1025 Barret Avenue Louisville, KY 40204
We have mixed feelings about The Monkey Wrench. While the downstairs indoor bar area is fairly spacious, it’s difficult to tell from the dark blue tinted mood lighting. Our best experiences have revolved around relaxing upstairs. The rooftop patio, complete with a separate bar and and multiple seating options, overlooks the Winter/Barret cross street which might not appear as charming from street level.
The feeling of being cooped up indoors for the majority of winter, in conjunction with the recent streak of 84 degree highs, inspired us to leave our sweltering apartment for an outdoor reprieve. After consulting our happy hour list, we were grateful to see an all night burger special available right down the street. With the memories of rooftop drinking from last summer fresh in our mind it made sense to go at 5:30 to get in on the drink deal as well.
While some bars post their specials in high profile spots, upon arriving we noticed The Monkey Wrench uses their blackboards and banners to show the craft beers currently available. Misled by outdated web listings before, we hesitantly asked our server if there were any specials. Luckily, after getting her bearings on the day of the week, she returned with a concise menu, undeserving of the laminated sleeve enclosing its heavy cardstock paper.
With our beer snob roommate Nick in our midst, we were disappointed to learn that the Monkey Wrench offers a $3 craft beer special on Thursday nights. Since it was only Tuesday, and not everyone was in the mood for liquor, Nick and Megan ordered tap beer while Jasmine went for the Kentucky Gentleman based bourbon and ginger.
The Monkey Wrench’s menu of specialty burgers ordinarily range from $8.50 to $11. Two of the burgers are reminiscent of other food genres, with fixings you would normally find in an Italian or Mexican dish. One had everything from cajun cucumber lime aioli to a fried egg. Two classic options withstood the test of quality next to the other more innovative options. Even at this divey bar, where vegetarians often get the short end of the stick, our server (a self-proclaimed omnivore) told us it was her favorite dish on the menu.
All the above options, with hand cut fries and pickle spear included, surprisingly cost the same as a McDonald’s Value Meal. Despite the fast food prices, it was immediately apparent that they don’t use frozen patties: if you couldn’t tell from the fresh taste, the irregular hand-formed shape offered the telling sign.
A breakdown of our 4-Star rating: During most happy hours bars and restaurants limit their food specials to discounts on appetizers. It’s rare to find an establishment that provides a substantive meal that is not Sushi. The Monkey Wrench shines in this regard. While we’re not beer snobs, we’re past the days of drinking bud and miller light. This bar offers a decent selection of beers on tap and we’d like to see more of them on special. Overall, the summertime atmosphere and high quality bar food make this dive worth revisiting.
Jasmine Ashton & Megan Feil, March 23, 2012
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