Drinking in a bit of gay history


I’ve never been to Fire Island or P-town, but at least I can check this off my list. Last night after dinner with friends in the Village, we stopped by the oldest running gay bar in New York, Julius. Although it has only been a gay bar since the mid 1960’s, it has been running apparently as a tavern/bar since 1867, and it would appear that the decor hasn’t changed much at all since then. It was the famous site of a 1966 “sip-in” by an early gay activist group known as theĀ Mattachine Society, to protest rules preventing serving alcohol to homosexuals. It ended up resulting in a court case which overturned these rules, paving the way in part for the Stonewall riots and modern gay rights movement.

As I mentioned, the place looks like the interior hasn’t changed much since the 1800’s, with wagon wheel chandeliers and musty wood barrels and layers and years of accumulated funk. Think of a cross between a bowling alley, a barn, and a saloon and you are getting warm. It was the very soul of unpretentious and I quite liked it. I couldn’t say this would be any kind of place to meet your future husband (or one night stand either, for that matter), but it is a fine place for hanging out with old friends and reminiscing about the revolution.