It’s around noon when I arrive in downtown Decatur. The Java Monkey is smaller than I expected, but then again, I’ve never really ever been to a coffee shop so it’s not like I had a lot to go off from to begin with. As I walk in the first thing I notice is how little electrical lighting there is. The few hanging lights from the ceiling offer only a soft hew of yellow in terms of lighting; the rest of the job is left to the natural light that flows in mainly from the door itself and the two big windows which are present within the first section of the coffee shop. “It’s cozy,” is the first thing that pops into my head. As I look around and do a closer inspection I can see why I would think so. The shop’s color choices are all of a darker shade. The floor is made up of a dark brown laminated wood while the ceiling grid above consists of black tiles instead of your typical white. Even the color of the walls, which is already covered halfway up by a dark brown colored wall mold, is a darker shade with a dirty textured orange paint being the brightest color in the whole store. The layout of the store is more or less a big L with the shorter part being where the bar is located. The seating seems to be arranged in randomness, meaning, they put a chair and table wherever there was an empty spaced that didn’t block your path to walk. In the corners where a couple couches, lending even more to the overall mood of coziness. I ordered my coffee and sat down at the nearest table. As I looked around at the people around me, I noticed that they were either doing one of two things; socializing with friends or completely secluded in their work on a laptop. A little tight but not uncomfortable, I pulled out my own laptop to record my thoughts and do a little research on the place.
Built in 1993, the Java Monkey has become a Decatur fixture that seems to attract those with a poetic and artistic leaning (sure enough I spotted a someone using a typewriter in the back). According to their workers, the shop often plays host to a variety of slam poem and open mic events, while also putting on shows by a number of local musical artists. Thinking about it, it makes sense that this little coffee shopped has done so well to make a name for itself, located right across the street from the Decatur MARTA Station and multiple public parking lots, it is an easily accessible local to the those who wish to visit, even if they don’t live around the vicinity. On top of this, its funky décor and cozy tone make for an excellent place to socialize and it is my belief that the way the Java Monkey got its name out there was through word of mouth in the hipster/Decatur community, be it actual face-to-face convos or reviews on yelp.com (as I found out through some research). Before I realized, time had gotten the better of me and it was time for me to leave or risk being stuck in the purgatory that is Atlanta traffic. With a friendly smile, I thanked the staff for their service and joyful demeanor and was on my way.