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Turning a comedy club into a family-friendly venue

Monkey Barrel Comedy is one of Edinburgh's newest family-friendly eateries. It offers top stand-up comedy by night, but by day it has started to welcome all ages into its café. We asked one of the owners - a dad of two under 5s - how he went about launching this exciting new venue.

For the past year, I’ve been one of the owner/managers of Monkey Barrel Comedy, situated just off the Royal Mile. It's been one rollercoaster of a journey, with many new things to learn. It's a far cry from my previous life in financial services!

We put a lot of work into renovating the building, working with residents, planners and technical specialists to create a safe and socially responsible venue. Whilst we’re open 6 nights a week with an ever-changing line up of comedians and performers, we were keen to ensure this large space in the centre of town was more than just an evening venue for adults.

In the new year, we opened as a café though the day. There are definitely some challenges in doing both. For example, you can't see all of our goodies, such a cakes and things, through the window from the road, because the bar and room that hosts the comedy have to be quite contained. So we decided to put a screen in the window showing passersby some photos of what we have to offer. Equally, we’ve worked with the fixed vintage velvet theatre seats to create a play area with toys and books for the kids to enjoy.

As dad to two under 5s, I hope I have a reasonable view of how we can look after our younger visitors! We have a child-friendly menu, and we aim to keep the fussiest eaters happy. We designed the toilet layout from scratch so we factored in a spacious baby change, and we supply nappies, wipes and bags having been occasionally caught out ourselves! We’re starting to plan family-friendly daytime events now too. So watch this space, and if you have any suggestions, please get in touch!

Please check the café Facebook page for the latest opening hours.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/monkeybarrelcafe/

Email: café@monkeybarrelcomedy.com

Website: http://www.monkeybarrelcomedy.com

Twitter: @BarrelComedy