Monkey Barrel Bar moves to Sunnyside, cabaret license is denied

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DENVER-- A new bar and restaurant in Sunnyside is already stirring up controversy before its doors even open.

Monkey Barrel Bar is moving from LoHi to 44th Avenue and Tejon Street in Sunnyside, but neighbors there aren't thrilled about their daily live music.

"Our concept is live music, it's in our logo, it's pretty much everything we've been about for the last three years," said bar owner Jimmy Nigg.

That concept is now in jeopardy since their cabaret license was denied by city council.

"There were some concerns from neighbors that a bar opening up is going to be too loud," said Nigg.

Local leaders in the community hoped Nigg would sign a "Good neighbor agreement." Although he agreed to turn off music at 10:00 PM, he feared signing the agreement would be too risky.

"We've decided to stop serving people on our patio past 10:00 p.m., we're going to turn our music off outside at 10:00 p.m., the live music will be inside," said Nigg.

Nigg said the agreement came with severe punishment for minor violations.

"So, we're going to open without it and that's frustrating," said Nigg.

Some neighbors worry the music will ruin their peaceful neighborhood.

"I'm a little bit worried if it turns into something that will ruin the quiet and the peace around here," said Zach Zanger.

Others seem receptive to the idea of new development.

As for Nigg, he plans to fight for his cabaret license and re-petition the residents of the neighborhood in the fall.

"We have to show that there's a need and desire in this neighborhood for live music," said NIgg.

Denver City Councilman Rafael Espinoza released this statement to FOX 31:

"I was disappointed in the decision by the owner of the establishment to not work with the community by signing a good neighbor agreement. It flies in the face of both long-used public policy and respect for the quality of life for those families whom he is hoping to be neighbors too. Pitting neighbors who are directly affected by a music venue against those who live outside of the impact of the business, the owner is being disingenuous. All the owner needed to do is put his own commitment to the neighborhood on the license and music would be heard in the venue."

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