Monk's Bar was started in 1947 by Gustave Adolph Heineke and his wife, Helen, on Oak Street, just half a block from its current downtown location. The original menu consisted of a 1/4 lb. hamburger, 1/4 lb. cheeseburger, ham & cheese sandwich, liver sausage on rye, chips, chili and bean soup.
Around 1962, Monk's moved to its current location and the interior became a shrine of Badger memorabilia, due to the fact that Monk and Helen’s sons, Jim and John, were very successful athletes and excelled playing football at University of Wisconsin-Madison for the Badgers. Included in the memorabilia are autographed photos from Jim and John’s teammates through the years of 1952-1958. The bar has since added contemporary Badger and Packer memorabilia.