Rascals Bar & Grill has been the Fox Valley's steady rock in gay/ lesbian bars from November 1992.
Previous to Rascals opening, Appleton's main GLBT bar for many years was 1101 West (c1980-88), and then Pivot Club took over the lead when it opened in 1986. When Rascals opened, it was the young upstart, its main advantage being location (Pivot Club was much larger, with large dance floor and stage- but Rascals was much closer to the downtown areas). But since the Pivot Club closed in 1995, Rascals has firmly held the lead (with only passing competion from Diversions (1997-1999) (outside Neenah), and for a brief time, Crossroads (2000-2007), a smaller mostly-lesbian bar, and Ravens (2007-2013).
In 2000, original partner Glenn Paschen sold out to co-owner Todd West, who has owned the bar ever since.
Although on Saturday nights some of the crowd will travel to Green Bay for the larger (and wider variety of) bars, on Friday nights Rascals rules! It attracts a good crowd early for fish fry (excellent cod and perch), and maintains the crowd into the late hours. Its grill makes for good eats most any time, with excellent burgers, fries, and sandwiches. It is also a good spot for Sunday afternoon relaxation and drinks on the patio, and during the season for Packer games.
Each Christmas season, Rascals goes all out to decorate. In 2006 for example, the entire bar was filled with white-flock tree branches and evergreen boughs, and lit with black lights, making relaxing with a drink feel like you're in the middle of a forest right after a snowfall. Great bar!
Am excellent article about the bar's history appeared in the June 22, 2016 'Post Crescent' newspaper, titled "Rascals has long been a gay refuge in Appleton".
The history of LGBT bars in Northeastern Wisconsin was the subject of an excellent article in the Green Bay Press Gazette in 2020.
Credits: bar history by Don Schwamb.
Last updated: August-2023.
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