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New Jersey Plans to Apologize for Its History of Targeting Gay Bars

Plus, a new night market launches in southeast Queens — and more intel

People walk along a parkway with overhanging lamps with the NYC skyline in the background
New Jersey’s Liberty State Park
Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

New Jersey to issue official apology for how the state wielded liquor laws against gay bars in the 20th century

On Tuesday, the state of New Jersey — and its attorney general, Gurbir S. Grewal — is expected to issue a public apology acknowledging its past history of using liquor laws to shut down gay bars, the New York Times reports. The targeted acts mainly occurred between the end of Prohibition in 1933 through 1967, when the state’s Supreme Court finally banned the practice.

As part of the announcement, the state is publicly releasing a slew of documents that chronicle painful policies that targeted gay bar patrons over decades, including yanking liquor licenses and issuing citations over instances like an Asbury Park bar serving men who “rocked and swayed their posteriors in a maidenly fashion” in 1956, according to the report.

The state will also be lifting penalties against the bars that were targeted — although none are believed to still be operating — as a symbolic gesture of apology. Inspectors with the state’s liquor control board are now required to participate in implicit bias training going forward, and a plaque will be unveiled on Tuesday evening at the former site of Asbury Park’s Paddock Bar, which was closed down after multiple raids, the Times reports. The historical documents that were publicly released today will also be incorporated into sample lesson plans in New Jersey’s public middle and high schools.

In other news

— Fine dining chef Shaun Hergatt, who launched upscale seafood spot Vestry in Soho’s Dominick Hotel last fall, is now opening a new restaurant inside Resorts World on the Las Vegas Strip.

— Canadian vegan chain Odd Burger is scouting out locations for an NYC expansion, Chain Store Age reports.

— Superstar and Sona consultant Priyanka Chopra dined at the buzzy Flatiron Indian restaurant for the first time this past weekend.

— A vegan community fridge opens at Essex Market on the Lower East Side.

— A new night market highlighting organic and vegan food from dozens of Black vendors is forming in southeast Queens.

— “Last Call: The Shutdown of NYC Bars,” a documentary exploring the effects of the pandemic on the city’s bar industry, is debuting at Queens World Film Festival on Saturday, July 3. Tickets are available for a 1 p.m. in-person screening and an 8 p.m. virtual screening and cost $10 to $15, respectively.

— Downtown nightlife fixture Travis Bass is eyeing the former Cafe Petisco space for a new restaurant on the Lower East Side.

— Happy Tuesday: