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.

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