Julius’, New York City’s Oldest Gay Bar, May Soon be Designated a Landmark

Julius', NYC's oldest gay bar and site of a historic 1966 "sip-in", will potentially receive landmark status in the next year.

The interior of Julius' bar
Inside Julius'.
Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

New York City’s oldest gay bar is inching closer to landmark status.

Julius’, founded around 1930 and located in Greenwich Village, is one of the city’s oldest operating bars and the site of a highly-publicized 1966 protest against LGBTQ discrimination.

New York’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) unanimously voted Sept. 13 to formally consider the bar’s landmark status. A decision will be made within the next year, according a press release from Village Preservation, a nonprofit focused on heritage preservation which has campaigned to landmark Julius’ bar over the past nine years.

The bar is located inside a nearly 200-year-old building on West 10th Street and Waverly Place. After city authorities began cracking down on bars serving LGBTQ customers in the 1960s, members of the Mattachine Society, an early gay rights organization, decided to stage a “sip-in” at Julius’ Bar, according to a news release from LPC.

In 1966, Dick Leitsch, Craig Rodwell, Randy Wicker and John Timmons ordered drinks at the bar counter and announced they were gay as their drinks were served. The bartender reacted by covering the drinks with his hand, denying service.

“Its designation as an individual landmark, as with the Stonewall Inn, would clearly establish the late 1960s as its period of significance,” reads the LPC’s release.

The Stonewall Inn, site of the 1969 Stonewall riots, was designated a landmark by the LPC in 2015. Meanwhile, Julius’ Bar in 2016 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Julius’, New York City’s Oldest Gay Bar, May Soon be Designated a Landmark