The Green Monkey’s big move

The inclusive neighborhood bar and gift shop is moving to downtown Raleigh.

The exterior of the Raleigh Sandwich Shop on South Wilmington Street.

215 S. Wilmington St. has been vacant since 1989.

Photo via NC Office of Archives and History

After 10 years on Hillsborough Street, The Green Monkey is moving to downtown Raleigh this spring. We caught up with owners Rusty Sutton and Drew Temple to learn more.

The Green Monkey is moving because it’s outgrowing its space, the duo told RALtoday. And, the rent and nearby parking costs have increased.

The new space will still feel like The Green Monkey. However: “It’s going to be prettier,” Rusty said. “With more room.”

The neighborhood bar and gift shop’s new spot at 215 S. Wilmington St. dates back to the 1880s, when the property was listed as a grocery. Since then, the building has been a saloon, multiple restaurants, and a physician’s office. It most recently housed Raleigh Sandwich Shop, which closed in 1989. The building is included in the Moore Square Historic District.

“When we started digging into the history of the building, we learned that the Raleigh Sandwich Shop was one of the first restaurants [in Raleigh] that allowed Black people and white people in the same space,” Rusty said. “That is historic, and that’s what we’re all about — we want a place for everybody to feel safe and be who they are without judgment or feeling out of place.”

Inside The Green Monkey's new location.

Inside The Green Monkey’s new location.

Photo by Rusty Sutton

Rusty and Drew plan to create a timeline of the building’s history and display it on the wall. Check out their research here.

When visitors walk into The Green Monkey’s new location, they’ll be greeted by a gift shop filled with quirky finds. Beyond the souvenirs will be a newly designed bar, bottle shop, and working gas fireplace with a cozy sitting area.

Downstairs will feature another bar (repurposed from The Green Monkey’s original bar), the Kayla LaShay Dressing Room (a storage area and office space), a larger production space, and plenty of room for events. Outside, there will be a private courtyard with a deck. Bonus: There’s lots of nearby parking.

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