LGBTQ+ bar and site of 1966 "Sip-In" given New York City landmark status

LGBTQ+ bar and site of 1966 "Sip-In" given New York City landmark status

Julius', an LGBTQ+ bar located just minutes away from the historic Stonewall Inn, was designated as a New York City Landmark on Tuesday. Three years before the Stonewall Riots, the bar was the site of what became known as the Sip-In, a 1966 demonstration protesting the closure of other bars in the city for serving people who identified as LGBTQ+.

Julius' Bar, seen with pride flags hanging from one of its windows, was designated as a landmark by New York City. / Credit: New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission
Julius' Bar, seen with pride flags hanging from one of its windows, was designated as a landmark by New York City. / Credit: New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission

At the time, bars and restaurants in New York City could be raided or closed if they were deemed "disorderly," which included men buying drinks for other men, according to the National Parks Service. In an attempt to create a case to challenge the interpretation of the law, several men from the New York City chapter of the Mattachine Society, which was the largest gay rights organization at the time, went to several bars and restaurants with the intent trying to order drinks after making it clear that they were gay.

The first location they tried was closed, according to the NPS, and the next two locations served them. Dick Leitsch, Craig Rodwell, John Timmons and Randy Wicker, along with several reporters, then went to Julius'. The bar had recently been raided, and the bartender refused to serve them, according to the bar's website.

The bartender covered one of the men's glasses with his hand, a moment that was photographed. The New York Times then ran a story headlined "3 Deviates Invite Exclusion by Bars."

The following year, according to NPS, courts ruled that being gay, flirting and kissing was not enough to rise to the level of "disorderly" conduct.

"Honoring a location where New Yorkers were once denied service solely on account of their sexuality reinforces something that should already be clear: LGBTQ+ New Yorkers are welcome anywhere in our city," New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in a press release.

Julius' was added to the National Register of Historical Places back in 2016.

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