Brooklyn Landlord Forbids Opening of a Gay Bar on Premises, Gets Sued


John McGillion, who owns Lulu’s in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, wants to turn the establishment into a gay bar to reap the benefits of the neighborhood’s growing gay and lesbian community, but a stipulation in his lease forbids the opening of a gay bar on the premises, so McGillion is suing, the NY Post reports:

“I am barely scraping by on the proceeds of the bar . . . If I am permitted to operate a gay bar at the premises I believe that I will be able to make a considerable profit,” McGillion said in Brooklyn Supreme Court papers filed last week…

…McGillion, who owns a handful of other bars in Brooklyn and Manhattan, believes he could have done another “40 to 50 percent” more business as a gay establishment.

McGillion has withheld the rent for months and has been battling landlord Guard General Merchandise Corp. for more than a year over the issue, but says it won’t budge.

“I don’t know what their problem is. Who knows? I thought those days were gone,” he said of the lease. “I mean, who cares, today? Gays — everybody’s got their rights. What’s the big deal?”

McGillion is asking a judge to declare the clause in his contract forbidding him from going gay invalid.


  1. woody says

    i remember this place from when i used to ride my bike down to greenpoint from sunnyside.
    it’s off the beaten track, down by the river west of manhattan avenue. it’s a hipster joint, quiet, nice place to sit and have a beer.

  2. terry says

    Isn’t a gay bar just a regular bar with gay patrons? Why not just open a regular bar? Are bars born that way? If a regular bar has too many fruit based drinks is it then a gay bar? Is there a special permit for gay bars? does a regular bar have to ban gays so it won’t become a gay bar? I don’t understand how a bar can be gay, patrons yes, the bar no.

  3. will says

    If it was a “straight bar” and the majority of patrons ended up being gay, could they still sue? If it was a straight bar, could they kick a gay couple out?

  4. northalabama says

    unless being gay is illegal, the stipulation in the lease should be found unlawful. just because it’s written in a lease, doesn’t make it legal – shame on the landlord.

    if the lease stated the owner couldn’t open a church, right wingnut heads would explode.

  5. Louis says

    I hope the NOM people like Community Colleges because we will force them to spend every dime they have. These people will never be able to send their kids to a 4 year college.

    And they will lose anyway….

  6. Topol says

    As others have said, this is a strange issue. Why not open a bar, period? If the neighborhood is gay, then the customers would mainly be gay.

    If the bar doesn’t get any customers now, why would it get gay customers in the future? Boys in cages?

  7. Reality says

    Yeah, I wonder how these landlords think a gay bar is any different? No rainbow flags allowed? Check gay cards at the door? This is insane. NYC in 2014 – this shouldn’t be happening

  8. adrenan p says

    The problem with bars – especially gay bars – is that they attract the sex crowd. These are people who wish to find a partner to have sex with. Some gay bars are notorious for allowing sex on premises even though it is expressly forbidden by law.

    Maybe the landlord doesn’t want these unpleasant influences in his building in view of the way alcohol consumption merges with promiscuity amongst men who seek sex with men. Think about it and don’t just diss the landlord on impulse.

  9. Jim says

    How would the landlord know whether it’s a “straight” bar or a “gay” bar? Does the manager plan on hanging a sign outside that says “Gay Bar”? That would be somewhat odd, I’ve never been to a gay bar that actually says “gay bar” (at least not that I can remember). And for that matter, I don’t recall ever seeing a bar that has a sign hanging outside that says “Straight Bar”.

    So this is a straight bar now? Does that mean they don’t serve gay people?

  10. Tmack says

    In the article he believes that if it was a gay bar he could be making 30-40% more money. Clearly he doesn’t understand the market at all. Gay bars are closing left and right. Why not support a bar owner who is gay, instead of douches who only want to make money off the backs of the gay community.

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