Oldest gay bar in New York has just been declared an official landmark

A photo showing an exterior shot of New York gay bar Julius' - showing Pride flags across the top, the green Julius' logo and people on the inside of the club

New York City’s oldest gay bar, Julius’, has been declared an official landmark.

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, which made the declaration on 6 December, said Julius’ was significant “for the role it played in advancing the rights of gay and lesbian New Yorkers”.

The bar, in Greenwich Village, first cemented its place in history in April 1966 — three years before the nearby Stonewall riots — when a bartender refused to serve a group of gay men.

The men were part of a ‘Sip-In’ protest against State Liquor Authority rules that meant bars could not serve drinks to known or suspected homosexuals at the risk of being raided over “disorderly” behaviour.

Announcing Julius’ landmark status, New York City mayor Eric Adams said honouring the location of the Sip-In “reinforces something that should already be clear: LGBTQ+ New Yorkers are welcome anywhere in our city”.

Landmarks Preservation Commission chair Sarah Carroll said the Sip-In drew “vital attention” to unjust laws and practices “and paved the way” in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights.

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New York Council member Erik Bottcher, who is gay, told media he was “drawing strength” from the site and its history while “we’re under attack as a community around the country and around the world”.

“We need to have the same kind of courage that they had during that very, very difficult time,” he said, noting that the 1966 protesters were putting themselves in danger at the time.

Local heritage group Village Preservation had spent 10 years campaigning for Julius’ to be honoured.

As part of its efforts, the group unveiled a plaque at the bar to commemorate the Sip-In, with some of its participants in attendance.


Julius’ marked the occasion on Facebook with a photo showing mayor Eric Adams at the bar to offer his congratulations.

The bar has been on its Amos and Factory streets site since 1826, when it was first a grocery store. It transformed into a bar in 1864 and began attracting a gay customer base about a century later.