You have the chance to hang with a reality royal if you decide to do your imbibing at Miami Monkey.
The jamming, festive bar is owned by Angela Raiola, better known to TV viewers as Big Ang, of the VH1 reality show of the same name. She was the breakout star of Mob Wives, and got a spinoff. Boom!
You can understand the appeal when you see her in the flesh, kind of like Snooki’s Maxi Me.
Ang is big, all right.
Literally: Lips, chest, nails. Figuratively: Smiley, affectionate, loud.
The woman just wants to have fun, supersized. Must be in the genes. Raiola’s uncle, the late Salvatore “Sally Dogs” Lombardi, was a major player in the Genovese crime family. He loved socializing, too.
At the recent grand opening, the larger than life bon vivant was nursing her favorite cocktail, an espresso martini, and posing for cellphone pics with anyone who asked.
Like Leeza Duque, a 20-something waitress at John the Baker in Pembroke Pines. “I came here for her. I love her,” says Duque, thrilled.
Ang, who has a condo in Pompano Beach, welcomes the attention. The tattoo-happy mom of two (husband Neil Murphy is back in the picture) would probably do a shot of Patron with you, no problemo.
“What do you think of this place?” she asks a patron in that raspy, Harvey Fierstein-on-hormones squeal. “Nice, right?”
Miami Monkey is indeed a snazzy beauty, without the attitude or dress code. The apres beach spot is done up in a cool, modern meets Art Deco way, nothing like her Irish-esque pub in Staten Island, N.Y., The Drunken Monkey.
On the second floor of the Netherland building at 1330 Ocean Drive, Miami Monkey as of press time had no signage, website or human being answering the phone.
That’s OK. Once inside, you realize this place is something, something.
Ask a ridiculously good-looking, flesh-baring bartender for the signature Drunken Monkey, fruity, frozen and instantly intoxicating.
The staff is good natured, especially by SoBe standards. Maybe because the gregarious boss is on the premises a lot of the time, calling the shots and occasionally downing a few.
Theme nights are in the works.
“Gays love me, so something for them, definitely,” says Ang, puffing away on a cigarette. “I want everyone to come here! It’s gonna be the best!”
When a reporter suggests inviting The Real Housewives of Miami to come over and pound a few for the publicity, Ang frowns. That’s not a natural look for her.
“We would take them down!”