Gay Bar of the Week: a historic icon in Greenwich Village

Gay Bar of the Week showcases LGBTQ-friendly bars around the world that help bring our community together. These bars go above and beyond slinging drinks and dancing go-gos by making safe, inviting places with lasting impact.

Presenting this week’s pick:


Photo via Julius’ Bar on Facebook

Gayborhood – West Village, New York, NY

How old is old? – There’s been a bar in this location since the 19th century, making this the oldest bar in Greenwich Village. It didn’t become a gay hangout until the 1960s but is still New York’s oldest running gay bar.

Queer Quotient – 6/6 🏳️‍🌈

Using Kinsey’s scale, rating the bar’s level of queerness on a scale ranging from 1 (uncomfortably straight) to 6 (as queer as physically possible), we rate this bar a 6 for its important place in LGBTQIA+ history. Julius’ is the site of the 1966 Sip-In, which is considered a key event that lead to the growth of legitimate gay bars, and made them a central social space for the queer community. Today, Julius’ takes pride in their history, continuously celebrating the historic New York gay rights group Mattachine.

Photo via Julius’ Bar on Facebook

Vibe check – Relaxed Retro

Patrons love Julius’ for its welcoming, homey atmosphere. This cozy dive is elevated by its friendly bartenders. You can feel the history of inclusion, and see it filling the walls. Julius’ has framed pictures that span New York’s many eras, which the bar has seen firsthand. This bustling little bar attracts a fun, chill crowd that makes the space feel more like an intimate party with friends, and by the end of the night it might be just that. This unique space is a great place to meet new queer friends, or relax with old ones.

Best-kept secret

If you’re headed to Julius’, we recommend you go on an empty stomach so you can enjoy some bar food classics, specifically the burger. Get it with cheese, bacon, or keep it naked, either way, prepare for a juicy sensation. Pair your burger, or one of their other bar snacks, with one of the beers on tap–there’s something for everyone.

Fun Fact

Julius’ was honored by Village Preservation and the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project with a historic plaque on the 56th anniversary of the Sip-In on April 21, 1966. The protest was in response to the State Liquor Authority’s policy of revoking licenses of bars that served known or suspected gay men and lesbians. The early gay rights group Mattachine Society responded by entering Julius’, which had been an unofficial gay hangout, identifying themselves as homosexuals and refusing to leave. The SLA regulations were one main forms of government oppression of LGBTQIA+ people, and the Sip-In was a huge step in establishing legitimate gay bars in the city. The plaque honoring Julius’ piece in history was presented last month with the help of Broadway star John Cameron Mitchell and LGBT activist and Sip-In participant Randy Wicker.

Noteworthy event

Photo via Julius’ Bar on Facebook

Every Tuesday night, when there is nothing happening almost everywhere, Julius’ hosts a feel-good throwback party. Each week DJ Bright Light and DJ Yestergay bring the grooves with songs everybody knows and loves. Catch the retro tunes from 6 pm to 10 pm and enjoy happy hour from 6 pm to 7 pm. Tuesday nights have never been this gay, nor this groovy. 

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