Queer cafe closes after less than a year in SLO. ‘We gave our sleep, blood, sweat and tears’

Queer cafe closes after less than a year in SLO. ‘We gave our sleep, blood, sweat and tears’

An all-ages queer cafe has shut its doors “indefinitely” after less than a year in business in San Luis Obispo, the owners announced Monday.

Platypus Cafe opened at 1901 Broad St., formerly home to Broad Street Giant Grinder Shop, in late 2023.

“We gave our sleep, blood, sweat and tears to get these doors open for our community. We wanted this to work more than any of you could ever know,” read a sign posted on the door of Platypus Cafe. “Unfortunately due to low sales and now the impact of our personal lives, we have to close our doors indefinitely.”

Owners Shari Rubino and Karen Pike also owned the recently closed Skipper’s Brew Coffee House in San Luis Obispo.

Prior to opening Platypus Cafe, the pair told The Tribune that they were inspired to start the restaurant after noticing the lack of local spaces for queer-identifying people to gather and enjoy community.

“There isn’t really a place where queer people can sit down and meet with friends for lunch or a drink,” Rubino said at the time. “It is amazing that everything is much more inclusive nowadays, but our community needs a space to go to just be themselves.”

Why is SLO restaurant closing?

According to the sign posted on the door Monday, the business faced a number of challenges, including struggling sales.

“While we thought our several months of reserve was enough to get us to warmer months to fully enjoy our amazing patio, the truth is that everything — we mean everything — continues to cost nearly 3 (times) more than expected: from build-out to operations,” the sign read.

In addition, Pike had to go home to Australia “to tend to some family needs,” the sign said.

In its closure announcement, the Platypus owners thanked their customers and fans.

“For those who had the pleasure of being part of our quickly made family and our ‘word-of-mouth ambassadors,’ we thank you for your love, laughter and loyalty,” the sign read. “We were just getting started.”

Platypus Cafe holds wine, beer sale

Platypus Cafe will host a “booze buyout” on Friday and Saturday, according to a post on its Instagram page.

All wines will be available for 50% by the glass and 60% for grab-and-go bottles. Beers will be on sale for $4 with 50% off grab-and-go cans and other inventory items will also be discounted.

The buyout event will feature a $10 all-you-can-eat charcuterie board with fairy bread bites and other Australian treats, according to the post.