Greg Perez, co-owner and beverage director at Monkey’s Tail, grew up in Lindale Park, where his bar is located, so it’s only natural that his menu is heavy on nostalgia for his youth. And one of the things Perez best remembers from those bygone days is kids sucking down drinks from pouches—both “that refreshing and tangy taste that I got out of a Capri Sun when I drank it at recess,” he says, and the bags full of soda popular with children in Mexico.
This was the inspiration for his No … Pos Ta Cabron—rough translation: “no, this isn’t a good situation”—made from West Cork Irish Whiskey, Greenbar Distillery Grand Hops Amaro, orange and lime juice, and mango syrup infused with guajillo chiles and dried chervil, served in an adult-size pouch. It’s a tropical, sweet, tart concoction guaranteed to make you feel like a kid again, and the perfect signature cocktail for Monkey’s Tail, which pays homage to Perez’s upbringing as a Mexican American growing up in the neighborhood just across I-45 from the Heights.
Perez, who previously worked at Calle Onze and opened Monkey’s Tail in July with Helen Greek’s Sharif El Amin and chef Steven Ripley, grew up on both his mom’s homemade enchiladas and Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s, and other American fast food. As an adult he appreciates both a cooler full of Mexican beer and a $10 craft cocktail.
There’s a little bit of all of that at his bar, where patrons can order $2 Miller High Life pony bottles and $16 buckets of Tecate, or try specialty cocktails like a rum-based number that tastes like a boozy tres leches. Add to that the bar’s Feliz Meals—pizza, burger, hot dog, or wings with a beer and a shot for $8—along with lively game-watching parties, a playlist fit for a quinceañera, and a laid-back patio scene, and you’ve got a super-fun bar that perfectly captures Perez's experience growing up here in the 1990s and 2000s.
“There’s really nothing that caters to that first-generation and second-generation market of Mexican people here in Houston,” says Perez. “All the Hispanic places are clubs, but me, coming from the cocktail realm, I wanted something that was a little more balanced.”