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Julius (New York City)

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Julius is a tavern in the New York City Greenwich Village neighborhood that is the oldest continuously operating Gay bar in New York and played an important roll in the events leading up to the Stonewall riots.

An event at the bar at 159 West 10th Street in 1966 which is a block northeast of the Stonewall Inn established the right of homosexuals to gather at bars clearing the way for the opening of the Stonewall which in turn led to the 1969 riots.

Newspaper articles on the wall indicate it was favorite bar for Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote and Rudolf Nureyev.[1]


According to bar lore it was established around 1867—the same year as the Jacob Ruppert Brewery in the Yorkville neighborhood. Barrels stamped "Jacob Ruppert" are used for tables.

Vintage photos of racing horses, boxers and actors are on the wall include drawings of burlesque girls as well as an image signed by Walter Winchell saying that he loves Julius.[2]

The bar became a popular watering hole in the 1930s and 1940s due to its proximity to the jazz club Nick's in the Village.[3]

Its days as a gay bar date to the mid-1960s.

The Sip-InEdit

At the time the New York State Liquor Authority had rules had a rule that ordered bars not to serve liquor to the disorderly and homosexuals were considered "disorderly." Bartenders would often evict known homosexuals or order them not to face other customers in order to avoid cruising.

On April 21, 1966 members of the New York Chapter of the Mattachine Society staged a "Sip-In" at the bar which was to change the legal landscape.[4]

On that day, Dick Leitsch, the society's president, John Timmons and Craig Rodwell planned to draw attention to the practice by identifying themselves as homosexuals before ordering a drink in order to bring court scrutiny to the regulation.

The three were going to read from Mattachine stationary "We are homosexuals. We are orderly, we intend to remain orderly, and we are asking for service."

The three first targeted the Ukrainian-American Village Restaurant at St. Mark's Place and Third Avenue in the East Village, Manhattan which had a sign, "If you are gay, please go away." The three showed up after a New York Times reporter had asked a manager about the protest and the manager had closed the restaurant for the day.[5]

They then targeted a Howard Johnson's and a bar called Waikiki where they were served in spite of the note with a bartender saying later, "How do I know they're homosexual? They ain't doing nothing homosexual."

Frustrated, they then went to Julius where a clergyman had been arrested a few days earlier for soliciting sex. A sign in the window they had a sign in the window, "This is a raided premises."

The bartender initially started preparing them a drink but then put his hand over the glass which was photographed. The New York Times ran a headline the next day "3 Deviates Invite Exclusion by Bars."

The Mattachines then challenged the liquor rule in court and the courts ruled that gays had a right to peacefully assemble.

With the right to assemble established the Stonewall Inn would open in 1967 a block southwest and the Stonewall Riots would occur in 1969.

Subsequent historyEdit

In the 1970s scenes from the movie Boys in the Band were shot at the bar.[6]

In August 2007, the bar was closed briefly after being seized for non-payment of taxes.[7]



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