Monterey Bar Tap

Monterey Bar – All is welcome!

This very first English interview on Gritty Mag features Adie, owner of Monterey Bar since 2013. Being a Melbourne metalhead, he fell in love with the idea of owning a bar, dedicated to good beer, handmade music and the vibe of the 70s.

Let’s start easy: Why is it called Monterey Bar?

Adie: Well, Monterey was the prototype rock festival that started even before Woodstock. There were all these bands playing: Jefferson Airplane, The Who, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin etc. They just had the crazy idea to put all these artists together. Up there on the wall (points to the wall behind the music corner.) is Owsley Stanley with Jerry Garcia from The Grateful Dead. Owsley Stanley was the biggest LSD drug dealer in that time. He did all those big test parties with his new portions on hippies and students. He was a mad bastard that’s for sure. For the Monterey international pop festival he produced the Monterey Purple LSD.

Monterey Bar outside

Monterey Bar on the outside: ©Adie Sampson


Oh, so this is why all the walls in here are purple?

Adie: Maybe… just maybe. Up there is also Jimi Hendrix, tripping out a bit on “Purple haze”… I don’t know. But the legend goes that he had to toss a coin with The Who on who had to go on first, because The Who would like to smash up the stage and Jimi Hendrix would do this as well. The Who won. So Jimi Hendrix decided to set his guitar on fire to upstage them. So that inspired me. It is a bit about the American desert lifestyle.

You know, sometimes I like to listen to chilled music like right now, sometimes I listen to Slayer. I don’t care! And I love music. I used to collect music like a madman, old and new records. I guess I do that with beer now. We have got about 120 beers here.

Is this the concept of the bar, to combine really good music with really good beer?

Adie: Yeah, and old-school whisky. Just good products. You can come here and get something good. At the same time, if people want to come here and want to buy a Staropramen for 2 Euro, that’s okay, too. This is a very unpretentious bar. No one ever looks at anyone. Old dudes can come in here, hot chics can come here. I don’t care as long as they pay.

Monterey Bar inside

Monterey Bar: ©Adie Sampson

I think the combination is quite unique in Berlin. You have straight out metal bars or bars where they have a wide selection of everything. But not like this together. Have you seen anything like this before?

Adie: The bar that was in here before had a similar style. We just made it bigger. I love metal and rock and all my life I wanted to have a metal/rock bar. It’s the style I like. Of course it’s not all nice and clean. I mean look at the furniture, some of it is just ripped up. But if you don’t like it, I guess it’s not for you then.

When did you come to Berlin?

Adie: My first time was about 15 years ago. Back in the days I tried to sell drinks to all the pillheads off of a station-wagon. I went to Scotland and came back. I’ve been in Berlin continuously since 2006.

Monterey Bar crowd

Monterey Bar on the inside: ©Adie Sampson

What do you like about the scene?

(A lady walks in the bar, sees Adie and shouts out: You’re not a douche bag!) Adie: Can you put that on the interview? (laughs.) Yeah, I love going to gigs and seeing small, upcoming bands. What I like about the scene? That people still do it. What I don’t like about it? More and more venues are closing down. We don’t put live music or djs on here, because we can’t due to the neighbours. That’s a steady thing in Berlin. People tell you, you are too noisy, you can’t do that.

But people can come here and put flyers out in the bar or I post about gigs on my Facebook pages. Of course I am gonna do that! People should be trying. The appeal to sell a CD is not as strong as 20 years ago. It is more about the gigs now. I am really excited if somebody walks in here with a CD and asks me to play it actually. I´m honoured. Of course I will play it! You can listen to everything in here!

Is this something that you find different from other scenes? Because you said that you have been around a lot.

Adie: Well, a thing that I have discovered from the Techno scene that we’ve talked about earlier: You know what my fucking cringeworthy word is? “My new best friend.” How long does that last? Until you get off the drugs or until you realize you want to be somewhere else? Plus, I have never met anyone that is into Slayer or that had to have a reason to be into them. You are either into them or not. You listen to Slayer or listen to Motörhead. People just don’t say: „Oh, you know, I’ve listened to that only last summer.”

Is there a particular band from Berlin that you would recommend to listen to?

Adie: One of the guys that works here is in Suns of Thyme it is a bit psychedelic. Goshawk too. Heat are pretty awesome, too. They appeal to me. Samsara Blues Experiment is cool.

Monterey Bar purple wall2

Monterey Bar walls: ©Adie Sampson

Is there a venue where you like to see a show?

Adie: Huxley’s is awesome. It is such a big open space. I love seeing gigs there, the bars are on each side and you can also sit down if you want to. The sound is a bit better than e.g. at C-Halle. If a touring band I like is playing at Huxley’s, I am extra excited. I saw Steel Panther there some months ago. I didn’t think I would like them. They had one song that is not so famous. I think of it as a slogan. It is called “It won’t suck itself”. I want that on my tombstone!

As you are an expert on craft beer. Is there some beer from Berlin that you would recommend?

Adie: Everyone loves Rollberg or Flying Turtle. They are getting there.

Do you think there are more and more people trying out craft beer?

Adie: Well, I had a group of people coming in not long ago that were trying our card beers looking for different flavors. I thought that was pretty cool! They came to our bar, because they knew we have a good selection. It is not intimidating to anybody. My philosophy with our bar is: I like variety in music. I like variety in products. I like variety in people. I am just as happy if somebody walks in that doesn’t look like me but has short hair or is tattooed everywhere. That’s how it should be.

Can you recommend any artists from Berlin?

Adie: If you go back there (points to the back part of the bar.) there is a painting of Black Sabbath. We had a rock art design event here. There were four Berlin street artists. They did their interpretation of what they think of the bar, e.g. what they see in craft beer.

Monterey Bar purple wall1

Monterey Bar walls: ©Adie Sampson

One last question about beer: What does a good beer need to have for you?

Adie: Different flavors for different days of the week or different horses for different courses. I like beers that are light, I like a nice Pilsener – the IPAs and the Pale Ales are very popular, because they go down so easily. I like the labels on the beers, when you can get really into them. I like a wild and crazy logo. We all want something different for each guest and time of day. That’s the beauty of it. We sell a good range of beers, so we got something for everyone’s taste.

The last question: Are there any future plans? Do have any idea stuck in your head concerning the bar?

Adie: Sure, we do events. We got a basement downstairs, that I would someday like to turn into something.

That’s everything I wanted to know. Is there anything I forgot?

Adie: No, I don’t think so. All is welcome!

Thank you Adie and Monterey Bar for the nice interview in this cozy atmosphere!

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