Golden Monkey Lounge to open, 58 South Street

By Zander Frost, Chronicle Staff Writer

Business partners Gregg Singer and Larissa Ovitt said their Golden Monkey Lounge at 58 South Street will “soft-open” Friday, October 20.

The duo purchased the building for $325,000 in February and said they’ve invested around $100,000 to create an “elevated cocktail lounge”

Most recently, the space was home to Glens Falls Bagels.

“We’re scotch, gin, rum forward. There’s a little bit of an Indian, Caribbean vibe,” said Ms. Ovitt.

Gregg Singer is here by way of Saratoga and New York City. Larissa Ovitt is a Lake George High grad. They’ve become business partners. Chronicle photo/Zander Frost

“Sharable plates” is the food focus. “We’re taking very basic foods, for example, olives, eggs, cheeses, things that you would have at a party, and raising the experience,” Ms. Ovitt said.

Mr. Singer said, “We want people to focus on socializing, playing a game on a table, eating some food together, trying a drink. You’re not coming here to get a really expensive cocktail at a fancy wine place, or play pool and watch a game. It’s a different feel, and we’re pushing people to try different drinks, different food types.”

The partners say they have a “vision” for their building and South Street. The said the city sees it as the “event block.” The new Market Center building is planned across the street.

They’ve leased the former Irish Pizza space to Taco Kings Jalisco, opening Monday, Oct. 16. Mexico City native Juan Ramirez, 30, will serve breakfast burritos and tacos, 10 to 9.

Upstairs, Mr. Ovitt and Mr. Singer plan four luxury rentals. “They’re going to run short-term kind of like a boutique hotel, be able to order room service from down here,” Ms. Ovitt said.

Next door, a tenant plans an eco-friendly “refillery.”

The lounge seats 43 to 50 inside.

James Humphries, who tends bar at Downtown Social’s The Bourbon Room, is “consulting” with cocktail design.

There’s a rear patio that they plan to have partially open this year.

“We have a little fire pit thing,” Mr. Singer said. “People want to sit out there, they’re not afraid of the weather.”

“By the time they are afraid of the weather, we want to have an ice bar situation at some point this winter,” added Ms. Ovitt.

The partners say they’ve done most of the work themselves. Structurally, the space is same, and the bar is still there.

But, “aesthetically everything is different,” Mr. Singer said, including the walls, lighting, bar back, an entirely new kitchen, plus a new sprinkler system.

Ms. Ovitt graduated from Lake George High School. Mr. Singer moved up to the Saratoga area from New York City.

They met after Mr. Singer’s sister stayed in one of Ms. Ovitt’s rentals in Saratoga and introduced them.

“It was like we recognized each other. We’re like long lost brother and sister,” Ms. Ovitt said. “We’ve just been stuck with each other since.”

They’ve partnered in six short-term rental units, but this is their first mixed use building.

Ms. Ovitt said, “I grew up here. My family has had businesses on the street for the past 20 something years, I’ve watched the evolution here. I don’t have any doubt in my mind that the people that live in this community are ready for people to invest in this community and show that they care again.

“We’re ready for something new, ready for places to walk, things to do. Not all just the same old stuff. As soon as we saw this building was available, it was really a no-brainer.”

The duo say they were raised by entrepreneurs and are entrepreneurial to their cores. “I’ve got a varied background, she has a varied background, and it sort of allows you to be nimble,” Mr. Singer said.

For example, they’ve both worked in recording studios, which they say enabled Mr. Singer to design a custom sound system “to complement conversation.”

“You go to a lot of places, and it’s awesome to sit with friends and talk to catch up or whatever, but you can’t really hear each other very well,” said Ms. Ovitt.

The lounge will be open Friday-Tuesday, 5 p.m. to midnight, kitchen closing at 11.

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