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

New Yorker Lounge
Location: 605 N. 5th Street, Milwaukee


July 1975

Male/ female
Restaurant/ Bar



The New Yorker Lounge was open from 1952 until July 1975 according to research by Michail Takach of the History Project. It was originally operated by former MPD officer George Bemis. Notably, George Bemis also operated the Fox Bar after 1955, when owner Frank Demling mysteriously died in a fall down the basement stairs at the Tunnel Inn (now the Safe House).

The New Yorker bar is listed in just a few national 'Gay Bar Guides': the 1972 Damron guide and the 1973 Guild Guide.

The New Yorker was across 5th Street from the notorious Lampost bar, and diagonally opposite Michigan Ave. from the Royal Hotel, whose bar held several LGBT bar identities over the years.

The black and white photo to the right is the only vintage photo known of both the site of the Loop Cafe (the first business on the left with the sign "FINE FOOD"), and the New Yorker gay bar (next door with the "Blatz" sign: 605 N. 5th St.). The color photo is the building about to be torn down, which at the time was The Lib bookstore.

    The large hotel beyond in both photos, with the sign "Sheraton-Schroeder" in the older photo, was so-named from 1965-1971. The hotel was bought in 1972 by the Marcus Corporation, and renamed the Marc Plaza. As of 2015, it is the Milwaukee Hilton.

The same building (on the NW corner of 5th and Michigan) held two other LGBT landmarks over time: the Loop Cafe from 1963 to 1970, and The Lib Bookstore from 1971 to 1986, when the building was demolished.


Listings in early "Gay Guides":
(For more information on the Guides, click here.)

1972 Bob Damron's Address Book
1973 Guild Guide
    Title pg   Editors note   Codes

Loop Cafe is to the left with the "FINE FOOD" sign
(c1971; see notes in the text to the left)

Photo of the area from about 1971
(see notes in the text to the left)

Photo of bldg about to be torn down, late 1986
(had been the Lib Bookstore most recently)
(photo by Don Schwamb)

Credits: web site concept, contents, design and arrangement by Don Schwamb.
Photo and research courtesy of Michail Takach.
National gay guide research by Don Schwamb.
Last updated: February-2022.

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