May 23, 2012

Skankynavia: Brass Monkey (CPH)

by Anders

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A few months ago, I designed a ceramic mug shaped like a monkey’s head, for rum-based cocktails… and no, it wasn’t for selling in stores. I don’t think it would be very consumer-friendly.

Yet it had a purpose — the only tiki bar in Copenhagen, Brass Monkey had approached me to design a cup for their drinks.

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Don’t suppose anyone wants a furry primate-shaped mug unless you work in a zoo or live on Planet of The Apes.

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It’s supposed to look like a monkey god idol carved in a tree stump, carrying a fez on its head with a hole for your straw.

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It took a whole year from when I sketched the design to the first sip I took, of a sweet rum drink from its skull. Ceramic production is a bitch.

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After final prototyping, the design was then sculpted, cast and turned into a range of slip-casting clay forms and then put into production by the London-based, world famous tiki interior experts Cheeky Tiki.

Last week I finally found time to swing by the bar and enjoy some of the exotic tiki atmosphere.

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The Brass Monkey is well hidden in the most anonymous looking building in all of Copenhagen. Look for the bamboo awning for the entrance.

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A shrunken head (a previous customer who had tried to run from the bill) welcomes you.

Tiki is inspired by the exotic far away islands of Hawaii, Polynesia and the dark jungles of Africa. The tiki style became mainstream in the 1950′s after soldiers returned home to the US from their exotic outposts during WWII –  Islands in the Carribean, Hawaii  and other mythical locations. The style featured bamboo interiors, tribal idols, giant statues, shrunken heads and rum based, sweet, fruit-filled cocktails

To get you in the mood, here’s a rare clip from the old days:

What you play when your party is feeling groovy and the cocktails are sweet and intoxicating:

Can you feel the intense noise of the jungle? The warm air below the palm trees? The sweet smell of blood on the golden idol from the sacred rituals of nights past?

During the 1960′s the fad faded and it wasn’t until the beginning of this new century that the style took off again. There are now tiki bars all over the world. I did the identity, graphics and some interior assistance for a tiki bar called Intoxica that opened in Copenhagen in 2008. Unfortunately it was located in an odd area in town and maybe because of the fact that 2008 was the year of global financial meltdown, the bar only lasted a season. People had better things to spend their money on than Zombies and Piña Coladas. So we had to pack everything and close the whole shit down. Bah.

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Luckily another bar opened some years later: Brass Monkey. It seems to be still going strong which hopefully means that the Copenhagen bar crawlers have embraced the gift of tiki a bit more positively this time around.

The bar is one big industrial room gone tiki. Lots of bamboo, big plants, weird masks, fish bowls and lots of candles.

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The bar is beautiful, tall and impressive.

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Don’t you just wanna hang out here all night, dropping stacks on the bartender and get your drank on in sweet rum? Yes you do.

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The Altar — with lots of imported idols, tiki mugs and holy bottles of rum.

Bottles ready for sugar water and rum.

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Cozy backbar interior.

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Two bartenders at work on a Thursday night. There was a nice crowd, not too many people.

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A Saturday night here gets super crammed, guests seem to like the atmosphere of exotic worlds, sinful primitive sex and dirty rum from forbidden islands.

The cocktail menu.

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The card offers traditional tiki drinks like Mai Tais, Zombies, Missionary’s Downfall, Daiquiris, etc. Depending on how much liquor they contain, prices range around $18 -$24 which is pretty normal in Copenhagen for a drink.

The $25 Zombie however contains so much alcohol that you’re only allowed a daily servings of three, otherwise you’ll pretty much end up dead on the counter. After just one Zombie you’ll find yourself borderline tipsy, if not absurdly drunk, Skankynavia style.

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A little info on tiki bar culture inside the cocktail card.

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You can also both get traditional drinks and the big tiki bowls — for example a huge erupting volcano with lava and fire running down from the top.

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I designed this tiki bowl for the volcano drink for the bar, which might be produced sometime in the future if money and time allow it.

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The drink features four tiki demon gods carrying the bowl, with room for drinks in the lava pit and room for liquor ready to be lit on fire on top of the volcano.

“Missionary’s Downfall” served in the new monkey mug:

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Daiquiri in a crystal glass:

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A band showed up and was ready to put on a show. Lots of lounge music, rockabilly and exotica bands perform here.

A stag party?

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A volcano bowl on fire draws the men close together in a mutual straw-sucking experience. Cute.

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Band on stage playing; sluts dancing.

Next time you’re in Copenhagen, swing by this place during the weekend (opens after 20:00) if you’re in need of rum, fire and exotic skankiness.

BRASS MONKEY
Enghavevej 31
1674 V  Copenhagen
T: +45 3322 3433

6 Comments

  • yoko
    Posted May 23, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Your designs always dazzle. I can’t believe how fast you’ve taken off with your ceramics. Congrats! Tiki bars are always so odd to me. I guess it takes me back to my 5 year old self sitting in the Disneyland Tiki Room. I can lose myself in Disneyland but not in a Tiki bar. Maybe I should try going to one again though… This post has me curious.

  • Kayoko
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Love tiki, love your mug! The fez is just hilarious.

    When you get here I’ll take both you and Yoko to my fave tiki bar in SF, Smuggler’s Cove. It is so fun, and we will all definitely share one of those punch bowls, for Stag Night.

  • Posted May 24, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    The tiki mug looks pretty awesome! You should sell it on the site, I’d love to get my hands on one!

  • Anders
    Posted May 25, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Thanks! Yes, I love tikimugs too and have a little collection of my own.
    @Vanessa: Unfortunately the Brass Monkey mug is not for sale. They have so few they prefer to use them at the bar until they’re all smashed or stolen by customers (a big problem – we seriously googled around a lot to find out whether we could insert satellite tracking chips in the mugs so we could hunt down the many thieves, to no avail though)

    Kayoko: YES, let’s sail to the Smuggler’s Cove and worship the Rum Gods.

  • Sue
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 4:41 am

    Great mugs. I was reading something on noodles and stumbled in here.

    You really need to go to Tiki Ti next time you are in Los Angeles, and hit oceanic arts as well. Tiki is was born in California, as all good cultural nonsense is :)

  • Anders
    Posted February 20, 2013 at 3:06 am

    Thanks for reading, Sue!
    Great, Tiki Ti is definitely on my LA to do list. Hopefully I will get to sample their cocktails this summer. Love Cali for all its constant delivery of perfect nonsense.

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