Cuties, Los Angeles’ only queer focused coffee shop, has closed permanently due to the stresses of COVID-19.
The East Hollywood coffee and espresso bar, which opened in July 2017, had been closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, but still hosted virtual events for the community, particularly for queer and transgender people of color: a meditation group, a book club, and relaxing techniques.
Cuties also was a safe space for people who are gender nonconforming.
Former owner and CEO Virginia Bauman said on social media Friday that Cuties’ will not re-open. All events and activities will remain online.
Bauman, who identifies as a transgender woman, also said that general manager Sasha Jones is the organization’s new CEO. Bauman has no ownership or equity in Cuties. Bauman said that Cuties’ mission as an organization is to “center belonging. We have always attempted to create an infrastructure that supports acceptance for folks in this community, as best we can through many imperfect vehicles. A break-even coffee shop used to be our main vehicle.”
Cuties didn’t generate enough revenue to pay for their Heliotrope Drive location, just off Melrose Avenue near Los Angeles City College. They’ve been accumulating debt to their landlord, hoping that they would re-open later and pay the debt down over time.
According to Bauman the keys were returned to the landlord on August 1st.