The Cowboy Monkey is back in business

After a few months of inactivity, Cowboy Monkey has re-opened its doors and is beginning to regularly showcase live music once again. For those of you who were unaware, the downtown Champaign restaurant and bar closed after the New Years Eve show featuring Headlights and The Beauty Shop, among others, and didn’t re-open until a February 22 performance by Lady Antebellum. Since then, the bar has been open on a limited basis with a few shows here and there, but it wasn’t until last week that Cowboy Monkey opened its doors and stage again to musical acts on a consistent basis.
Cowboy Monkey’s financial situation played a major part in the decision to stop operating for the months of January and February. The success of the bar in the long term seems to be the number one priority of those closely associated with it. “Cowboy Monkey has always tended to struggle financially throughout the colder and winter months,” said Ward Gollings, booking agent for the establishment. “With that in mind, it made sense to close for a few months to clean, paint, reorganize things and basically rethink the entire business model altogether.”
Gollings is hoping that the time off to reassess things will help the bar in the years to come. “The ultimate goal is to make the business financially stable 12 months a year, not just for seven months. As much as it pains us to scale back on live music, we needed to change something.”
For now, Cowboy Monkey will have Open Mic Night on Tuesdays, Salsa Night featuring DJ Bris on Wednesdays, and live musical acts on Thursdays, all of which are free shows. Santa kicked things off May 15 and Cameron McGill, Curb Service and Sangamon will all hit the stage on Thursdays to come. When asked about other plans in the works, Gollings said he is unsure of what exactly they plan on doing in the upcoming months. “We are still waiting to see how everything fleshes out, especially when the temperatures stay above 60-70 degrees at night. We’re still experimenting with and tweaking our day-to-day agenda.”
Other musical acts during the week are certainly a possibility this summer while Gollings figures out exactly what will work best to keep Cowboy Monkey open all year. “We might have ‘happy hour’ bands on Fridays from 5-8 like we did previously. At some point we will fill Monday nights with a regular event, be it a band, DJ or otherwise,” he said.
No matter what the weekly lineup may be this summer, the success of Cowboy Monkey will ultimately fall upon the shoulders of those involved in the Champaign-Urbana community. Go out for some dinner, have a few drinks, and enjoy the music this summer. Everyone at the Cowboy Monkey will appreciate it and they’ll be sure to return the favor.

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