By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published May 12, 2006 at 5:27 AM

After 30 years in business, the M&M Club –- Milwaukee’s longest running gay bar –- is closing. Owner Bob Schmidt, who now lives in Florida, sold the building and rumor says an Irish pub will be moving into the Third Ward space at 124 N. Water St.

The final nights will feature classic M&M events, including Friday night's famous, family-style fish fry. On Saturday night, the club welcomes karaoke group Singsational followed by the semi-finals for the 2006 Pride Idol. The winner of Saturday night's contest will compete in the finals during Pride Fest, June 9-11.

Unfortunately, M&M will be officially closed on Sunday and will not serve a final brunch.

Jeff Whitt served as M&M's bar manager for the past 18 years. "This place has a 'Cheers-like' quality about it," he says. "It's clean, comfortable and the food's good. And it's the only gay club where people felt comfortable taking their parents and (straight) friends."

Whitt says M&M was the first gay bar to uncover its windows in 1984. Prior to that, gay clubs were boarded up and hidden from the public.

Long-time customer Mike Frey has an emotional tie to the bar and restaurant. "I came out late (in life) and it was a place I felt comfortable right away," he says.

Originally built in 1904 as a Pabst Brewing Co. Saloon and Boarding House, Schmidt bought the building in 1976 when the Third Ward was still an undesirable location.

Whitt says the decision to sell the building was a difficult one for Schmidt, who added the restaurant in 1978, making M&M the first -- and one of the few -- gay bars that served meals. In 1980, the patio was built, and the glass atrium was erected three years later.

As for Whitt's future, he's taking a well-deserved vacation. "I'm going to enjoy the sun for a while, and then move on to the next thing," he says.

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.