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Homophobia in Hipsterland: Landlord Bans Brooklyn Gay Bar

Monday Apr 21, 2014
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  (Source:Lulu’s Website)

Homophobia in the heart of a hipster heaven?

A Brooklyn bar owner’s Long Island landlord is banning him from turning his pub in the Greenpoint neighborhood of the borough into gay bar. The New York Post reports.

The leased Premises shall be used by Tenant as a restaurant and bar. It shall not be used for adult entertainment and shall not be operated as a gay or lesbian bar and/or restaurant.

Not exactly the kind of clause you’d expect to see on lease for a business in uber-progressive New York City, much less Brooklyn, the place former Borough President Marty Markowitz dubbed "The Lesbian Capital of the Northeast."

And yet it is this sentence that is preventing John McGillion, owner of Lulu’s in the Greenpoint area of Brooklyn, from re-branding his pub to take advantage of the growing LGBT community in the up-and-coming neighborhood.

"I am barely scraping by on the proceeds of the bar... If I am permitted to operate a gay bar at the premises I believe that I will be able to make a considerable profit," McGillion said in Brooklyn Supreme Court papers filed last week.

He has withheld the rent for months and has been battling landlord Guard General Merchandise Corp. (identified in public records as Janet Berger of the chic Long Island village of Manhasset) for more than a year over the issue, but says she won’t budge.

He’s even tried selling the business a few times, but says the deals fell through when the landlord tried to triple the rent for prospective buyers.

"When we went in there 10 years ago we were taking a big risk. Ten years later there’s a big, big difference. Their property is a lot more valuable," McGillion said.

The once off-the-beaten-track neighborhood in north Brooklyn has seen a resurgence in the past decade and has been popularized in recent years as the locale for the hit HBO series "Girls."

According to McGillion there are many upsides to re-branding as a "gay" establishment.

"They do well because you don’t have issues of fighting," he said. "They’re nice people, they’re wonderful to deal with. It’s easier. Typically you don’t have to offer food."

Comments

  • Jonathan Willner, 2014-04-22 22:48:19

    This case has nothing to do with gay marriage. From a legal point of view, however, it is an interesting case. I’ll be interested to see what the courts have to say about it.


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