Laughing Monk looks to expand entertainment

By Michael Coughlin Jr. 

In its final meeting of 2023 on December 20th, the Community Alliance of Mission Hill (CAMH) hosted representatives from the Laughing Monk Cafe who are looking to have live entertainment at the establishment a few nights a week after 10:30 P.M.

In the past year, representatives from the Laughing Monk Cafe requested the support of CAMH for a then-proposed expansion of the establishment into an adjacent vacant space. According to Attorney Kristen Scanlon, the expanded area is now close to opening. 

Scanlon further explained that the Laughing Monk would like to expand its entertainment options in connection with its physical expansion. 

“By right, what they can offer is live entertainment before 10:30 P.M., but what they’ve done is applied to be able to host live entertainment after 10:30 P.M., which requires a conditional use permit from the city,” said Scanlon. 

“While they seek live entertainment seven days a week, it most likely will be Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. The plan is typically for one-man shows, maybe every so often a very small band,” she added. 

Pae Worachina, Laughing Monk Cafe’s General Manager, also attended the meeting and expanded on the proposal. Specifically, Worachina talked about the potential for students in the area to be involved with the expanded entertainment, among other aspects of the plan. 

Following the brief presentation, the proposal was opened up for questions. One attendee had asked about the plans for soundproofing since the building is mixed-use with residential units above. 

Scanlon responded, indicating that the landlord is “aware and supportive of the request” and that renovations are going on with the residential units, meaning most tenants are currently out of the building.

“I can get the details from the landlord and from our architect — what’s been done — but I know that they’ll take steps and efforts as well to mitigate any emanation of sound — I mean, like I said, it’s going to be easy going — no big rock band or anything like that,” said Scanlon. 

Another attendee had asked if the kitchen would be open later, with the expanded entertainment hours, to which Worachina explained that there would be something like a late-night menu. 

In addition to questions, attendees had some kind words for the cafe that has been a staple in the neighborhood and even won the Mission Hill Main Street Business of the Year award back in 2018. 

“This is the type of business that we want to support in the neighborhood. They have shown to be an incredible asset, an incredible operator, and just something that folks want to be a part of. So I would highly support this and ask other folks to do the same,” said one attendee. 

“We’ve been very lucky and blessed with great businesses like Laughing Monk coming to the neighborhood. It really adds to the character of the neighborhood,” said another attendee. 

While there was some support for the proposal, since this was the first presentation, a vote on the subject was not held and will be held at a future CAMH meeting.

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