Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Three Legged Monkey Controversy

The Three Legged Monkey is not some sort of rescued animal in a rescue shelter. It is a very popular hang out in El Paso, Texas. The bar made it big by bringing the nightlife to Sunday nights. It is the place to party for 21-35 year olds on every three day weekend. They have a relaxed dress code, good bar food, a dance floor and a pretty attentive bar staff. Yeah, pretty .... attentive bar staff so I hear. The bar has been plagued with controversy since it opened its doors. Members of the Cielo Vista Neighborhood Association have complained for years about the noise, the parking and the trash around their neighborhood. The Association has done everything in its power to see that the bar gets shut down. Just recently TABC was called in and made Mike Armstrong make some changes to his bar to be able to keep his license. The occupancy in the bar was dropped from 695 to 500, he had to hire an outside security company to monitor the parking lot and minors would not be allowed in the bar after 8pm. Minors in the bar? Yeah the Three Legged Monkey has a full kitchen and had the whole sports bar thing going during the day. Armstrong did what he had to do to keep his doors open and try to keep the Neighborhood Association happy.

Unfortunately the story doesn't end there. A few weeks ago a Ft.Bliss soldier was shot and killed by another Ft. Bliss soldier outside in the parking lot. The shooting caused an uproar and the Neighborhood Association once again went after the establishment. Led by City Representative Emma Acosta, city council has voted to end the lease on the Three Legged Monkey. The City owns Hawkins Plaza who leases it to Patriot Place who then rents it to The Three Legged Monkey. Mayor John Cook said in an interview 
"the intent of Hawkins Plaza, was to be a first class shopping mall and the shooting tarnishes the image and therefore may violate the lease."

Now I don't agree with bars causing problems or contributing to the delinquency of young people. But I also don't agree with the Mayor's lame justification. First of all. Has anyone seen the other businesses in that shopping center? Do they even exist? Everyone knows that if it wasn't for the Three Legged Monkey that shopping center would be a ghost town.  Wet Ultra Lounge, the second largest business in the shopping center recently moved out last year. The Monkey, as it's referred to by the cool, hip young people, is the anchor business in that shopping center. It drives business to the other smaller businesses.

I believe that the shooting at the Three Legged Monkey should be investigated properly and that safety measures should be taken to prevent an isolated incident like that from happening again. It was an unfortunate incident and nothing will be able to bring back the deceased. But there were a lot of factors that played a role in the shooting and the bar should not take all the blame for the incident. I also don't think it's right that the City of El Paso cancel the lease of this business because it claims that the shopping center is "first class". It is a pretty lame excuse if you ask me. They could have at least tried to site some sort of TABC regulations for wanting to close it down and not site image issues. If the Three Legged Monkey is shut down this shopping center will become like the other older shopping centers around town. The current businesses will move out to newer shopping centers to the far East Side or the West Side of El Paso where neighborhoods and business are growing. Hawkins Plaza will just turn into another of the many eyesores around town and join the list of many empty shopping centers in our area.

 I wonder what the Neighborhood Association will say then when they have a vacant shopping center with tumble weeds and trash collecting because there are no business there. I bet they won't be very happy and once again will complain to the city that something needs to be done about their neighborhood. So long story what you ask for Cielo Vista Neighborhood Association.


  1. The lamest thing about the Mayors decision is it's not even legally justifiable!

    "the intent of Hawkins Plaza, was to be a first class shopping mall and the shooting tarnishes the image and therefore may violate the lease."

    Of course a shooting tarnishes the image!!!, but if a bar cant be held liable for the shooting itself then they cant be told its their fault the the image has been "tarnished".

    John cook is a absolute joke of a mayor! If only he was as good at making his barbecue sauce as he is at making this city look bad.

  2. "First Class" and "shopping Mall" Don't go together. What he really said (read between the line) is "Strip Mall". But it's okay, because he is not a plumber either.


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