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

Location: 500 N. Water Street, Milwaukee WI



Men/ Women
Dance Bar


Nitro was the latest name for the Sundays-only gay bar most widely known as 'Park Avenue', reopened in 1992 as 'Nitro' after a million-dollar renovation-- but still a tri-level, 1,500-person capacity discotheque. Although believed to have opened with this name as early as 1992, it was first named in LGBT media in InStep magazine in February 1993 (issue 10-04) and not listed in the Bar Guide until In Step magazine issue 10-14 in July 1993.

Other than a few namings in In Step magazine (see images to right) for a few benefits, very little else is known about the Nitro, which called itself "Milwaukee's Premier Nightclub". This is likely because it was not formally a "gay" bar, more considered a discotheque that catered largely or exclusively to "Generation-X" teenagers.

(Sunday-only bars such as "Park Avenue" and "Sundays" was the source of a great deal of controversy among other bar owners, and caused the demise of at least one LGBT publication ("Gay Milwaukee" magazine). The issue was that other gay bar owners were upset with "sunday only" competition, and pressured LGBT publications to not accept advertising from Park Avenue and later Nitro. Gay Milwaukee stopped publishing partly for that reason (see articles on Park Avenue "Images" page), and it continued to be a hot topic among bar owners for years to come.)

Nitro quietly disappeared from In Step magazine after 1993. As a mainstream disco, it went on but is believed to have closed sometime in 1994 or 1995.

By the 2000's, the nightclub business waned, and the location would become a series of restaurants, including one named for then-Packer quarterback Brett Favre. In the mid 2010's rumors were that Milwaukee’s former “it spot” would be redeveloped as a hotel.

We will be researching the dates this bar was listed in the media bar Guides to try to narrow the timeline.

Any additional information is available from anyone willing to contribute it.

Photo of dance floor
(date unknown)
Photo of dance floor
(date unknown)

Article: Hair and Fashion Show
(In Step vol 10-04, Feb. 1993)

Ad: December 1993 'Dancin' for AIDS'
(In Step vol 10-23, December 1993)

Article: 'Dancin' for AIDS' benefit for ARCW/
AIDS Resource Center of Wis
(In Step vol 10-23, December 1993)

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

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