After a rancorous fight with her landlord, Hot Monkey Love Café owner Alma Felan says her seven-night-a-week, all-age music venue has signed a lease for a new building. Hot Monkey Love will be moving out of its 2000-square-foot space on El Cajon Boulevard for a new home at a 4000-square-foot building down the street.
Although she said she had signed a long-term lease last week, she did not want to disclose the new address except to say that it is near SDSU.
Hot Monkey Love has been at its current location for almost four years. Its last day there will be June 30. Felan said she hopes to open up the new venue by mid-July.
Felan and Hot Monkey Love endured three years of litigation over property easement issues with her landlord, the Alliance for African Assistance, which is headquartered next door.
Felan's attorney, Sandy Troy, claimed the Alliance would hang a chain across a driveway, making it impossible for Hot Monkey customers to leave. He said bolt cutters had to be used to allow them to leave. Troy also maintained the Alliance would harass Hot Monkey's clientele by taking photos of them.
Felan lost a court case with the Alliance earlier this year and was told Hot Monkey would have to vacate.
At the time Felan lost the case, she said this about Alliance executive director Walter Lam: "He knows how to beat the system." She said he would "blame the café for every single issue that was happening on El Cajon Boulevard."
Felan is now less bitter. She says she wishes Lam and the Alliance "the best. I don't want to have any bad karma."
Felan said she heard from other sources that the Alliance had a change of heart and in fact wanted Hot Monkey to stay. "But I am not staying. I don't want to give them any more money."
Alma said in spite of the court battle, she is happy with the resolution. "This forced our business to grow and make it better. We had a lot of great memories [at the current location]. A lot of great moments."
A call to Lam was not returned.
Hot Monkey Love has a live performance or a DJ seven nights a week. Jazz, rock, salsa, and reggae bands are given their own night of the week.