We found out over the weekend that John McGillion, the owner of Lulu’s, is suing his landlord, Guard General Merchandise Corp, for not allowing him to turn the establishment into a gay bar. McGillion told the Post that gay-ifying the bar would boost his customer base and raise profits, allowing him to survive in the now quite competitive Greenpoint nightlife market.
But apparently the lease has a specific homophobic clause forbidding this: “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.” Just the grouping of “adult entertainment” and “gay bar” is ridiculous/offensive, but so is including this level of discrimination in a legal document. What if the lease prohibited the bar from catering to blacks or Jews? Imagine that outrage that would cause.
Lulu’s has been around since 2005, but since so many other places have opened up in the immediate area (i.e. Ramona, Broken Land, etc.), it’s easy to see how making a consistent profit would be a the struggle. Even with free pizza!!! According to the Post, McGillon wrote in the Supreme Court papers filled last week: “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.”
Greenpoint is sorely lacking a gay bar, so McGillion might be onto something. Veronica People’s Club closed in the Spring of 2012. Blackout closed in the Fall of that year. Sugar land shut its doors in February. We still have Metropolitan Bar and This n’ That in Williamsburg (which has Ru Paul’s Drag Race screenings every Monday FYI), but there are clearly some geographic gaps here.
When Veronica People’s Club closed, Kelly Gorman, a promoter who hosted events at Blackout as well as the famed Kielbasa gay party, told the NY Times: many longtime Greenpointers “don’t necessarily want us there” and do not want their neighborhood to change, “especially when it comes to gay events.”
We’ll be keeping track of the case, but until then, we are left to gaze up at the stars in the Brooklyn night sky and ask, ever so gently, like a lone Disney character to a fairy princess about to grant one last wish….what would Dan Savage do? And then, it was as if he himself had answered our prayers from the homosexual heavens. We saw a sign. Despite all of this, Lulu’s is hosting the semi-finals of the Mr(s) Williamsburg pageant on 4/25… which is pretty much the apex of gay. Take solace in that, Lulu’s. Your parents might not let you come out on paper, but you can still do whatever the fuck you want when they’re not looking.