When it’s cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey, one of the top spots in town to get back that sunshine feeling is Brass Monkey; Copenhagen’s finest and only Tiki bar.
Inspired by the carvings and mythology of the Polynesian islands, the tropical Tiki bars around the world are colourful and charismatic kitsch fun-houses, where mouthwatering rum-based cocktails are served amongst an eclectic paraphernalia of masks, carvings, fabrics and vegetation in cartoon recreations of the South Pacific.
Located in deepest darkest Vesterbro, the tropical wonderland Brass Monkey was originally, it is said, a Poulaine shoe store. Well, there is certainly something afoot as you enter through the unassuming glass facade of the popular haunt. As you make your way to the impressively stocked beach bar, you’ll bump into forbidding tribal Tiki masks, dangling spiky puffer fish, unlikely looking lamps and assorted rock ‘n’ roll objets d’art. It looks like a mixture of Tiki and rockabilly Tikibilly, if you like.
A Tiki bar wouldn’t be a Tiki bar without its big Kahunas – Kahuna is Polynesian for minister and behind the bar, the bartenders adroitly administer a luscious range of cocktails with tropical tangs. You might get your drink served in a skull, a pineapple or a monkey’s head. But behind the frivolous façade and Aloha shirts is a deadly serious dedication to the business of mixing exquisite cocktails and stocking boutique rums – of around 100 different types.
If you are on a night out with a bunch of friends, go for the mother of all drinks, as the tikilicious Missionary’s Downfall served in a flaming volcano, is the perfect way to kick off an unforgettable evening. The pirate’s treasure map drinks list also features Brass Monkey concoctions such as Jackspeak, Skull Island, Poison Ivy or their own lethal version of the trademark Zombie. The Zombie is a mixture of five different rums and is strictly limited to two per person as these cocktails apparently pack a real Polynesian punch.
The cocktail entrepreneurs behind Brass Monkey are the dynamic duo of Thomas Raae and Kasper Georg Jensen. They explored the seven seas on a sailing ship back in 1999, and perhaps the roots of Brass Monkey can be traced back to this epic voyage. They are also the owners of the more upmarket Salon 39 in Frederiksberg. While stylistically different, both establishments insist on maintaining impeccable service. On this particular Thursday evening, the service was indeed excellent as the bartenders’ passion for both their cocktail creations and looking after their customers was very much in evidence.
A typically tropical evening might combine spontaneous limbo dancing with the odd rockabilly concert or pulsating tropical rhythms from guest DJs who pop in to liven up the atmosphere. As you would expect from Vesterbro, the clientèle is as reassuringly mixed as the cocktails, and despite all the trappings, the bar still has a down-to-earth feel about it and can comfortably move from an intimate, relaxed atmosphere early in the evening to a livelier intoxicating party later at night.
If you are looking for an unpredictable rum-fuelled night of high-spirited fun and frolics with friends old and new, set to a twanging soundtrack of 1950s and 60s beat, then limbo on down to the Brass Monkey bar in inner Copenhagen’s wild west for a luscious taste of Tropicana that will leave you thirsty for more.
Enghavevej 31, 1674, Cph V, Open Thu 20:00-01:00, Fri & Sat 20:00-03:00; www.brassmonkey.dk