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D.I.X. Milwaukee, known locally simply as 'DIX', was opened June 11, 2010 by Elizabeth Kujawa. It occupied the space on the corner of National Ave. and S. 1st Street which had long been known as a 'straight' bar, 'Timers'.
According to an article OnMilwaukee in 2016, Kujawa originally opened the former 'Timers' bar late in 2007, calling it "The General's" because friends gave her "The General" as a nickname. The article goes on:
"The first name, however, didn't work. It confused people and business started to slag. "Straights thought we were gay; gays thought we were straight," says Kujawa. "I knew I was going after the boys. Most of them are educated, have money, no kids and they like to drink," she says. "And after all, I'm in the heart of the gayborhood."
"She went on gaycities.com and researched the name of other gay bars... Nothing jumped out at her, but she did notice a number of bars called "Dick's" and she got an idea. She decided to change the spelling to D.I.X. because of the correlation with Roman Numerals – DIX is 509 in Roman numerals. Historically, Roman men often had male lovers before they got married to women."
In an article in "Quest magazine" discussing new bars opening in Milwaukee, the write-up for DIX reads: "...D.I.X. takes over a classic victorian bar.. There are two large rooms and will featyure video scree s with a feel like 'Sidetracks' (a popular LGBT bar in Chicago) says co-owner Cory Bartel who moved up from New Orleans to open the bar with Liz (his sister Elizabeth)."
This was a great location, and at the time made that 2-block-square area once again the host of 4 LGBT bars: the La Cage dance club was on the corner 1 block away to the west, and Walker's Pint and Fluid less than 1/2 block to the south from that corner. (Until just the previous year, 'Switch' bar had also been in the area.) And yet another LGBT bar, 'Kruz', was about 3 blocks further to the east.
During the early 2020's, their Facebook page read: "Oh, you do drag? I’m sure you do, diva. If you want to get to know Milwaukee’s drag scene, D.I.X. is where you should imbibe. This bar sees some of the finest and most frequent drag shows in the Cream City (bring money, tip lots). When the show is over, werk in cahoots with the D.J. to slowly erode the foundation of this cornerstone of Milwaukee gay bars by bouncing vigorously to the latest club mix of this or that femme fatale of the music industry. When visiting, a good pic is a must – journey into the photo booth, catch one of the regular photographers near the bar or scamper into the unisex bathroom for a selfie in front of the monstrous mirror before snatching yourself a fresh drink at the back bar."
DIX also had an excellent relationship with its neighboring bar to the west, Fat Daddy's. That ('straight') bar had long been friendly to the LGBT community, having previously been next-door (to their west side) to LGBT bar 'Switch'. Fat Daddy's had a large sand volleyball court to their east, between the Fat Daddy building and the D.I.X. Milwaukee building- and the relationship between the two bars allowed both to use the court. It was a great setting for team volleyball, and in 2021, while 'PrideFest' was absent from the scene, DIX and Fat Daddy had a joint "Fat D.I.X. Pride Beach Party" taking full advantage of the court for a drag show and party (see photos on "Images and Articles page.)
Through it all, DIX seems to have gone the way of low to non-existent paid advertising. We have been unable to locate a single paid advertisemnt in LGBT media that existed from the time the bar opened in June 2010 until the last LGBT media publication covering Milwaukee "Quest magazine" folded late in 2018. They appear to have concentrated during that time only of word of mouth and social media posts (primarily Facebook). They also failed to reply to several attempts by the webmaster to contact them for input for this page.
UrbanMilwaukee published an online article for their "Bar Exam" series about DIX in April 2016 that examines the building's history.
Credits: contents, design and arrangement by Don Schwamb.
Last updated: September-2021.
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