Pink Peacock

Coordinates: 55°50′09″N 4°15′54″W / 55.8357°N 4.2649°W / 55.8357; -4.2649
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Pink Peacock
די ראָזעווע פּאַווע
Formation2019; 4 years ago (2019)
  • Morgan Holleb
  • Joe Isaac
Dissolved14 June 2023; 3 months ago (2023-06-14)
PurposePay-what-you-can queer Yiddish anarchist cafe
Coordinates55°50′09″N 4°15′54″W / 55.8357°N 4.2649°W / 55.8357; -4.2649

Pink Peacock (Yiddish: די ראָזעווע פּאַווע‎, Di Rozeve Pave) was a café and infoshop in the Govanhill area of Glasgow. Described by its founders as "anti-Zionist" and "the only queer Yiddish anarchist vegan pay-what-you-can café in the world",[1] it opened physically in 2021, after being delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and announced its closure in June 2023.[2]


dim room with chandelier, drapery, and small tables
Café interior in November 2021

Pink Peacock was founded by Morgan Holleb and Joe Isaac,[3] both active participants in Irn-Ju, a Jewish anarchist collective in Scotland. The founders formed plans to open a queer and Yiddish café in 2019. They chose the name Pink Peacock, or די ראָזעווע פּאַווע (di rozeve pave) in Yiddish, after the golden peacock that is a traditional Yiddish symbol. They were motivated by the lack of queer and Jewish spaces in Govanhill, and the lack of Yiddish spaces in Scotland;[1] the café was the country's first physical Yiddish-focused space to open in decades.[4]

In July 2020, Pink Peacock campaigned to crowdfund £10,000 to cover the costs of running the café for three months. They successfully raised a total of £15,885 by the end of the campaign in August 2020.[1]

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the planned opening of the café. During the COVID-19 lockdowns, Isaac and Holleb distributed packages of food in Govanhill and organized various queer and Jewish online events.[1]


Receipt from Pink Peacock café, with suggested price

Pink Peacock operated on a pay-what-you-can model, telling customers the break-even price but allowing them to pay any amount.[1][5] The café was alcohol-free and vegan,[6][7] and had a community fridge outside the café stocked with food.[5] In addition to food, they sold what Jewish Currents described in 2021 as "Jewish lefty merch".[3] The café was run as a cooperative by workers and community members.[8]

Use of Yiddish[edit]

Pink Peacock maintained a Yiddish version of its website, and used the language on Twitter, unlike many other Yiddish-focused organizations. In a 2020 article for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Holleb explained that "Yiddish is a way of connecting with a Jewish language that isn’t modern Hebrew. There isn’t Yiddish nationhood. It is a diasporic language."[4]

Anti-police policy and tote bags[edit]

In June 2021, Pink Peacock was the subject of reporting in the tabloid The Scottish Sun, which criticised their policy of "no cops, no terfs". Subsequently, the café's storefront was vandalised when a man painted over it.[3] The cafe had also experienced vandalism a month prior to these events, in May 2021 when a window had been smashed in an incident which also saw windows broken in adjacent branches of Farmfoods and Semichem.[9] Additionally, the coverage led to a complaint about the café displaying in its window a pink tote bag with the words "fuck the police" in English and Yiddish, which in turn led Police Scotland to visit Holleb and Isaac's home.[3] Holleb was subsequently charged with breach of the peace, and Glasgow police seized one of the tote bags from Pink Peacock as evidence.[3][9] After the seizure, which was publicized in local media and on Pink Peacock's Twitter account, the café sold out of the bags.[8]

Handcuff key sales[edit]

On 30 September, the café launched the sale of universal handcuff keys. They were met with criticism on line as this coincided with the sentencing of a police officer convicted of the murder of Sarah Everard after falsely arresting her and restraining her in handcuffs. The café later issued a statement claiming the keys had been promoted with the upcoming 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference protests in mind and not the Sarah Everard case and said the timing was insensitive.[10][11]

Book burning[edit]

In May 2023, for the Jewish holiday of Lag BaOmer, Pink Peacock members burned a copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on the pavement outside the cafe, to protest what they believed to be transphobia and antisemitism from author J. K. Rowling. A spokesperson denied that the act was similar to Nazi book burnings, due to differences in power between a government and a café.[12]


Pink Peacock closed on 14 June 2023, with the organisation citing a number of reasons including burnout, right-wing backlash, antisemitism from the left and right, and racism within the collective toward minority members.[13][14] One volunteer said that the café had faced rumours from other left-wing groups that the members were secretly wealthy American Jews exploiting workers.[14]


  1. ^ a b c d e Metzer, Anya (15 September 2020). "Vashti meets Pink Peacock, the world's first queer Yiddish cafe". Vashti Media. Archived from the original on 18 October 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2022.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d e Angel, Arielle (9 July 2021). "The Yiddish Tote Rankling Glasgow Police". Jewish Currents. Archived from the original on 8 March 2022. Retrieved 8 March 2022.
  4. ^ a b Judah, Jacob (26 August 2020). "The queer-friendly, Yiddish-speaking, anarchist-run Pink Peacock cafe aims to spark a Jewish revolution in Glasgow". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Archived from the original on 8 March 2022. Retrieved 8 March 2022.
  5. ^ a b Hall, Jake (28 June 2022). "Inside the UK's queer 'pay-as-you-want' cafes". Huck Magazine. Retrieved 1 July 2022.
  6. ^ Lipson, Molly (10 December 2020). "Jewish activists who are making a difference". Reader's Digest. Archived from the original on 8 March 2022. Retrieved 8 March 2022.
  7. ^ Williams, Craig (11 February 2020). "There's a queer, Yiddish, anarchist, vegan, pay-what-you-can cafe opening in Glasgow". GlasgowLive. Archived from the original on 8 March 2022. Retrieved 8 March 2022.
  8. ^ a b Holmes, Juwan J. (19 June 2021). "Officers attempt to storm a gay café to seize "f*ck the police" merch. It backfires". LGBTQ Nation. Archived from the original on 8 March 2022. Retrieved 8 March 2022.
  9. ^ a b Wakefield, Lily (17 June 2021). "Cops seize 'f**k the police' tote bag from window of queer anarchist Jewish café". PinkNews. Archived from the original on 8 March 2022. Retrieved 8 March 2022.
  10. ^ Marini, Gianni (10 October 2021). "Glasgow cafe offering keys to escape handcuffs ahead of COP26 protests". STV. Archived from the original on 10 October 2021. Retrieved 21 March 2022.
  11. ^ "pink peacock handcuff statement". twitter. pink peacock. 3 October 2021. Archived from the original on 3 October 2021. Retrieved 21 March 2022.
  12. ^ Morrison, Hamish (11 May 2023). "Pink Peacock staff burn Harry Potter book in Glasgow street". The National. Retrieved 10 September 2023.
  13. ^ Murphy, Sean (6 June 2023). "Glasgow queer, Yiddish, anarchist, vegan, pay-what-you-can cafe to close 'with heavy heart'". Glasgow Live. Retrieved 10 September 2023.
  14. ^ a b Shamir, Jonathan (15 June 2023). "Queer Yiddish Café in Scotland Shuts Doors After Antisemitic Abuse". Haaretz. Retrieved 10 September 2023.

External links[edit]