The Brass Monkey is a new pub house located on the waterfront in downtown Corvallis. The pub is owned by Morgan Orr, a woman connected with multiple bars in Corvallis over the years, including the former Cloud and Kelly’s pub and its previous neighbor, The Downward Dog. Orr’s new pub now occupies the space that was formerly The Downward Dog.
On Thursday, May 23, The Brass Monkey had its soft opening for the public. The space includes unique wall decorations, ranging from photos of Orr’s family to decorations from her home. Banners from Thailand, a painting from Kenya, and delicate shadow box art from Orr’s connection at Interzone on Monroe Avenue also line the walls to give depth and culture.
“The whole community living room thing,” Orr said about defining the establishment. The pub’s theme of being a living room is furthered with their slogan of “Come get cozy” directly on their signs and with lounge chairs in the space for customers to relax in.
“Cloud and Kelly’s was a public house. People keep asking is The Brass Monkey a bar? Is it a restaurant? Pub is a great word.”
Orr and one of her bartenders who is also a long time coworker in Eric Crew both worked together at the location while it was still The Downward Dog. Crew talked about the ways Orr has maintained some of the aspects of The Downward Dog to continue its traditions.
The Downward Dog originally included a Whiskey Club that is being continued. After sampling nearly 60 whiskeys, scotches, and bourbons, those who complete the task over their own timeline will receive a tshirt, giftcard, and their name on the Whiskey club plaque.
The Brass Monkey menu also includes an homage to the whiskey heritage with whiskey-based cocktails. Additionally, their menu features several signature cocktails from The Downward Dog’s menu and bartenders can still make other cocktails from the previous menu upon request.
“It’s different than The Downward Dog but it retains a lot of the soul here,” Crew said. “Like a lot of the regulars still come here, that didn’t really change. It’s still a late night bar. A lot of industry people come here when they get off.”
The Brass Monkey is a dream come true for Orr. The pub is an opportunity for her to explore her own creativity and inspiration on her own terms while serving the community she has been a part of for many years and cares deeply about.
Orr emphasized the importance of local food and the unique offerings they are able to have from her head chef Dan Clark’s inspiration. Trained in French cuisine, Clark’s skill set has produced a meatloaf with a beurre-blanc barbecue sauce. Clark also often attends the local markets on the waterfront to buy local ingredients to inspire their dishes.
The Brass Monkey has further community connections by having local musicians in the space to entertain customers and advertise for other local music opportunities. Portland violist Kenji Bunch performed in the space for customers in mid-June as a promotion for the Chintimini Chamber Music Festival.
Orr recognized the privilege and relationships from her family and the community that have brought her to the opportunity to fulfill this dream. She mentioned her parents do not pay for dinner in the space as they have supported her growing up. She noted the aspect of growth and identifying ways to continue to make yourself better.
A sign proclaiming acceptance for all identities and showing support no matter race, religion, country of origin, sexual orientation, gender or ability sits in the front window. The sign was a gift from Orr’s brother and she stands by its philosophy for The Brass Monkey and the other bars she has worked with in the area.
Orr’s other emphasis was the community of individuals who she has worked with from her time at Cloud and Kelly’s up until now. From involvement in birthday parties to weddings to hand-me-downs of clothes to friends’ children, the community she has built is what made her dream possible and has become family.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to offer this to the community,” Orr said. “This band of misfit toys gets to do it our way now. It’s cool when you get the groove of your dream.”
The Brass Monkey is located at 130 SW 1st St in downtown Corvallis and is open for all patrons from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. The pub is only open to those 21 and over until 12 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday and until 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.