West Village Bar Honored With Plaque Commemorating LGBTQ+ 'Sip-In'
Photo of the new plaque, honoring the "Sip In," outside of Julius' Bar | Photo by Village Preservation
New York City paid homage to a group of LGBTQ+ activists who were denied service 56 years years ago after they walked into Julius’ Bar, 159 W. 10th St., and announced they were gay.
A new plaque dons the wall outside of Julius’ Bar which details the April 21, 1966 “Sip In,'' an event that challenged the city’s regulations that banned serving LGBTQ+ people.
"It was one point during all the early struggles where I was able to actually make a footprint in history," sip-in participant Randy Wicker said at the ceremony. "Julius' will always be special in my mind."
The plaque was presented by the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project in collaboration with Village Preservation.
Activists from The Mattachine Society invited press to the “Sip In” in hopes of raising awareness to the New York State Liquor Authority regulations that prohibited bars from serving drinks to LGBTQ+ people. Their plan worked. The story appeared in several major New York City newspapers the following day.
The "Sip-In" occurred three years before the Stonewall Riots.
"Everyone has a dream that everything started with Stonewall," Walker said. "Well I started in 1958, and that was 11 years before Stonewall."
The plaque at Julius' is the 19th that Village Preservation has placed in Greenwich Village, East Village and Noho.
"We cracked the chains that held the Village and the gay community in this country locked in the hands of the criminal underground who owned the gay bars," Walker said. "It is sort of amazing to be here today."