While many of Milwaukee's gay and lesbian bars were once exclusive single-sexed joints unfriendly to outsiders, times are changing. Now, these bars house eclectic and diverse crowds of patrons who enjoy dancing, karaoke, pool, shows or simply drinking and being sociable.
With PrideFest in full swing (June 12-14), we thought it was a good time to revisit out LGBTQ lineup. If you don't see your favorite spot listed here, use the Talkback feature to let us know about it.
722 E. Burleigh St., (414) 372-7880
This Riverwest bar welcomes a mixed crowd of men and women, both gay and straight. With rotating, provocative art shows, a full-service cafe and live music, Art Bar draws an eclectic group of people for coffee, happy hours and late-night entertainment.
The Ball Game
196 S. 2nd St., (414) 273-7474
Boasting the longest cocktail hour in town and opening at 2 p.m., this classic gay bar offers nightly drink specials. Drink prices are up to a lottery system on Tuesdays and Thursdays and, if you're lucky, cocktails can cost as little as 25 cents. The front lounge features retro-style leather chairs and memorabilia from films like "Animal House" and "Psycho." Pool, darts and other diversions available, too.
Boot Camp Saloon
209 E. National Ave., (414) 643-6900
As the name might suggest, this Walker's Point bar is a meeting place for the leather / Levi's crowd. It's also got a great patio open in summer.
City Lights Chill & Grill
111 W. Howard Ave., (414) 481-1441
This South Side spot is a destination for sandwiches and snacks, in addition to great drink specials.
Club Boom & The Room
625 & 623 S. 2nd St., (414) 277-5040
Here you'll find two adjacent gay bars within the same building: Club Boom, the fast-paced, dance-y, more traditional gay bar and The Room, the posh bar that attracts more of a mixed crowd.
739 S. 1st St., (414) 510-2417
Formerly known as The General's, this club has undergone a transformation in the past few weeks and is now catering toward a male clientele. The corner location (in a building that long housed Timer's) makes it a good spot to start or finish the evening.
819 S. 2nd St., (414) 643-5843
Fluid is a fashionable, straight-friendly bar with comfortable love seats nestled in the back of the room. Beautiful decor, a delicious martini menu and a friendly atmosphere make the bar a great place.
The Harbor Room
117 E. Greenfield Ave., (414) 672-7988
Another Walker's Point hangout known for leather penchant. Plus, shirtless men always get rail drinks and domestic beers for half price!
707 E. Brady St., (414) 810-1809
A new establishment on the East Side, offers a kitchen with healthy offerings in a smoke-free environment (ahead of the state-wide ban).
200 E. Washington St., (414) 389-3596
Formery Club 200 East.
354 E. National Ave., (414) 272-5789
Kruz is a gay scene hot spot. It's a fun, lively place to have a drink with friends, play pool or, in the warmer months, grab a seat around the outdoor fire pits on the patio.
801 S. 2nd St., (414) 383-8330
It's Milwaukee's oldest gay dance club and it's a good time for anyone, regardless of sexual orientation. With six bars and numerous dance floors, La Cage's lively dance music and various video screens makes for an invigorating night of body moving. Every Friday, female impersonators show off their talents.
The Mad Planet
533 E. Center St., (414) 263-4555
Although not officially a "gay bar," this Riverwest classic is a gay-and-lesbian friendly dance club. Its Friday night '80s retro dance party is legendary in this town.
Mona's Out N About
1407 S. 1st St., (414) 643-0377
There is always something happening at Mona's, a neighborhood bar, restaurant and dance club in the shadow of the Allen-Bradley Clock Tower. It's got split-level seating, with drink and food specials daily and seems to be a favorite with the over 30 crowd.
801 S 2nd St., (414) 383-8330
The upper level of LaCage offers an upscale show lounge and dancing on some nights.
1500 W. Scott St., (414) 647-2673
Opening as a quasi-gay bar popular wit lesbians in the early 1980s, Kathy's Nut Hut shortened to just the Nut Hut in 2002 and has operated as an openly lesbian and gay bar ever since.
1875 N. Humboldt Ave., (414) 224-7660
The warm-colored interior of Redroom makes this no-frills lounge the perfect place for a first date or small gathering with friends.
3945 N 35th St., (414) 442-7007
Formerly called Purr, this spot off Capitol Drive is a favorite with the gay African-American community.
This Is It!
418 E. Wells St., (414) 278-9192
This is one of those unmarked bars, so a bit hard to find. Inside, the lounge is decorated with red carpet walls and smoke glass mirrors and is popular for its older clientele and distinct jukebox.
135 E. National Ave., (414) 383-9412
Who needs the phrase "It's noon somewhere" when Milwaukee's own Triangle opens at noon Monday through Thursday and at 6 a.m. (hello!) Friday though Sunday.
625 South 5th St. (414) 460-6277
The salsa and cumbia music throb at this LGBT dance club which features female impersonators and more.
818 S. 2nd St., (414) 643-7468
You'll find a mostly lesbian crowd here, hence the slogan, "Where every night is ladies night."
Wherehouse -- Hot Water
818 S. Water St., (414) 383-7593
Wear your dancing pants to this "upscale industrial" nightclub spot. It's got two dance clubs sharing a building: Wherehouse and Hot Water. Friday nights are LGBTQ night and every other Friday is country night.
1579 S. 2nd St., (414) 672-0806
Claiming to have some of the hottest men in town as its patrons, Woody's is a friendly bar with darts, pool tables, NTN trivia and snacks such as pizza and garlic bread. The big back room makes for an excellent party hall.