Foundation Steps Up To Help Iconic Village Gay Bar Stay Afloat


WEST VILLAGE, NY — Julius' Bar, one of the oldest continuously operated LGBTQ+ bars in the United States, got a great piece of news Monday from a foundation with a commitment to supporting equality for LGBTQ+ people.

The West Village watering hole at 159 West 10th Street has been open since 1840, first as a grocery store and then in 1864 as a bar.

Julius' Bar was also the location of a famed 1966 "Sip-In," at which gay activists challenged New York State's prohibitions on gay bars.

Like the rest of the New York City restaurant industry, the coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented financial difficulty for Julius' Bar.

On July 2, 2020, owner Helen Buford launched a GoFundMe saying — "we need your help in saving our beloved Julius Bar for posterity and to ensure that history stays alive."

Over 1,700 people have raised $109,557 in the time since, but the bar is still $90,000 away from its goal of $200,000.

Here's where the Gill Foundation is stepping in.

On Monday, the foundation announced it will match contributions up to $25,000 to the historic Julius' bar. The announcement comes on the heels of a $20,000 contribution from the Gill Foundation to the West Village bar in 2020.

"Julius' is proud to be at the center of so much history for the LGBTQ community in NYC and beyond," said Julius' Bar owner Helen Buford, in a news release. "This generous match will help us keep our doors open and allow us to focus on getting our staff back to work so we can continue serving the LGBTQ community. We're beyond grateful."

"We're honored to give back to an institution that's given our community so much and hope this contribution will ensure Julius' continues to be an iconic home to LGBTQ equality for many years to come," said Scott Miller and Tim Gill, co-chairs of the Gill Foundation, in a news release.

In 2020, the Gill Foundation also pledged $250,000 to protect the Stonewall Inn from its own financial difficulties.