Decatur coffeehouse Java Monkey isn’t reopening, according to Decaturish. Java Monkey has remained closed since November after sustaining serious damage from a fire apparently set by former employee Rickey Thomas. Thomas was arrested and jailed in April and faces first degree arson charges.
The opening of chef Terry Koval’s B-Side Cafe across the street and longtime Java Monkey patrons unhappy with changes made by the new owner prior to the fire were cited as contributing factors for the closure.
Java Monkey opened 25 years ago on Church Street in downtown Decatur. The shop regularly hosted spoken word artists and poetry slams and was a hub for poetry readings and events during the Decatur Book Festival, held annually over Labor Day weekend.
Java Monkey’s weekly poetry open mic night, Java Speaks, is now held nearby at Ammazza pizzeria on East Howard Avenue at 8 p.m. on Sunday evenings.