Melbourne vegan café that charged men 18 percent surcharge to reflect the pay gap closes down

Melbourne vegan café that charged men 18 percent surcharge to reflect the pay gap closes down
Photo credit: Facebook/ Handsome Her

A "woke" vegan café in Melbourne's trendy suburb of Brunswick says it will be closing down.

Handsome Her, a café advertised as a safe space for women and lesbians, made headlines in 2017 when owner Alexandra O'Brien announced a controversial business plan.

One week every month, Handsome Her charged men 18 percent more than women. The excess charge was donated to women's charity.

The café also prioritised seating women before men during this week.

However, the vegan eatery has announced it will close on April 28, after just two years of business.

"When we opened Handsome Her in 2018, we expected that perhaps we might make a stir through our brazen and public discussions of structural inequality," the café announced on Facebook.

"The man tax blew up the internet, an idea we didn't think was too radical and yet the way the world responded showed us how fragile masculinity is and solidified the necessity for us to confront and dismantle patriarchy," the post continued.

"While it is a shame to lose the physical space (and we understand how essential it is for women and lesbians to hold space), we leave knowing that the communities we have made transcend the trendy vegan café on Sydney Rd, Brunswick."

Men's rights activists were overjoyed at the news.

"Get woke go broke!" Men's Rights Australia posted on Twitter.

"By making your male customers pay more for just being male, you ended up paying the ultimate price..suck s#$t!" wrote another person.

"Oh good, hopefully the owners are unemployed for a long time," said another.

However, others are mourning the loss of what they say was a great addition to the community.

"You guys created such an important space for me and my daughters, and a safe space for me to imagine a different world. Well done and good luck - we'll miss you," wrote one woman on the café's Facebook.

"I am saddened by this news. I loved visiting your cafe and its friendly staff. You will be missed,"

The café will offer a pay as you feel scheme for its final day of business from 3pm until stock runs out.

The proceeds will all be donated to a charity that protects Nepali women from domestic violence, sex trafficking, child labour and exploitation.