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

Lampost Bar
Location: 440 W. Michigan Street, Milwaukee



Male/ female



Although exact dates that the Lampost Bar existed are unknown, the known information of the bar is related by researcher Michail Takach in a November 2018 posting in the Facebook group:

    "On July 10, 1958, Samuel Eskin was arrested for "pandering" at the Lampost (440 W. Michigan St.) He lost his bartender's license, was sent for psychiatric evaluation, and was put on a one-year probation. He was also forbidden from returning to the Lampost Bar.

    "Why? Because "pandering" at the time was a keyword for "pimping," and Eskin was known to arrange meetings between men and other men -- in private rooms at the Royal Hotel across the street. He was finally caught in 1958 when he set up a patrolman with a male "date." The owners denied any knowledge of Eskin's dealings and ended his employment.

    "As a long-time underground gambling venue, the "old Lamp Post Tavern" was bombarded by federal raids in the early 1960s. Tips on horse races, sports games and boxing matches were phoned in from the bar to Los Angeles and New York. Lampost owners, brother Charles and John Piscuine, were charged with illegal gambling several times.

    "The bar sparked controversy in 1960 and 1962 for allowing female performers Martha Artis and Julie Davis to sit at the bar and socialize with patrons after their shows. This behavior was banned by Milwaukee city ordinance since the "come-on girl" epidemic of the 1930s. The Piscuines asked Judge Christ Seraphim to consider if that ordinance might be out of date and out of touch for 1960s liberal Milwaukee. Ulitimately, they and their performers were let off the hook with $1 "symbolic" fines.

Takach was unable to find a great photo of the latter-day Lampost. He did find an exterior photo of the building from 1933 and a street shot of Michigan Street from 1948.

    Takach concluded: "Charles Piscuine moved on to manage the Towne Room Bar at the Towne Hotel (723 N. 3rd St.) before his death in 1969. Oddly, his obituary mentions that he will be remembered for his gambling habit."

In addition to the Royal Hotel across Michigan street to the south (the bar in which had several LGBT bar identities over the years), across 5th Avenue to the west existed a building that over time housed three LGBT landmarks: the New Yorker Lounge from 1952 to 1975; the Loop Cafe from 1963 to 1970, and The Lib Bookstore from 1971 to 1986, when that building was demolished.



Building on NE corner of Michigan and 5th Street
(The Lampost would likely have had its entrance at the near corner entrance)

View of Michigan Street facing East
from about 6th Street

(date unknown)

Credits: web site concept, contents, design and arrangement by Don Schwamb.
Photo and research courtesy of Michail Takach.
National gay guide research by Don Schwamb.
Last updated: February-2022.

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