It seemed odd that the name and logo of this bar is exactly the same as the now famous establishment in Dali. And though it wasn’t clear if the two Brits who had set up the place in Dali were now franchising the name or—as is so often the case in China—it was a shameless rip-off, my interest was piqued.
Stepping inside, we immediately received a warm greeting from the staff who guided us to our seats. The environment was inviting and 90’s pop music drawled in the background.
Our attention was immediately drawn to the large Bad Monkey logo, a devilish-looking primate that’s naturally holding a beer and smoking. Funky looking beer barrels line the wall, each stamped with a Dali address. The decoration is not bad at all. Elegant lights decorate each table and three large TVs are mounted in prime view.
Unafraid to separate myself from the average drinker, I was in dire need of a cold draft beer to ease the hot, humid weather that’s slowly killing us all. Unfortunately, the only offering was Budweiser, but at a cracking 20 RMB per pint, we couldn’t complain. That’s half the price of many places in town.
In fact, the prices were low all around (most meals priced around 20 RMB); easily cheap enough to make you think they were focusing on the student market. There were also a wide range of options: salads, snacks, fried rice, pastas, steak, sandwiches and more.
We opted for the shrimp and egg fried rice (20 RMB) and Pan Fried Spring Fish (18 RMB). We ate and felt disappointed. The “fried” rice was actually boiled and reminiscent of those Chinese fast food street meals (kuaican), but placed on a decorated plate. As for the Spring Fish, well, let’s say it was very fishy, indeed.
The whole experience at Bad Monkey was strange somehow and the staff seemed inexperienced. The waitress once came and asked me if I wanted to pay my bill, which was fine, of course, but it was before my beer arrived, and I had ordered that ten minutes prior.
I can’t quite say if this is a Chinese or Western bar because it seemed to fall awkwardly down the middle. As we walked out of the place unfulfilled, I couldn’t help but wonder what the boys down at Bad Monkey in Dali would make of it all.
Address: No.23, District A, Moon Bay Plaza, Dongcheng (opposite of Turandot)