Bars and Nightclubs
Adelaide CBD, Adelaide

Jade Monkey

29A Twin St, Adelaide, SA
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Known for its live music and atypical environment, the Jade Monkey provides a platform for musicians and social butterflies alike. The cosy bar in Adelaide’s CBD is one of a kind and worth a visit by anyone desiring something a little out of the ordinary.

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Jade Monkey Review

Review By Jessica O’Reilly

Stumble your way down Rundle Mall, stumble some more, take a short cut to the taxi rank through a dark and lonely side street, and stop. You have reached your destination. It’s not the taxi rank, but it is a dark and lonely side street. It is also the location of Adelaide’s elusive gem, the enigmatic Jade Monkey.

Though it qualifies as a hole in the wall type of venue, I’d rather label it a wallflower – simplicity at its best. Once inside, it’s like you’ve stepped into a hybrid of a spare room of a large house, a cafeteria and an outdoor café that has somehow found its way inside – taking with it the fairy lights and colourful globes which bathe the bar in a rainbow of dim light. The tables and chairs look as though they’ve been pinched from the nearest university’s dining area, but most patrons would rather stand for the best view of the band. The adorable little bar itself is but a mere bench top and refrigerator… a kitchenette, even.

But my favourite thing about the Jade Monkey is the type of glasses used to contain the precious spirits. Remember being at your grandmother’s house when she hands you some ice cold cordial in a simply cut glass with retro, colourful patterns on it? The Jade Monkey doesn’t bother with the generic glasses used by every other bar and club. Instead, they opt for a touch of character and familiarity to garnish your scotch and coke.

Loved by its regulars for its intimacy and obscurity, the Jade Monkey is very much an art space. A destination for musicians to promote their music, the bar is frequented by social butterflies with an appreciation for the local arts industry, or anyone attempting to escape the mainstream. As such, the atmosphere is often determined by the entertainment, but you can be sure there will always be a laidback vibe reverberating amongst patrons eager to experience something raw, or to enthusiastically support their mates as they hit the stage.

As the bar doesn’t target any specific age group, you will find a range of individuals at the Jade Monkey. Again, the performing acts quite often influence the age groups that do attend, but anyone from 18 – 40 can usually be found at the little place.

My debut at the Jade Monkey cost me $10 at the door on a Friday night, and as someone who is loath to cover charges, this one didn’t bother me so. The Jade Monkey doesn’t always charge for entry and $10 is around the highest price you’ll get, but at venues like this you don’t mind paying because you know it’s not a cash cow. The goal is to further promote local and interstate artists, as well as paying them to play the venues. On the drinks front, local and imported beers are available by the refrigerated bottle for $6 or $7. Usual spirits and a few wines are around the same price, or you could go for some tea in a gorgeous little tea cup for $3.50.

The Jade Monkey isn’t the place to visit to rev up for a night on the town, not is it known for its exclusive wine list. Here, you won’t find smoke machines and winding staircases, or hyperactive guys attempting a mad shuffle. While it’s located metres from the retail chain strip that is Rundle Mall and in the heart of Adelaide’s CBD, it symbolises a convenient watering hole that is off the beaten track. If you’re feeling deficient in mystery and intrigue, the Jade Monkey is where you can top up. It’s the kind of place you find accidentally, or apprehensively.

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