Wicked Grounds, SF’s Kinkiest Cafe, is Closing
Wicked Grounds Café & Boutique became the latest victim of SOMA gentrification when it announced Sunday morning, that it will be going out of business. It will be open for limited service Monday and Tuesday from 2pm-10pm and then closes its doors for good.
The SOMA cafe has been a meet up spot, community center and general hub of the kink community in SOMA for 9 years. It has been a labor of love for multiple owners, including founders Ryan Galliotto and Rose White, and current owner Mir Bilodau, and went through several rounds of funding requests to save the business via Indigogo, Patreon and VIP programs.
Bilodau shared their thoughts on facebook that it was time to let Wicked Grounds go, “No heroics. No ‘let’s put on a show’. No post-mortems right now. No fundraisers for something that will ultimately just need one again and again. Please for the love of all that is good and holy, do not try to acquire the cafe. There are a string of owners who have all given this space everything we have until there’s nothing left. I trust in the vision, resourcefulness and hustle of every Wicked Grounds team over the years (including my own set of rock stars). I cannot in good conscience recommend anyone else go down that path.”
Galliotto reiterated, “Thank you to everyone who shared the dream, who sweat and who bought. We are all better for knowing you. It is sad that those doors are closing, but now it’s time to dream the next dream.”
This didn’t stop loyal customers from posting online hoping for one last gasp, including calls for a community consortium akin to the one that saved the Stud. Ultimately, most chose to remember and mourn. Sunday evening the cafe was full of regulars who had come in for one last coffee, to share memories and scrawl notes of love on the windows. It was a safe space for so many people to find support, have a first date, join a kink munch or just hang out knowing a friend would walk in any minute.
Wicked Ground has not only been a business, but an integral part of the kink community with events like the Inauguration Day safe space, where they stayed open all day serving free coffee to anyone who needed it. They had an ongoing support coffee program to ensure even those without the cash could get a cup and have a safe place to be themselves. They hosted countless meetups and kink education programs, including events from the Bay Area Rope Club, the Kinky Business Alliance, discussion groups for introverts, and simple game nights. (It was even the occasional work spot for Broke-Ass Stuart’s mayoral campaign). The 40+ events hosted every month a Wicked Ground will be looking for a new home, along with the troupe of dedicated baristas and food servers now looking for work.
Late Sunday, Mir could be overheard behind the counter, lamenting to a long-time customer – “I’m not crying, you’re crying” as tears flowed along with the last of the coffee.
Wicked Grounds will not easily be replaced.