If you're an in-the-know type, then all we need to say is, "The Monkey Bar," and you know what we're talking about. It's the unofficial title of the speakeasy at the Highland Park Village branch of Mi Cocina, and it has just received a makeover which — fingers crossed — will be ready for prime time on August 21.
The Monkey Bar is located on the restaurant's third floor, where it has served as a private hangout for those who knows it exists. There's no sign — just an unobtrusive door next to the kitchen. We don't want to name names like Dean Fearing or Troy Aikman, but should you make the climb, you're more than likely to find some of Dallas' local celebrities.
The Highland Park Village branch is the only Mi Cocina that has a secret bar. (Correct us if we're wrong.) The name Monkey Bar comes from its aerie location, with a row of windows that overlook the trees. To honor the unofficial name, there's artwork on the walls depicting apes and monkeys in suits.
The space is maybe 1,000 square feet and it has limited hours: open only at happy hour and at night, but with a dedicated staff mixing up Mambo taxis and the like.
The remodel was done by Heather Smith and Tyler Duncan of the Duncan Design Group, who lightened the palette from the previous Ralph Lauren green and redid the outdated-looking terra-cotta tile floor. The design team also redid the windows, making sure they all opened and closed fluidly.
The bar had been closed for two weeks while Duncan executed the overhaul. But of course you already knew that.