The day a friend and I went was a beautiful, warm day and the regulars were buzzing about the Village Voice article that had just come out about how a "Sip-In" demonstration in 1966 - 3 years before the Stonewall riots - was actually the first organized protest for gay rights. Existing laws allowed bars to deny serving known homosexuals, so a group of well-dressed men came in the bar, identified themselves as gay, and demanded to be served. The refusal of service would prompt them to sue the state for discrimination and the case would start the opening shot in equal rights for gays - at least in the bars. Please read the Voice article for the details as it's fascinating. Also, on the day I was there, I was thrilled to observe a steady flow of old school street freaks either passing through or by the bar and it comforted me to know that there are a few originals left in the West Village - and they're welcome in Julius like everybody else is. The intersection of 10th Street and Waverly has not been totally hijacked by SATC girls, but a few packs did stroll by with Forever 21 bags.
So, in honor of Gay Pride Week or to just honor a Village survivor, visit Julius. You'll be welcomed even you sleep with Cameroon mountain goats - no one will judge. Have a drink and show your respect to this place. It's the exact opposite of what New York has become. It's old, dusty, unpretentious, the bartenders can be cranky/funny, the music is on a jukebox, people aren't fashionable, drinks are cheap, the burgers are amazing (as good or better than Corner Bistro), and it's friendly - and not one single person was pecking at a Blackberry or any other device. Don't miss the restrooms with classic old album covers from the 60's and 70's - I totally had a flashback. Julius also serves inexpensive homemade lasagna and other homey meals (whatever the cook feels like making) on Saturdays and Sundays which everyone in the bar raved about. They told me it was an "insider's secret" so I felt honored to be in the know. As the oldest gay bar - or any bar - in the city, this place deserves to be honored. And in the times we're living in now, you just never know how long it will last. Click here for more information, reader reviews, and pictures.
West 10th and Waverly Place
Note: Just got back from another loverly Tuesday night of cocktails and cheeseburgers -- and it was fun & delish. Or rather, it was absolutely horrible... Do NOT go there under any circumstances. I don't want you taking up my stool space.