Out 'N About opened as a bar in a location that had long held a popular 'straight' bar (Who's On First), and just 1/2 block away from another fairly new LGBT bar, the Harbor Room, a men's leather/levi-type bar that had opened about a year before.
It was a good space and fairly good location. Inside the main entrance was a good sized dance floor and long bar, and then up a few steps (housed in an adjacent connected building) was a restaurant. Over time, the rear of the building (to the west) was used as a patio, with picnic tables and awnings; there was also some parking alongside the entrance (to the south).
The bar and dance floor was moderately busy, catering more to a lesbian than gay crowd, although comfortable for and friendly to both. It hosted the occasional special event or party. For example, the BESTD Clinic had one of its annual Volunteer Appreciation events there, and the bar hosted parties for elections, HIV testing and flu shot nights, etc.
The restaurant served a wide variety of food considering the small size of its "kitchen". In addition to the traditional Friday fish fry, it offered a good range of sandwiches to entrees on nearly every day of the week.
Late in 2005 some sort of naming problem was rumored, and the business was forced to change its name from "Out 'N About" to MO'NA's.
The bar began to struggle. While some nights were extremely busy (for example, Friday nights often saw a packed dance floor), other days were very slow. The owner sometimes went back on promises to offer drink specials etc. to groups; their members would show up, bringing the bar a good crowd; but the members would be denied the special drink deal. (One example: the Milwaukee MGGB brought over 150 patrons for an 'after-party' who were refused the drink special promised.) This created bitter feelings of the owner welching, and business continued to decline.
By the summer of 2011 the restaurant had been closed down, and rumors that the bar itself was closing began to circulate. The bar closed its doors for good sometime in July or early June of 2012.
(A book, "LGBT Milwaukee" by Michail Takach, seeks to make the story of LGBT Milwaukee accessible, visible, and portable for future generations--before it is too late. MO'NA's is one of many LGBT landmarks documented in the book.)
Credits: initial contents, web site concept and design by Don Schwamb.
Additional research and commentary by Michail Takach.
Last updated: August-2023.
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