Oldest Gay Bar in NYC, Julius, Found Eligible to Become National Landmark

Iconic West Village gay bar Julius has just been named eligible for State and National Historic registers, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation reports:

JuliusBased upon research and a request made by GVSHP, the New York State Historic Preservation Office has determined Julius’ Bar at 159 West 10th Street/188 Waverly Place in Greenwich Village eligible for the State and National Registers of Historic Places (read GVSHP’s nomination HERE, and the State’s finding HERE). The oldest gay bar in New York, Julius’ was also the site of a groundbreaking gay civil rights action in 1966 which resulted in the end of New York State’s prohibition on serving alcohol to anyone known to be gay. The “sip-in,” in which several members of a gay civil rights organization known as the Mattachine Society went to the bar identifying themselves as ‘homosexuals’ and asked to be served a drink, was based upon the “sit-ins” being staged at segregated lunch counters throughout the South, and was one of the first recorded instances of civil disobedience against anti-gay discrimination. At the time, the New York Times covered the incident referring to the protesters as “sexual deviates.”

The State and National Registers of Historic Places are the official record of the places most important to our state and nation's history, as defined by New York State and Federal government. Currently, only two places in the entire country are listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places for their connection to the gay civil rights movement — the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village (site of 1969’s Stonewall Riots and considered the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement, co-nominated by GVSHP in 1999) and the Washington D.C. home of Frank Kameny, the co-founder of the Mattachine Society.


  1. says

    Wow! I’m really getting old (probably less mature) but I went to Julius’ when I was 20 years old, I think (now I am 69), on a Thanksgiving Holiday fly in-meet up with a friend — my first time in New York!

    I remember how old it seemed then to me, and the corner window, the stools and the dreariness of it all which is something that amazed me! I didn’t get the customer patina charm of it all either — now I do.

  2. JeffNYC says

    I first went into Julius in 1972, when I was 16, after first going into a piano bar called Yellow Brick Road. The men in the piano bar seemed creepy to me, but the guys at Julius seemed friendly and sexy. I was picked up by a young-ish blond-haired Columbia University professor with a bushy blond mustache, who took mt back to his apartment on the subway. He was too drunk to get hard himself, but he gave me a wonderful blowjob…my first from a guy with a mustache!

    I wonder what happened to him. I love that Julius is till there.

  3. Jim Elliott says

    I can remember when the outside wall of Julius on the Waverly Place side collapsed. I was sure they would have to tear down the building, but was so glad to see they repaired it (and kept it looking just the same). In the late 70s I used to go there frequently, they had great burgers. It was been 25 years at least since I have been there, time to go back.

  4. John says

    Wow. I have so many memories of Julius, going back nearly 40 years. It certainly is iconic in gay history, and I could write volumes about my personal memories.

  5. Mort says

    I think it’s important to note — especially given the rosy memories in this comments section — that Julius’ was targeted for that “sip-in” in 1966 because it was notoriously *hostile* to gay people. Indeed times have changed, but that’s because of the actions of some brave activists. Julius’, not so much.

  6. says

    Craig Rodwell, founder of the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookstore personally told me about the sit-in (I met him in 1969), and it’s hoped that Craig will be remembered more than he is, for his tireless efforts to “free” the bars. He was helpful to me in getting published in “Queen’s Quarterly” publisher George DeSantis. I believe it was Craig himself who asked to be served at Julius’ and he told me there were photographers present – this action did indeed change the law about serving (would be believe the New York Times?) “sexual deviates.” But still, there was no public dancing men/men until much later.

  7. FunMe says

    Wasn’t Julius in the movie “Boys in the Band”?

    That’s great that it is now a national landmark. Now given that honor and prestige, isn’t it time for the owners of Julis to spruce up the place? I was there last year and I thought it was fairly run down. People there seemed like they have been hanging there forever and not looking good. If you want the same look like back in the day, then CLEAN and SPRUCE it up! You can be young or old and look good. When you let a place look run down, no one will want to go there. Sad, because this place should be celebrated, honored and attended by gays of ALL ages.

    Wishing Julius well and a face lift of sorts. Hugs.

  8. RICK says

    Wonderful ! Julius been there so many times great food at cheap prices wonderful staff, great patrons for decades and still maintains it’s original decor. Now, if we can just keep the straights from invading it to be edgy.

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