiskey highball, one that’s more refreshing and herbal. It’s not my favorite—the herbal notes are sharp for my liking.
(And here’s where things get a bit hazy for me.)
Monkey Is Dead, Long Live Monkey — Jackfruit infused Havana 7 Years, Angostura Bitters. If you can’t tell, it’s a strong one. Dehydrated banana for garnish.
Yolo — Absolut Elyx Vodka, egg white, yuzu wine, peach bitters, sea salt water. It’s a pretty classic vodka sour, but with a sparkle of peach bitters and yuzu shoju. Dehydrated star fruit for garnish.
It’s a Great Addition To The Shanghai Bar Scene
2018 was a great year for bar openings.
2019 is starting off pretty darn well with Monkey leading that charge.
Would definitely come back for those burgers, and I’ll wash it down with Welcome to the Jungle.
Address: 巨鹿路758号5幢楼103号, 近富民路
Hours: Mon-Thu 7pm-2am, Fri-Sat 7pm-3am