The demise of this Toronto coffee shop is easy to joke about, but counterculture can be a seriously profitable business
By Bill Saporito, May 16, 2023
If you ordered a white mocha frappuccino with hazelnut syrup from a self-described anti-capitalist coffee shop called the Anarchist Café, could you ever really expect to get what you wanted? Wouldn’t it be reasonable to expect the barista to serve you whatever the hell she chose? Bet you could never get a café au laissez faire.
Irony was always going to be on the menu at the Anarchist Café in Toronto. Especially when the founder announced that the shop was closing for a very capitalist reason: Anarchist Café might have been making a statement, but it wasn’t making a profit.
Nor could owner Gabriel Sime-Fewer find any capitalists to capitalize his anti-capitalist salon, where patrons could also find “radical books, art, stickers, jewelry, clothing, and tote bags.” Announcing the closure, Sime-Fewer wrote on Anarchist’s website: “Unfortunately, the lack of generational wealth/seed capital from ethically bankrupt sources left me unable to weather the quiet winter season, or to grow in the ways needed to be sustainable longer-term.”