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

Grand Avenue Pub
Location: 716 W. Wisconsin Avenue


June 1982
late 1980's

Male/ female
Bar/ Restaurant/ social


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Grand Avenue Pub was opened on Wisconsin Avenue (which was known from the late 1800's to the mid 1900's as Grand Avenue) by Paul and his lover Scott. The business was equally bar and restaurant, doing a good lunch business for the west-end of downtown's business and hotel crowd, as well as evening meals. Friday fish fry was particularly popular with gay men and lesbian women, attracting them for Friday night drinking as well as Saturday evening meals and drinks. The location also was convenient to the nearby Club Baths for patrons with more than food and drink in mind.

According to In Step, owner Paul sold the bar around April of 1984 "for a good price" due to other business interests; it was rumored he might move to the West Coast. But the bar continued to operate.

For a while business was good, so that in August 1986, when it appeared the lease on the Pub would not be renewed, the owners opened another bar nearby, which they called the Grand Avenue Annex. A few months later, when the Pub's lease was renewed, they closed the Annex.

Over time however, the area began to undergo changes. Early in 1988 the Club Baths closed; and soon, other leases in the area began to be cancelled as plans for an apartment/condo development on the block got underway. The Grand Aveneue Pub closed sometime in 1988.


Advertisement, May 1983

Premature bar-closing announcement
(InStep vol 1 issue 7, Steppin' Out)

(InStep vol 3 issue 13)

Credits: bar history by Don Schwamb.
Last updated: January-2014.