The swinging Monkey Bar ends its Main Street dance | ParkRecord.com

The swinging Monkey Bar ends its Main Street dance

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

The Monkey Bar, the Main Street nightclub that challenged liquor authorities with its risque dancers, recently closed, the bar’s former landlord reports, ending its more than two years of titillating entertainment.

Kenny Griswold, who manages and co-owns the Memorial Building where the Monkey Bar rented space, says the bar closed about three weeks ago. Griswold says that the Monkey Bar held a month-to-month lease on the space and he has "other plans for the building."

Griswold says he intends to put a "high concept" Mediterranean restaurant in the space previously rented by the Monkey Bar. He plans to open the restaurant at the beginning of 2007.

"I was sensitive to the public outcry. It didn’t make me feel good," he says about the Monkey Bar, praising the bar’s owner, Gregg Davison, however. "That was certainly not my favorite tenant."

He says that he told Davison that he was considering ending the Monkey Bar’s lease as early as before the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, in January. Griswold says he did not have problems with the bar, describing it as "relatively tame."

"There was never any trouble there," Griswold says.

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Davison did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

The Monkey Bar became notorious as the place on Main Street where women performed on a stage in skimpy outfits, sometimes stripping to their bras and panties during their performances.

The dancing drew the attention of the authorities, who investigated whether the performances were too sexy. The Park City Police Department sent officers into the bar as part of a sting operation and later the state alcohol regulators brought charges against the bar.

Scott York, the bar’s former attorney, says the case between the Monkey Bar and the regulators is no longer pending.

Phil Kirk, a Park City Police Department lieutenant, says that officers were often called to the Monkey Bar.

"With them closing down, those problems don’t exist anymore," Kirk says. "There was a fair amount of calls we got. As we looked at it, there were certainly questionable (practices.)"

During the sting operations, the police reported undercover officers received lap dances and said that dancers simulated sexual intercourse during the dances. In 2005, Davison told The Park Record that he did not generally dispute the allegations made by the police.

Main Street leader Ken Davis says that the Monkey Bar did not promote the image the merchants want to portray on the street.

"We’re happy to see the change," Davis says. "It was so controversial to have that bar in town."