After being unable to provide live entertainment to customers for three months, Sea Monkey Tavern & Grill received its outdoor live music permit established by the Naples City Council on Wednesday.
Sea Monkey is at the Shoppes at Dockside on Sixth Avenue South in the former spot of The Parrot Bar & Grill. The latter gained a negative reputation among nearby residents for attracting a rowdy crowd and playing loud music.
Max “Mino” Puglielli, owner of Sea Monkey, transformed the spot into a family-friendly restaurant. “For the first time in the history of this location, residents of Port Royal and communities next to it come to Sea Monkey,” Puglielli said. “That’s never happened before.”
The restaurant opened June 30 and hosted live entertainment until early September when the city received a letter of complaint stating music was played too loud and too late at night.
“This town is very political and a lot of people in this town don’t know how to do business the right and courteous way. It was a competitor that came up with the story to revoke my permit and I called them out in the hearing to make sure that everybody understood who was behind this whole thing,” the Sea Monkey owner said. “We were doing great with the live music and everybody’s loving it and people were so happy.”
City staff said no conflicts were reported from police, fire or code enforcement.
“We’re very respectful to others because we want people to enjoy the time here with their families and that’s the whole point of how I run my business, and the people that are against it were saying the total opposite,” Puglielli said.
Ryanne Curnow, a local artist and musician who previously performed at Sea Monkey, wants the image of The Parrot that some locals are bringing to Puglielli’s restaurant to be a thought of the past. “I hope that as we move forward, that reputation can be severed from what currently exists because it is not the same owner. Max has gone in and completely rebuilt the entire inside, bringing it all up to code and standards,” she said.
Curnow, who also designs art for the restaurant, said the lack of live entertainment is hurting the Shoppes at Dockside’s business.
“I can’t impose strongly enough how important it is to have live music. It brings people together,” Curnow said. “Since the live music has been gone, as I’ve been working on the art that has been approved there, it has drastically changed the foot traffic there. It has been a very negative impact on that building.”
Puglielli sees the importance of supporting Southwest Florida artists through the allowance of live music in restaurants, especially as many beachside businesses are now closed since Hurricane Ian.
“Musicians are people who have lost a lot of things,” Puglielli said. “They don’t have many places to play because there’s so much restriction here and this was actually providing a paycheck for them as well. I got a call from somebody who has performed for me before, but his main fandom and where he plays most was Fort Myers Beach, and there’s absolutely nowhere to play over there.”
With a music-related college degree, Puglielli is passionate about the positive effects of listening to music. “Music has that tremendous power of being able to take away your inhibitions and solitude and just have fun,” Puglielli said.
City Council unanimously supported Sea Monkey & Tavern, establishing an outdoor live entertainment permit.
“We’re all very grateful for the for the City Council for stepping up and allowing us to do this because that’s something very important to all of us, and they recognize that, there was a unanimous vote,” Puglielli said. “It usually doesn’t happen that way. But it was unanimous, and they understood the value and the importance of having something like this based on not only what I said, but also the people who came and supported what we were trying to get approved.”
The restaurant will be allowed to have live entertainment from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursdays, from 7 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 3 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. Sundays. Puglielli plans to begin live entertainment Nov. 25.
“There’s a lot of things that live music does. It supports musicians, it supports families that work at the event, it lifts the spirits of families that come visit,” Puglielli said. “We live in a beach town, and we don’t have anything like this.”