Miami Monkey opened this past Sunday, bringing a whole lot of pink lipstick and sweet, sweet cocktails to South Beach.
It's the Miami outpost of the Drunken Monkey, a Staten Island bar owned by Angela "Big Ang" Raiola. The primate-themed pub features karaoke, Tuesgays (self-explanatory), and cocktails, but most people come for the main draw, Big Ang, a women with a personality as substantial as her bra size (both quite formidable).
The Miami Monkey is on the second floor of the Netherland on Ocean Drive, which means it's nearly invisible to the thousands of people who flock the area in search of an après-beach cocktail. To make up for that, girls in black bikini tops and Bettie Page-type bottoms walk the beach, "tagging" people with stickers. Trade in the sticker for a free shot at the bar.
You're going to want that free drink, because the prices are strictly South Beach. Standard libations like Stoli and soda and rum runners range in the $10-15 area (with tax and 18% tip included in the bill), and there's a two-for-one happy hour daily from 4 to 9 p.m.
We ordered a signature mango monkey martini. The frozen concoction was sweet, frothy, and twenty bucks (though it was presented in one of those insanely large glasses you only seem to find in beach towns).
A DJ spins tunes ranging from classic disco to hip-hop, but the main draws at Miami Monkey are the drinks... and the bodies.
There's a lot of skin at the Miami Monkey. Standard uniform is a black bikini and hot pink lipstick for the gals; black tanks (lipstick optional) for the guys.
Big Ang flaunts her 38J's as she schmoozes with the crowd -- most of whom wear their bikinis straight from a day on the sand. In other words -- whatever your size, wear the least possible amount of clothing and drink up.
We caught up with Big Ang, who opened up about her favorite cocktails, her plans for the bar, and her love of chimps.
Short Order: What made you open a bar in South Beach?
Big Ang: I owned the Drunken Monkey for seven years. It became a big success. I think this is where I should be.
So, does this mean you're staying in Miami?
Stay in Miami for good? No. I'm going to go back and forth from New York. I have a condo in Pompano, but I'll stay in Miami for now -- at least for a few months. I'll get the right people. My daughter is a teacher, she'll run Miami Monkey for me. I can't do everything. I'll get it going, and then, hopefully, it can run itself.
Your first bar is the Drunken Monkey in Staten Island. Why not Drunken Monkey Miami? Why just Miami Monkey?
In Staten Island, it's Drunken Monkey. It's Miami, so it should be Miami Monkey. The Drunken Monkey is more of an Irish pub. Miami has more of a club feel. We'll have a gay night, a hip hop night, a Latin night. I think it will go over well. I'll try anything.
So, what's with all the monkey stuff, anyway?
I love monkeys. Aren't they the best? I could go to the zoo and stare at monkeys all day. They're freaking human -- the way they communicate. Don't even talk to me about how they have sex...because I watched them at the Bronx Zoo once. When I was young, a friend had a chimp and they used to dress him up in little clothes with shoes. I always wanted to get one of them.
The don't make good pets, I hear.
Then I'll just stick with the monkey theme.
What's your favorite drink?
I like an espresso martini and a shot of Patron. I'm not into the mixed drinks. They give me agita. That's why I take Nexium.
So how do you eat good Italian food if you have heartburn?
We eat the garlic, the cheese. Cold cuts. I ain't giving that up. I just take the f**king pills.
Will you serve food at Miami Monkey?
Right now, we just soft opened with drinks. But we're going to have tapas.
Any food from the old neighborhood?
We are definitely doing that. Big Ang specials. I'll bring a bit of Staten Island here.
So, Ang...tell our readers why they should check out Miami Monkey.
Because I'm here. Big Ang is here. My fans love me and I love them.
Miami Monkey is open daily from 9 a.m. - midnight (sometimes later for events). While you're there, say hi to Big Ang!
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.