Recently, there has been a rise in new cafes opening in Tripoli, Libya. However, they are not your regular cafes as they do not allow single men inside — which is why they are called family-only cafes. The purpose of these cafes is to allow women and families to de-stress from their troubles without ever worrying about men disturbing them.
These cafes aim to provide privacy, relaxation and freedom while taking them away from all the traffic and savagery that exists on Libyan streets. Benghazi also has a growing demand for these cafes, especially after the severe damage that was bestowed upon it three years ago.
Despite the low-key reverse sexism these cafes thrive upon, people are giving them positive feedback because they empower women, in a certain way, and give them the kind of space they desperately need. According to Reuters, Abdulhameed Ghreetly, the manager of At Home Café mentioned that family-only cafes “are less of a headache than the cafes for youngsters.”
The owners of the businesses are also benefiting. The managers say that female customers spend more on fancy beverages and they usually come to eat, rather than the “espresso-sipping” men. Additionally, high prices in these cafes make the managers compensate for the loss of their male clients.
People are debating whether the rise of family-only cafes means moving forward for Libya, as women barely have any opportunities to socialize outside their homes, or a reminder that public spaces are usually — if not always — dominated by men.