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Dawn Musbach was the most recent owner of Nut Hut. She ran the bar with her partner, Michelle Murphy.
Dawn Musbach was the most recent owner of Nut Hut. She ran the bar with her partner, Michelle Murphy.

Nut Hut is closed

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In 2011, my friend Dave Mikolajek – you might know him as "College Dave" – introduced me to Kathy’s Nut Hut (usually referred to as simply "Nut Hut"), 1500 W. Scott St. 

It had already been around for more than two decades and I was eager to tell the story of this wonderful neighborhood LGBT bar.

Dave told me today that the Nut Hut is closed. The owners, supposedly, sold the bar to a new owner. At this point, not much else is known.

The original owner, Kathy Krau, sold the business a few years ago to friend and Nut Hut bartender, Michelle Murphy, who ran the business with her partner, Dawn Musbach.

The first three paragraphs of the piece I wrote in 2011 sum up the place quite well, I think.

Kathy Krau did not intend to open a lesbian bar when she opened Kathy's Nut Hut, 1500 W. Scott St., in 1982. She says she thought she was opening primarily a "straight" bar, especially since she inherited the mostly heterosexual neighborhood clientele from the previous bar.

But it didn't take long for gay women, particularly those involved on softball and pool teams, to find the place. Word traveled fast through the lesbian community that Krau, who is gay, opened a comfortable, affordable tavern.

What happened next is almost idyllic. The old-school clientele, members of the LGBT community and young, new guys from the neighborhood started hanging out in the same space. And they interacted. And they got along.

I am sorry to see the Nut Hut go. It was another example of Milwaukee’s ability to practice tolerance and acceptance. I hope to report more on Nut Hut – and what will become of the space – when the information becomes available.


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