Julius, One of New York’s Oldest Gay Bars, is Shuttered


In a 2002 issue of New York magazine, Edmund White wrote of the West Village gay bar Julius: “Of course, for me, the Ur–classic gay bar was Julius in the Village, which I first visited in the mid-sixties. Mayor Wagner was closing gay bars as fast as they could open to clean up New York for the World’s Fair. If he left Julius open, it was only because it was well-lit and had a few conspicuous women. There was even a period when we weren’t allowed to face the bar but had to stand absurdly with our back to it to prove, I suppose, that we had nothing to hide.”

It has been around since the Stonewall era, but this week the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance seized the longstanding bar, about which Gawker disagreed with White, calling it “the worst and most amazing craphole bar in New York City, a place of such filth that one was reluctant to touch even a bottle of beer.”

Julius Closed, Seized For Nonpayment of Taxes [eater]


  1. the queen says

    Never been there but this makes me wax nostalgic for my all former hangouts that have long since closed… Tykes in Highland Park (CA), the River Club in Hollywood, Le Milords & the Pigalle in El Paso, the Pub (Hollywood) … I’m sure some queen somewhere is fondly recalling all the good times she had at the Julius… Party on!

  2. Digger says

    Yes it was a craphole but it was our craphole.

    Another piece of our queer past bites the dust.

  3. MT says

    34 years in New York and always gay and I never even heard of this place. Can anyone tell me where it is so I can at least go look at it?

  4. jeffnyc says

    Julius was where I was picked up for the first time in 1972, when I was 16, by an English professor at Columbia, who took me back to his apartment. He had a 70s-style mustache, and it ticked when he rimmed me.

  5. says

    Awful pit. Back in the day (Before Stonewall) they would toss you out of they caught you making contact with another customer. Everyone had to stand still and wide apart. You looked into the mirror over the bar and made eye contact then left the place to go out onto the street JUST TO TALK!!!!

    Mazursky shot a key scene for “Next Stop Greenwich Village” in Julius’

  6. says

    When ever we hit the village for an afternoon, we’d start out there with some burgers and good drinks. People were always cool. i never thought any of the guys there were hustlers, must be my naivete or just having standards.

  7. MT says

    Wow. Right in the middle of everything?

    I must have been past this place a million times and never noticed it. I guess my sketchy Waverly Place/Sheridan Square bar experience has only been limited to Monster.

  8. David says

    Despite living in NYC for 12 years, I was just introduced to this place last year. Great place for martinis and burgers, no attitude. Yeah it’s a pit but I always had a great time.

  9. Rascal says

    I was always under the impression that this bar has been, to one degree or another, gay for a lot longer than a generation. Check George Chauncey’s groundbreaking “Gay New York,” but I seem to remember that this establishment goes back to the teens or twenties and possibly before.

  10. says

    For some reason, I’m pleasurably remembering an awesome conversation I had there with a guy who looked exactly like George Cukor (it wasn’t him really) about Capote’s OTHER VOICES, OTHER ROOMS which I’d just bought and was carrying around. How gay is that? Hadn’t been there in a long time, but I always enjoyed popping in there from time to time. I always had a nice, lowkey, time.

  11. Queer Studies says

    In addition to its longevity as a gay bar, it is the site of considerable importance to gay history. From the Organization of Lesbian and Gay Architects map: “Opened in 1864, Julius’ is reputed to be the oldest bar in the West Village. During the 1950s, Julius’ began attracting gay customers. Serving gay patrons was in violation of the State Liquor Authority’s rules, prompting many bar owners to post signs stating “If you are gay, please go away.” In 1966, members of the Mattachine Society staged a “sip-in” here and were turned away. They had the city’s Commission on Human Rights bring a discrimination case, and in 1967 the state court ruled that the Liquor Authority needed “substantial evidence” of indecent behavior (not same-sex kissing or touching) to close a bar, thereby reversing years of discrimination.”

  12. Roy says

    Oh, no!! Julius’ had the BEST burgers in the city – and they were as cheap as the beer. Friendly staff, nice clientele… it’s a damn shame to lose it. Yes, it was a bit dusty and tattered, but that’s why we loved it.

  13. excy says

    Too bad. Julius and the 9th Circle. Those were my hangouts when in NYC in the mid 70’s. I was always amused at the motley crew at both these places. I don’t remember a lot of hustlers. I do remember older, blue-collar types willing to buy a tourist a beer. They also had hamburgers way back then…and the place was a dump. But it was fun and not at all chi-chi. I always returned on my trips to NYC. Nice location…I hope it doesn’t become one of those cupcake places :-(

  14. says

    WOW! I wonder if they can get permission to open back up?

    The 2nd NYC Gay Pride I ran into the first gay guy I’d ever gotten involved with (amazing who you run into in a sea of like, 10,000 homos) and he wanted to “talk.” We stumbled across Julius and went in. We thought it’d be this “old fuddy dudd” hangout and we’d be bored to death. Boy, were we wrong! To my delight, they made hamburgers right there in front of your face and the drinks were cheap and everyone was friendly as all get out. I know, it was Pride, but it was sooo fun for me not having to worry about the stand & model crowd or people staring at me or me having to be self-conscious.

    I went a few times after with some friends, but they’d always just wanna go to Chelsea or Hell’s Kitchen–they didn’t love the simplicity of Julius’ like I did.

    I mean they made great hamburgers and right in front of you! I’ll take that over stiff as a board brand name mannequins eyeing you down while you sip your $10 cocktail anyday.

    I’ll really miss this place if it doesn’t open back up. I mean, what will I have in Julius’ place? Boots & Saddles? *shudder*

  15. says

    LOL. Yup, Derrick, I guess you just gotta go galloping off to Boots & Saddles now. ( Seriously, though, I agree with your Julius description).

  16. Robert Alan says

    It was no more a craphole than Miss. Kitty’s Saloon was…maybe it was a craphole then.

    I didn’t go often but it was a fun place to stop at for a drink. I never had a burger, guess I won’t be able to now.

    There was always some Queen there who constantly played Dark Lady by Cher.
    I will miss the place.

  17. DH says


    Julius’ re-opened the next day! It remains open and they just renewed the lease for two years. So drop by, we’re a crazy bunch!