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Two Edinburgh based friends have raised thousands in order to bring a vibrant sober queer cafe to the city.

Oskar Hansen and Zak Riding aim to create a fun, creative and welcoming space for the LGBTQ+ community in the heart of the capital.

Oskar, 25, and Zak, 24, recently became co-managers and owners of the Greenwood shop and cafe in the Fountainbridge area of the city and have since raised over £5800 to transform the space.

The plan would be a first-of-its-kind for Edinburgh, where most venues are predominantly alcohol related.

The idea came together after Zak and Oskar discussed the lack of specifically non-alcohol orientated spaces for queer people in the city.

Those who do not wish to drink alcohol may find themselves excluded from Edinburgh’s nightclub scene.

It is also hoped the new cafe, which will also be a tasty eatery, could be a popular venue for those under the age of 18.

Zak, who currently runs an online joke shop and works as a DJ said: “We just knew that Edinburgh didn’t have a safe, sober space like this and was in real need of one – so we thought ‘let’s give it a go’ when the current owner of the Greenwood, Polly, put a post up online saying she was selling the business.”

Buisness partner Oskar works as a drag artist Mystika Glamoor with a show GLAMOOR at Edinburgh’s The Street nightclub.

They said: “We had been talking for a while about how there is a lack of specifically queer-friendly, sober spaces in town for queer people to meet-up and partake in a variety of activities.

“Then we saw on social media that the Greenwood was available for new management, and leaped on the opportunity.”

Zak and Oskar say they immediately fell in love with the space and saw it’s potential as a social, vibrant hub.

Over the next few months they aim to transform the area into a cosy and artistic centre where people can enjoy a warm drink and participate in creative activities.

There will also be shelves selling local queer artists’ and writers’ work and a vegan food menu.


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