Real Estate & Property Law

Owner of Brooklyn bar sues landlord over lease provision prohibiting 'gay or lesbian' bar

A Brooklyn, N.Y., bar owner is suing his landlord over a lease provision that he says prohibits him from catering to a “gay or lesbian” clientele.

John McGillion, owner of the Brooklyn bar Lulu’s, is asking a Brooklyn Supreme Court judge to declare the provision “invalid,” the New York Post reports.

McGillion told the Post there are several advantages to operating a gay establishment over a straight one.

“They do well because you don’t have issues of fighting,” he said. “They’re nice people, they’re wonderful to deal with. It’s easier. Typically you don’t have to offer food.”

According to court papers, the lease for Lulu’s contains a clause prohibiting the premises from being used for “adult entertainment” or as a “gay or lesbian bar and/or restaurant.”

McGillion said he has been locked in a dispute over the issue with his landlord for more than a year, but that so far the landlord has refused to budge.

“I don’t know what their problem is. Who knows? I thought those days were over,” he said. “I mean, who cares, today? Gays—everybody’s got their rights. What’s the big deal?”

McGillion also said he has tried several times to sell Lulu’s, but that all of the deals fell through because the landlord insisted on tripling the rent. “When we went in there 10 years ago we were taking a big risk. Ten years later there’s a big, big difference. Their property is a lot more valuable.”

The landlord, identified in public records as Janet Berger of Manhasset, N.Y., declined to comment, the Post said.

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