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

Location: 235 S. 2nd Street


October 1993
October 1994

Female/ male
Bar/ social



Deja-Vu was a short-lived bar, in the space previously occupied by The Phoenix. This location was the southern anchor of an area of several gay bars in a 1 block area: also including C'est La Vie, Gary's/ Circus/ Club 219, and the BallGame to the north.

To the best of our knowledge, Deja-Vu existed for only a single year, from September or October 1993 to the same time in 1994. The bar is not seen in bar listings before or after those two dates.

In the 1990's the area was a gay mecca lost ground, mostly due to the neighborhood. The Club 219, which for a while was the largest and most popular gay dance club in Milwaukee, was eclipsed by La Cage, and that area (about 8 blocks to the south, around National Avenue) became the center of gay bars and activity. The neighborhood in this area also began to became gentrified, with condos and art galleries moving into the area; these detracted from the closed "gay neighborhood" feeling, and also greatly restricted availability of parking.

This space was first known as an LGBT bar when a popular bar called Oregon House (approx 1976-1979) occupied the space. Followed by the Phoenix (approx 1979-1993), Deja-Vu lasted for just one year, followed briefly by the mixed lesbian/gay bar, 'Dish' (approx. 1998-2000) and then by a mostly lesbian bar, 'Ginger' (approx. 2008-2011).

More information about this business is welcomed from anyone who can contribute it.

Interior photos (unknown photographer)
(Photos discovered and contributed by Jamakaya)

Humorous "Letter to the Editor"
from 'Uptown/ Downtown' publication
vol 1 (Nov 93)
The building as it appeared in 2004
(corner location at far left)

View of the building, late 2006
(corner location at far left)
View of the building, late 2006
View of the block, late 2006

Advertisement from
In Step, vol 10 #19 (Sept-Oct 1993)

Advertisement from
Uptown/ Downtown, vol 1 (Nov 93)

Credits: contents, design and arrangement by Don Schwamb.
Last updated: July-2020.

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