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

Out 'N About
a.k.a. MONA's
Location: 1407 S. 1st Street, Milwaukee WI


August 1, 2003
July 2012

Bar/ restaurant
Female/ male


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.)

Ad: Come Hang Out For A While
(OutBound vol. 2-09, Sept. 2003)
Article: Trailer Terry visits the bar
(OutBound vol. 2-09, Sept. 2003)

Cover article:
(OutBound vol. 2-10, October 2003)
Photo: Live Jazz Band
(OutBound vol. 2-11, Nov. 2003)

Ad: clip-art mashup
(OutBound vol. 3-08, August 2004)
Photos: Fetish Night
(OutBound vol. 3-09, Sept. 2004)
Ad: new name used:
"Milwaukee's out 'n about/ MO'NA's"
(Quest vol. 13-10, July 2006)

Photos: Miss IT Milwaukee pageant
(Quest vol. 14-10, July 2007)
Photos: Variety Show
(OutBound vol. 6-09, Sept. 2007)
Ad: Halloween Bash and Costume contest
(Quest vol. 14-17, Oct. 2007)

Ad: Miss BrewCity Wis USofA 2009 contest
with Mia Dumar (Miss Gay WI USofA),
Dynasty Scott (Miss BrewCity WI USofA),
Arneisha St. James (Miss City of Festivals WI USofA),
Jackie Roberts (Miss Cream City Wis USofA),
Aunt Joanna
(Quest vol. 16-07, May 2009)
Ad: New menu items,
Facebook and Twitter info
(Quest vol. 18-06, April 2011)
Ad: Happy Pride
(Quest vol. 19-06, June 2012)

Packed dance floor at Out'n About

Ad: Come Hang Out For A While
(OutBound vol. 2-09, Sept. 2003)

(Quest vol 13-10, July 2006)

"MO'NA'S Gang
(from the bar's web site)

Credits: initial contents, web site concept and design by Don Schwamb.
Additional research and commentary by Michail Takach.
Last updated: August-2023.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.