The Big Cup was a coffee shop at 228 Eighth Avenue, between 21st and 22nd Streets, in New York City. After eleven years in business, the cafe closed on August 28, 2005, due to an increase in rent. Its employees have publicly expressed interest in reopening the business in a new location.
Throughout its tenure, the Big Cup became a central meeting place for many gay New Yorkers, partly by virtue of its central location in Chelsea, one of the city's primarily gay neighborhoods. Notably, it was a gathering spot for many LGBT youth, the majority of whom are underage and therefore cannot patronize the bars. The cafe's clientele were notoriously "cruisy," leading many people over the years to compare the shop, with a sense of ironic disparagement, to its neighbors. It was this sentiment that led columnist Dan Savage to refer to the Big Cup as "the deepest pit in gay hell next to Rufus Wainwright's colon." On the other hand, the coffee shop inspired enough devotion that a candlelight vigil was reportedly held a few nights after its closure.
Although three outlets from a competing multi-national chain had opened on nearby street corners in recent years, the Big Cup held its own, demonstrating the unique sort of draw, and customer loyalty, that a successful local business can create. However, it appears that the competition affected the Big Cup's closure only obliquely. According to the New York Blade, the landlord raised the rent from $16,500 a month to $21,500 a month without warning.