Monkey Business in Downtown Mobile

A lot has happened since the deadline for my first Mobility column a couple of weeks ago. And what’s the most exciting news?

Drumroll… Mobile will soon have a monkey bar! And not just any monkey bar but Eugene’s Monkey Bar!

Why, you might ask, am I so excited about this? Because it seems to me that Mobile hasn’t paid sufficient homage to our favorite son, Eugene Walter. If you don’t know who Eugene is (and why this blog is named Of Moonpies and Monkeys), click on the Monkeys tab above.

If you’re in a hurry, here’s the short version. Eugene embodies the spirit of Mobile. And Eugene dearly loved monkeys.

“Down in Mobile, they’re all crazy, because the Gulf Coast is the kingdom of monkeys, the land of clowns, ghosts and musicians, and Mobile is sweet lunacy’s county seat.”

– Eugene Walter, The Untidy Pilgrim (1953)

Eugene’s Monkey Bar will open in the new Hilton Garden Inn downtown on Bienville Square. Now, I know a lot of folks are still mad about all those beautiful live oak trees they cut down to build the hotel. I hate to lose a live oak as much as the next person but we have to move on. And I have to give Hilton credit for giving the new hotel a local spin by honoring Eugene.

Sounds like Eugene’s will be more than just another place to grab a drink. It’s described as a sidewalk café, offering breakfast daily, weekend brunch plus small plates and craft cocktails in the evening.

When will it open? I’ve seen info online that states “Fall 2016.” But that sounds like the overoptimistic marketing suits talking. The hotel is taking reservations starting 2/15/17 so that would be my best guess.


noun: mobility



  1. the ability to move or be moved freely and easily.
  2. the ability to move between different levels in society or employment.

Sounds like a pretty good description of our lovely city in 2016, doesn’t it? Things are happening here in Mobile, Alabama. And so that’s the name I chose for my new column in Lagniappe.

Mobility will look at all the positive developments we’re seeing, from an energized city government to new citizen activist groups and the projects that are coming to fruition. My goal is to stitch together the pieces to assess the overall impact on this place we call home. We’ll look at what has changed since 2014, what things will look like by 2020, and keep you up to date on projects in progress.

You can find the first Mobility column in the October 20 issue or read it online here.

Next up in Mobility: A tour of the Mobile waterfront.

Want to more information on any of the topics in the first column? Here ya go:

Map for Mobile

One Mobile – Also on Facebook.

Midtown Mobile Movement – Also on Facebook.

NextDoor Mobile

Form-based code (Fair warning: These links are for the wonkiest among you and may cause your eyes to roll back in your head.)