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NYC Bar Owner Sues Landlord over Lease Forbidding Gay Bar

A Brooklyn bar owner whose venue has been struggling is taking his landlord to court over a contract stipulation that he’s not allowed to run a gay bar or restaurant on the premises.

John McGillion, the owner of LuLu’s, feels that his struggling bar could be a much bigger success if he tried to attract LGBT customers, but has found that a clause in his lease prevents him from doing so:

“The Leased premises shall be used by Tenant as a restaurant and bar. It shall not be used for adult entertainment and shall not be operated as a gay or lesbian bar and/or restaurant.”

McGillion has filed a suit with the Brooklyn Supreme Court, hoping that the clause will be found invalid. “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,” McGillion said in the filing.

Apparently there has been an ongoing dispute between McGillion and his landlord, Dr. Janet Berger, over the lease. The battle has been going on for months, and McGillion has begun withholding his rent. He’s also attempted to sell the bar on multiple occasions, but Berger has told prospective buyers that she would triple the rent, effectively blocking McGillion from selling it.

Speaking of the area’s growing LGBT community and his desire to convert LuLu’s into a gay bar, McGillion said, “They do well because you don’t have issues of fighting. They’re nice people, they’re wonderful to deal with. It’s easier. Typically you don’t have to offer food.”

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