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Batch XXXVI. Schwarzwald, Sunday February 05, 2023 NO. 47
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The Affenbar

Table-Dancing Monkeys

Monkey 47 was not yet around in the late 1960s, which is a shame because it would have been totally at home in the “Affenbar” in the small Black Forest village of Adelshausen on the Swiss border.

From 1968 to 1971, customers were able to marvel at real-life relatives of the monkey depicted on the Monkey 47 logo. Two capuchin monkeys and several other exotic animals lived in the bar. For animal welfare reasons, this is simply inconceivable now – and rightly so. But this was back in the days when Dean Martin could be seen sipping a mixed gin martini on TV. The bars were so full of cigarette smoke that you could only see your glass through a thick haze in the dimly lit room. But people just didn’t worry about things like that. They found this “zoological bar” a real attraction, and even the great Fritz Walter was served here and had photographs taken of him with a monkey on his arm. Thea Hüglin has run the “Dinkelberger Hof” for about 20 years and she still lives above the restaurant.

In 1968, she acquired the village pub with her husband, Hans Hüglin, who was a builder by trade and frequented the bars of southern Baden as a musician in his spare time. He was a man who could create a real atmosphere wherever he went, as Thea Hüglin fondly remembers. He also traveled the world, including Hong Kong and Bangkok in 1967. It was here that he purchased items to turn a longstanding idea of his into reality. From that point on, Asian lamps and carved Buddha statues characterized the style of the “Hong Kong Bar”, as Hüglin christened his first pub. This in itself was worth a visit. But the real attraction was the animals, which is why everyone referred to it simply as the “Monkey Bar.” If you walked past the counter, you went into a second room, where customers could sit on upholstered furniture around a low terrarium table that housed several iguanas. Part of the room was partitioned off by a glass screen, behind which two small capuchin monkeys and exotic birds – including two colorful macaws – lived, separated by wire netting. However, the number of birds dwindled continuously, as Thea Hüglin explains. Every so often, the monkeys managed to grab one through the netting, which ultimately signified the end of the twittering creatures. Otherwise, though, the monkeys were very tame, adds the landlady.

“The bar was packed every weekend,” the two sons, Gerd and Theo, remember. They’re particularly proud of one famous guest: The captain of the victorious German national soccer team at the 1954 World Cup in Bern, Switzerland, Fritz Walter came to visit in June 1968 and was amazed by the place. He’d never seen anything like it in his life.

By 1971, all the animals were gone. The iguanas had died, the birds were killed by the monkeys, and one of the monkeys had been given away. The second one ate its way through the plasterboard ceiling and disappeared. For several weeks, it was spotted in and around Adelshausen but nobody could catch it. Under subsequent owners, the bar began to lose its nickname until, in 2006, it finally closed. The sons describe how the monkey bar very nearly became an even bigger sensation as their father received an offer for a gorilla from Switzerland. However, customs red tape ensured that the creature never made it to Adelshausen. Which may well have been good news for everyone involved.

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