Attention gay Milwaukee: Let’s take a look-see at what some of the most noteworthy gay bars in Milwaukee have to offer.
Map of Milwaukee’s Gay Bars
1) This Is It!
The Badger state’s O.G. gay bar is a no-brainer for anyone looking to be looking, and it recently expanded: 17-foot ceilings, movie projectors, an additional fully stocked bar and audio and lighting. Hands down the best part of this glow up is the two – YES, TWO – additional bathrooms.
With its carpeted walls and vintage light fixtures, this hidden gem of a watering hole has the friendliest group of, well, friends behind the bar. It’s a true safe space with a crowd that includes young and old swigging stiff concoctions that are some of the biggest bangs for your buck in the city. Be careful though: mixed drinks here are doubles and 2-4-1’s (even 3-4-1’s are abundant on certain days of the week). If the flashing lights go off, don’t be shook; slog your way to the bar and get yourself a BOGO drink before you miss your opportunity.
418 E. Wells St.
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.
739 S. 1st St.
This off-the-beaten-path saloon may seem far from the epicenter of gay Milwaukee (hello, South 2nd Street), but with a little perseverance and patience you’ll be through the back door in no time. Ample parking and a clean interior give this gay bar an edge over some of the competition, but the real jewel in this Queen’s crown is the patio. In the summer expect fire pits and plush seating unseen anywhere else on this list. As Daddy Winter turns his big burly head toward Wisconsin, the patio gets hot (meaning: they cover and heat the thing).
354 E. National Ave.
Hey there, it’s just your friendly gayborhood bar, Fluid, here. A great atmosphere complete with ever-changing holiday decorations that put the average bar to shame: that’s just the tip of why this is gay bar is always a good idea. If you are looking to sip and sit around a fire while admiring the sweet melody of the city, Fluid’s back patio is open year-round and worth it.
819 S. 2nd St.
The lesbian bar of The Good Land is a must for anyone interested in familiarizing themselves with LGBTQ+ bars along this stretch of Lake Michigan. If you are strutting your stuff around town while the sun is up and want to catch a Sunday Packer game while grabbing a nice n’ cold beer on S. 2nd St., you found your spot. If the sun has set, then this tavern is where pleasantness meets a sea of dance-happy ladies. So, if the D.J. is up front (especially fan favorite D.J. Shawna), and your ditty is playing, find some elbow room and rave. If dancing is not your kink, there’s pool in the back and a clean patio where you can catch up with your Good Judy.
818 S. 2nd St.
6) LVL Dance
One of the biggest gay bars in town – a real size queen – is located on the corner of S. 2nd and National. Belly up to one of its many bars for a vodka soda. Or see a drag show upstairs at one of the loveliest venues in the state, in absolute comfort with plenty of room to breathe. Searching for calories? LVL Bistro is also on site. Why not grab a Friday fish fry and then dance the calories off in the icon cage located just off-center in the middle of LVL’s massive dance floor? There may be a cover charge on certain evenings, but if the revelry is on, it is well worth it.
801 S. 2nd St.
7) Harbor Room
Are you fetished? I mean famished? One of the only gay bars on this list to offer food also brings much more to the table. Harbor Room is the place you want to be if you are looking for a large array of fetish gear and sociable cohorts to converse with. This institution hosts frequent pop-up shops for all those delightfully daring folks out there considering a little something besides the basic.
117 E. Greenfield Ave.
If we were to try and enlighten the masses by saying dinner and a show is what Hamburger Mary’s is, it would be some shade. The tea is: this drag-obsessed institution is so much more. There really is dinner and a show, but Mary’s also serves as a bar, eatery, arcade, bingo venue, stage and an all-around good time for everyone. Which is exactly who you will encounter there: everyone. Any and all walks of life will enter its garage doors, which is part of its magic.
730-734 S. 5th St.
The last great sports bar in town. Why? Because it is not only a sports bar but a gay sports bar. Packer parties are a standout here. If watching isn’t your thing, there is a game room in the back. Best your buddies by making it to the top of the score board. There are games like darts, pool, game machines and air hockey that let you show your dominant side to your masculine colleagues, all with a pick-me-up within arm’s reach.
1579 S. 2nd St.