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

Danceteria /
27th Street Danceteria
Location: 618 N. 27th Street, Milwaukee WI


March 8, 1985
June 1987

Male/ female
Bar/ social



27th Street Danceteria was another in a long line of bars opened and managed by Chuck Cicirello, perhaps the most prolific of gay bar owners in Milwaukee's history. Chuck previously operated the Neptune Club, then the legendary "Factory" bar and two other follow-ups to that (Factory II and 3).

This location was not new to LGBTQ bars however. The building had been the Lost & Found from late 1978 to Sept. 1984, known as "Milwaukee's First Women's Disco" and "Wisconsin's Largest Women's Bar (where everyone is welcome)". The bar then reopened under new ownership as the Music Box, which only lasted from October 1984 to February 1985. Chuck took a chance on the bar hoping for at least as long a life as the Lost & Found.

Originally opened in March 1985 as a juice bar to make for a place for all ages (including underage people) to meet, mingle, and dance, 27th Street Danceteria advertised as the "first private late night juice club" and "Party 'til Dawn" with closing time shown as 5am and 6am some nights-- well past the 2pm closing of bars service liquor. Photos from opening night in 'In Step' magazine vol. 2-07 showed Scott Olson as manager and Kim Zwelbahmer as DJ.

But the bar ran into a legal dilemma when it was discovered that dancing was not allowed past midnight unless the location held a liquor license. It was thus forced to apply for a liquor license to make dancing available up to bar-closing time. It reopened as such in May 1985, with the formal "Grand Opening' of the reopened bar held Saturday August 3.

Originally attracting all gays and lesbians (due to Chuck's previous mega-bars, the Factory bars), 27th Street Danceteria eventually become known more as a black gay/ lesbian bar and dance club. The bar closed in June 1987, disappearing from Bar listings that month.

Letter to customers from 'Chuck & Scott'
(In Step volume 2-20, October 1985)
(In Step volume 3-06, April 1986)
Advertisement, February 1987

Advertisement: "Premiering first private late night juice club"
(In Step volume 2-05, March 1985)

Juice Club Membership card

"Reopening soon with alcohol" Advertisement
(In Step volume 2-09, May 1985)

from "Steppin Out"
(In Step volume 3-16, August 1986)

Credits: web site concept, design and contents by Don Schwamb.
Last updated: July-2023.

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