Dave Wolz, a lifelong Milwaukeean and member of the LGBTQ community, purchased La Cage nightclub, 801 S. 2nd St.
George Prentice and Corey Grubb opened the iconic gay bar and dance club in 1984 as “La Cage Aux Folles.” The two sold the business for a few years in the 2000s and reclaimed ownership in 2017. Now, they are ready for retirement.
Wolz, a software developer who is friends with Prentice and Grubb, had no intention of buying a bar. However, after having lunch with Grubb and Prentice in Florida last year and hearing they were looking for a buyer, he decided to help find one. Little did he know at the time that he was about to become the lucky new owner.
“I remember leaving that lunch and thinking to myself ‘this place cannot turn into another Walgreens or condos or another straight bar,’” says Wolz. “La Cage is the first gay bar I went to in the late 1990s, before I was even out to myself, and it has a lot of history and memories to me. I was certain La Cage needed to continue its tradition as Milwaukee's premiere LGBT nightclub.”
Life gets serendipitous sometimes, and this happened in Wolz’s world when his father passed away and suddenly left him in the financial position to buy a bar.
The transition of ownership went smoothly and La Cage will not be closed for any amount of time.
Wolz says he plans to make minor changes, but overall will keep it the same.
“Nothing drastic, nothing major. It will continue to be La Cage and an LGBT safe place where people can enjoy their heritage,” says Wolz. “Mostly this summer I will be absorbing and learning. La Cage has a momentum of its own and I need to learn the energy of the place and figure out what we can do to enhance and improve it.”
In the near future, Wolz plans to offer the second floor event space for free to non-profit organizations. He also hopes to create a larger happy hour scene on the main floor.
“I see myself as being a steward of this icon. I can't tell you how many times people have thanked me for keeping this in the family. It’s been humbling and scary at the same time. I am so proud to carry this forward and have this light burn even brighter than before,” says Wolz.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.