November 13, 2011

New York, NY. December, 2008

Is Julius’ the oldest gay bar in New York? It claims to be. Also the oldest bar in Greenwich Village, serving up drink since 1864. And on a bad night, it looks as if many of the original patrons are still in attendance. I think Julius’ may have been the first gay bar I ever went to, back when I was in college in the late 1960s. (Or was it the Stonewall? One or the other.) I remember being terrified of going inside, practicing what I would order in advance, trying to act nonchalant. I worked my way up to the bar and asked the flamboyant bartender for an Old-Fashioned. (What made me choose that? Why didn’t I just go for a beer?) The bartender screamed to the crowd, “Oh, this one wants an Old-Fashioned! I guess she’s just an old-fashioned girl!” I was mortified. Years later, after attending Lily Tomlin’s opening night on Broadway, I popped in to this West 10th Street mainstay for a drink and realized I was in line behind the priest who was the headmaster of the Catholic prep school I’d attended. He got his drink, turned around, saw me, blushed and said, “Oh, well. I guess my secret is out.” “What secret?” I asked.

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