july bar, one of the oldest LGBT bars in New York City and the location of a pivotal 1960s protest, it has been officially recognized as a city landmark.
The bar was officially recognized by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission on December 6, according to a New York City government press release.
The city called the bar “one of the city’s most important sites of LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) history” in the press release.
Julius’ was the site of the 1966 “Sip-in,” a protest against homophobic discrimination, though at the time, the bar was not an explicitly LGBT space. Four men named Dick Leitsch, Craig Rodwell, John Timmons and Randy Wicker organized the event to protest the persecution of gay men for drinking in public. according to the National Park Service. Bars and restaurants could be raided for “disorderly” conduct, which included men flirting and kissing, the service says. So, bars often refused to serve customers they knew were gay.
At Julius’, the men announced they were gay and the bartender refused to serve them, saying it was illegal. The men successfully filed a court case challenging that interpretation of the law. And in 1967, “the courts ruled that indecent behavior had to be more than ‘crossing'” between people of the same sex, kissing or touching, says the National Park Service. “Gays could legally drink in a bar.”
Julius’, located in New York City’s West Village, is a crucial piece of the city’s history: The bar has been open since the 1860s, according to the National Park Service. And today, it openly describes itself as a gay bar on its social media.
“The ‘Sip-In’ at Julius’ was a pivotal moment in our city and our nation’s LGBTQ+ history, and today’s designation marks not only that moment, but Julius’s half-century as home to the LGBTQ+ community. of New York City.” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in the city’s news release. “Honoring a place where New Yorkers were once denied service solely because of their sexuality reinforces something that should already be clear: LGBTQ+ New Yorkers are welcome anywhere in our city.”
Council member Erik Botcher thanked the activists who pushed for the landmark designation in the statement.
“As a gay man who enjoys countless freedoms that were unimaginable in his day, I owe an enormous debt to the activists who made Julius’ Bar the site of their protest.” Bottcher said in the statement. “Milestones should tell the story of all New Yorkers, including those from underserved communities.”
And landmark status will help ensure the historic site is preserved for decades.
“The Commission’s designation of the Julius’ Bar Building today recognizes and protects the site of the 1966 ‘Sip-In,’ a major early protest against the persecution of LGBTQ+ people that drew attention to unfair laws and practices and paved the way for future milestones in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights,” Sarah Carroll, chair of the landmarks preservation commission, said in the statement.
“This building represents that history and continues to be an important place to commemorate it,” he continued.