History of Gay and Lesbian Life in Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Businesses - Bars and Clubs

The Beer Garden
Location: Originally 3715 W. Vliet Street
Relocated to 3743 W. Vliet Street


approx 1966
approx 1990

Female/ male
Bar/ social

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The Beer Garden was a mainstay of Milwaukee's gay life in the 1970's and into the 1980's. Although widely considered primarily a lesbian bar, it also attracted a strong men's presence.

The original proprietors were Roger and Sally, and they opened the original bar at 3715 W. Vliet. Late in 1971 or early in 1972, bar advertising changed to read 3743 W. Vliet, possibly because it took over additional space next door.

The Beer Garden held numerous dances and special events, contests, and particiapted in sports leagues, most notably hosting softball teams each year. The Beer Garden also served great food.

The August 1976 issue of the local "GLIB Guide" describes the business as follows: "Mostly gals bar with lots of guys reinforcing the crowd. Cozy canopied bar. Great Sunday brunch."

In 1986, an ad appeared stating that "After 20 years of serving the Milwaukee Gay and Lesbian community, Roger & Sally pass on the Beer Garden Tradition to New Owners". A "change of ownership" party on July 20, 1986 ushered in the new owners: Carole, Gloria & Sandy.

More information about the Beer Garden is welcome from anyone who can contribute it.


Recollections: The following are recollections of others who have been kind enough to submit their personal memories to the webmaster. You are welcome to do the same!

    The Beer Garden - Reminded me of a typical Milwaukee Tavern. They had great Sunday brunches.

    R Chris

Josie Carter inside the Beer Garden
(photo courtesy Josie Carter, via Jamie Taylor)
Article and Photos
Gay Business Guide, 1977
Interior photo
(canopied bar)
Gay Business Guide, August 1976
Interior photo
(restaurant area)
Gay Business Guide, August 1976

Advertisement, October 1971

Advertisement, May 1983

Credits: contents, design and arrangement by Don Schwamb.
Last updated: September-2009.