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New York bar owner says lease prevents him from running gay bar

John McGillion wants court to declare prohibition invalid

A Brooklyn bar owner is hoping a court will invalidate a clause in his lease that prevents him from operating a gay bar. Credit: lulusbargreenpoint.com

A Brooklyn bar owner is hoping a court will invalidate a clause in his lease that prevents him from operating a gay bar.

According to a New York Post report, the lease under which John McGillion now runs Lulu’s, a bar he opened near the East River almost 10 years ago, specifically prohibits the use of the space for adult entertainment or as a “gay or lesbian bar and/or restaurant.” 

McGillion, who is suing landlord Guard General Merchandise Corp, with whom he’s been battling for more than a year, told the Post he could do a lot more business as a gay hotspot because of the growing presence of gays and lesbians in the neighbourhood. McGillion says he doesn’t understand what the “big deal” is. “I mean, who cares today? Gays — everybody’s got their rights,” he says.

McGillion adds that bars with gay customers fare well “because you don’t have issues of fighting,” and “they’re wonderful to deal with.”