Sea Monkey Tavern & Grill brings back live entertainment –

After being unable to provide live entertainment to its customers for three months, Sea Monkey Tavern & Grill on Wednesday received live outdoor music approval from Naples City Council.

Sea Monkey is located in the Shoppes at Dockside on Sixth Avenue South on the former site of The Parrot Bar & Grill. The latter gained a negative reputation from nearby residents for attracting a rowdy crowd and playing loud music.

Max “Mino” Puglielli, owner of Sea Monkey, transformed the place into a family-friendly restaurant. “For the first time in the history of this place, residents of Port Royal and the adjacent communities are coming to Sea Monkey,” said Puglielli. “It’s never happened before.”

The restaurant opened on June 30 and hosted live entertainment until early September, when the city received a letter of complaint saying music was being played too loud and late at night.

“This city is very political and a lot of people in this city don’t know how to do business properly and politely. It was a competitor who made up the story to have my license revoked, and I called them at the hearing to make sure everyone understood who was behind this whole thing,” Sea Monkey’s owner said. “We did the live music great and everyone loves it and people were so happy.”

City officials said there were no reported conflicts from police, fire departments or code enforcement.

“We’re very respectful of others because we want people to enjoy time here with their families and that’s the whole point of the way I run my business and people who are against it said the exact opposite,” said Puglielli.

Ryanne Curnow, a local artist and musician who has previously performed at the Sea Monkey, wants the image of The Parrot some locals bring to Puglielli’s restaurant to be a thought of the past. “I hope that as we move forward this reputation can be separated from what currently exists as it is not the same owner. Max went in and completely remodeled the entire interior, bringing everything up to code and standards,” she said.

Curnow, who also creates art for the restaurant, said the lack of live entertainment hurts shoppes at Dockside’s store.

“I can’t stress enough how important live music is. It brings people together,” Curnow said. “Since the live music went away as I worked on the sanctioned art there, the foot traffic there has changed drastically. It has had a very negative impact on this building.”

Puglielli sees the importance of supporting Southwest Florida artists by allowing live music in restaurants, especially since many beachfront businesses have been closed since Hurricane Ian.

“Musicians are people who have lost a lot,” said Puglielli. “They don’t have a lot of places to play because there are so many restrictions here and that was actually a paycheck for them too. I got a call from someone who has performed for me before but his main fandom and where he plays most often was Fort Myers Beach and there is absolutely no place to play over there.”

With a music-related college degree, Puglielli is passionate about the positive effects of listening to music. “Music has this tremendous power to take away inhibitions and loneliness and just have fun,” Puglielli said.

The City Council unanimously supported Sea Monkey & Tavern in establishing a permit for outdoor live entertainment.

“We are all very grateful to the City Council for stepping up and allowing us to do this because this is something very important to all of us and they recognize that there was a unanimous vote,” Puglielli said. “It doesn’t usually happen. But it was unanimous and they understood the value and importance of having something like this based not only on what I said but also on the people who came and supported what we were trying to get approved.”

The restaurant is allowed to host live entertainment Thursdays from 6pm to 8pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 7pm to 10pm, and Sundays from 12pm to 3pm and 5pm to 8pm. Puglielli plans to start live entertainment on November 25th.

“There are many things that live music does. It supports musicians, it supports families who work at the event, it lifts the spirits of families who come to visit,” Puglielli said. “We live in a beach town and we don’t have anything like that.”

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