UPDATE---Just to update ya'll. Jay hasn't been in the last two times we've been into the Monkey, but the other two or so bartenders they have are getting much better at crafting Jay's cocktails and using his recipes correctly. Way to go! Nice to see some training is in place. So even though Jay hasn't been there much lately (we hear he is working on some pretty cool things of his own), the drinks were great, the music funky as always, and the atmosphere just as warm and as cordial as ever. END OF UPDATE.---
Great vibe!! Lots of little things that go into making it an all-around neat little place. My wife and I have been there about 6 times while waiting for flights. Great service and drinks.
Overall, the best airport bar we've been to. And as bars go in general, one of the better ones around, airport or not. Good, solid stuff!! Highly Recommended :)
Great Classic Cocktails, Prepared Correctly.
Ok, ok. I know a lot of trendy bars do 1001 vodka drinks, as another reviewer already pointed out. I agree with that reviewer too. I'm sure those hip places and their candy-like, fruit-laced drinks have a place in this world, but it is kind of nice to find a bar that has a bartender or two schooled in the classics. The real-deal. Martini Monkey has an impressive cocktail menu full of all sorts of drinks, but what drew me in was their great selection of rums and gins. They can actually make a French 75, Rob Roy, Pisco Sour, Old Fashioned, Pimms Cup, and a classic Sidecar. I orderd a Sidecar at a local restaurant, and it was a brandy with lots of fruit juices. No thanks.
Martini Monkey makes great classic cocktails and some pretty sophisticated originals that don't cater to the sweet-tooth, latest vodka consumer (although I'm sure they can make those too). This is especially amazing since it's a tiny little bar with no kitchen. I can only imagine what they'd be able to do with cocktails if they had access to all the ingredients a restaurant bar has access to. To be able to succeed with such a tiny bar and no kitchen is testament to their skill and passion. Great service, fantastic cocktails, and was that St. Germain I heard playing in there? The South bay needs a bar/lounge like this.
Super friendly bartender, best cocktails in the South Bay Area.
Well, right off the bat, the friendly bartender made us feel welcome and comfortable. So many bartenders in the San Jose area just ignore you, or take their time getting to you. Not here. Quick, prompt, professional service. Very courteous and respectful.
The Cocktails? Fantastic. Fresh squeezed juices, and a great liquor slection BESIDES Vodka. That's right! So many bars are too busy being "trendy" these days featuring a million and one vodkas. That's fine. I like stuff with character and lots of flavor. Give me a good gin, rum, or brandy any day, and be able to make a great cocktail with something OTHER than vodka. Martini Monkey excels at cocktails made with stuff other than vodka (all though they do have a nice vodka selection). Great Caipirinhas, Mojitos, Pom-Tinis, Manhattans, Sidecars, Cable Cars, and a bunch of original creations. If you are adventurous, ask the guy who works weeknights (my wife and I can not remember his name, but he said he is usually there at night) about what new drinks he is working on. Sometimes he brings in his own, exoctic ingredients like rosemary or cucumber. If you luck out and get him on one of his creative nights, you are in for a treat.
All around great bar. Best in San Jose. Cons: way too small, and it's at the frickin airport. If it fills up with a lot of people with luggage, it can get hard to move around in there, and it gets hot when full. Another major negative: you get a lot of people who don't appreciate the gem this bar is. When we were there, some people were ordering a super-premium, top of the line Cognac, and mixing it with...pepsi! Or your "give me a Cosmo and a Red Bul/Vodka" crowd. Some people just don't get it. Buy hey, I guess you get that anywhere you go. But it's a shame that people don't take advantage of great cocktails, or know how to enjoy premium spirits without covering them up with pepsi or Sprite.
Oh, and the music is way cool!
Amazing drinks!!. It's about time someone opened up a unique bar at the airport that has style, atmosphere, and get this...great drinks too! I'll be definitely going back there.
Best Cocktails in San Jose!.
and at the airport...who would have thought?!!? But it's true. Martini Monkey's Jay is one of the most well-schooled mixologists (not bartender, but mixologist) in the Sothern Bay Area. My sister and I have been here 5 times on our way back to the East Coast. Wish we could fly more often! Would give us an excuse to go to the Martini Monkey more. Jay really knows cocktails, spirits, and can explain just about anything to you from single malt scotch to aged rum to classic cocktails to new-school creations. Great tasting, well-balanced cocktails, the funkiest, most eclectic music mix I've ever heard at a bar (apparently Jay mixes the music too), friendly service with a smile, cool atmosphere (retro meets tiki meets modern bar), and good times all around. Unfortunately, last time we were, we found out that Jay might not be there much longer. Note to Martini Monkey owners = KEEP THIS GUY AROUND!!
Next time I'm flying out of San Jose Airport, we're hitting the Martini Monkey again. Now if we can just convince the owners to open one of these OUTSIDE of the the airport here in the South bay somewhere! It's very much needed.
HIGHLY RECOMENDED :)
Best Drinks in the Bay Area.
I commented in 2004 how good this place was. My opinion since then has only gotten better.
MixMaster Jay is incredible with knowledge of the different drinks, liquors, history, etc. I would recommend asking him to make you something that he is working on. I used to be a bartender and I can clearly see the difference between an average bartender (me), and the King of the Hill (Jay). The drinks here are EXCELLENT. Even novice drinkers will soon notice the attention paid to the brand of liquor as well as fresh juices, etc. Although it is located in the San Jose Airport, it's well worth the inconvenience of airport parking and traffic if you love a well-made drink. I wish they would finally open another location.