A couple pieces of news we weren’t expecting over the weekend: longtime Greenpoint stalwart Lulu’s apparently isn’t doing so hot, and in a bid to stay afloat, has been fighting their landlord for over a year in hopes of becoming a gay bar, according to a lawsuit filed last week. Apparently, their lease specifically prohibits the place from being run as a gay bar.
In his court papers, owner John McGillion writes, “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,” and has estimated he could make “40 to 50 percent” more money if he were allowed to move forward with the plans.
“They do well because you don’t have issues of fighting,” said McGillion of his hypothetical gay clientele. “They’re nice people, they’re wonderful to deal with. It’s easier. Typically you don’t have to offer food.” (This looks like it’d mean an end to Lulu’s free pizza, then.)
Facing ongoing losses, McGilion has tried to sell the bar several times over the years, but his landlords at Guard General Merchandise Corp. have reportedly scared away prospective buyers by tripling the asking price. Now, with just 10 months on the lease, he’s hoping for permission to move forward with Lulu’s-as-gay-bar plans, and extend his contract by two or three years, according to the Post. “I don’t know what [the landlord’s] problem is. Who knows? I thought those days were gone,” said McGillion. “I mean, who cares, today? Gays—everybody’s got their rights. What’s the big deal?”
This does seem like a crazy thing to write into a lease (not to mention a crazy thing to agree to in the first place), and I’d be curious to know if this is in any way common practice, or just an absurd, bigoted fluke specific to the Lulu’s landlord. In any case, while they fight it out, may as well turn this into an excuse to stop by Lulu’s and grab a few drinks next time you’re in the area. It’d be a shame to see ’em go, gay bar or no.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.