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

Grand Avenue Pub
Location: 716 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee WI


June 1982
July 29, 1988

Male/ female
Bar/ Restaurant/ social


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The Grand Avenue Pub was opened on Wisconsin Avenue (which was known from the late 1800's to the mid 1900's as Grand Avenue) by Paul and his lover Scott. The business was equally bar and restaurant, doing a good lunch business for the west-end of downtown's business and hotel crowd, as well as evening meals. Friday fish fry was particularly popular with gay men and lesbian women, attracting them for Friday night drinking as well as Saturday evening meals and drinks. The location also was convenient to the nearby Club Baths for patrons with more than food and drink in mind.

According to 'In Step' magazine, owner Paul sold the bar around April of 1984 "for a good price" due to other business interests; it was rumored he might move to the West Coast. But the bar continued to operate.

For a while business was good, so that in August 1986, when it appeared the lease on the Pub would not be renewed, the bar owners opened another bar nearby, which they called the Grand Avenue Annex. A few months later, when the Pub's lease was renewed, they closed the Annex and continued to operate 'The Pub' (aka 'The GAP').

Over time however, the area began to undergo changes. Early in 1988 the Club Baths closed; and soon, other leases in the area began to be cancelled as plans for an apartment/condo development to replace all structures on the block got underway. There were rumors that another bar owner (George Prentice) was going to buy the bar, but George himself denied that this was ever in the works. Regardless, the Grand Aveneue Pub closed on July 29, 1988 after a fairly popular and successful six years in business.


Advertisement, May 1983

Premature bar-closing announcement
(InStep vol 1 issue 7, Steppin' Out)

(InStep vol 3-13, July 1986)

Credits: web site concept, format, design and bar history by Don Schwamb.
Closing date confirmed by Michail Takach.
Last updated: August-2023.

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