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

Rainbow Room
Location: 121 W. Main Street, Madison


2003 ?

Male/ female
Bar/ dance club



'Rainbow Room' in Madison was opened in October 1999 by "Ed, Terry and Jim". Rainbow Room was for several years an alternate stop in downtown Madison, as it was just a few steps away from the ever-popular Shamrock bar. (A Grand Opening advertisement even calls The Shamrock their "Sister Bar".)

Rainbow Room was to be the fifth, and most successful, in a long line of names for an LGBT bar in this location (121 W. Main Street, Madison) over a period of just 4 years:

The bar had several active years, with shows, pageants, and many parties. Stripper as well as drag shows were also popular draws. On Friday and Saturday nights there was a regular flow of people between Rainbow Room and Shamrock.

The bar's demise is unclear, pending further research. An article in Quest v10-08 in July 2003 mentions that "by the time you all read this the Rainbow Room will be closed". But a mention was then made in the column 'Tales from the Trailer' by Terry Halverson in the September 2003 issue of OutBound magazine that reads: "...I decided to check out the NEW RAINBOW ROOM... The bar was full. Matt & Bob were tending bar, and yes, (it was) both GAY and very hospitable..." From this, we speculate the bar may have changed ownership or perhaps even location around mid-2003. But we have located no advertisements or other information for this "new" Rainbow Room.

Any information about this business is welcomed from anyone who can contribute it.

Nights Out column: bar previously Kirby's Korner and then Millenium now called Rainbow Room
(Wis. Light vol.12-28, Aug. 1999)
Advertisement: "Madison's New Place for Fun"/
Beer Bash for Packer games
(Quest vol 6 #14, August 1999)
Advertisement: Watch for Kiss Kitty and Cowboy Strippers
(Quest vol 6 #16, September 1999)
Photos: from Cher Party
incl owners Terry and Jim
(Quest vol 6 #16, September 1999)
Advertisement: Beer Bash, Daily Specials
(Quest vol 6 #17, September 1999)
Advertisement: Grand Opening
(In Step vol 16 #21, October 1999)
Article about the Grand Opening party
(Quest vol 6 #19, October 1999)
Advertisement: Madison Pride weekend events
(Quest vol 7 #11, July 2000)
Advertisement: Last Bingo of season;
start of Packer Games
(Quest vol 7 #12, July-Aug 2000)
Advertisement: Miss Rainbow Room 2001 Pageant
(G-Street magazine vol 1 #7, January 2001)
Small Advertisement: "Where It's Happening"
(G-Street magazine vol 1 #7, January 2001)
Advertisement: June-July events incl Madison Pride weekend
(Quest vol 8 #07, July 2001)
Advertisement: Sing Karaoke, Strippers
(G-Street magazine vol 1 #12, June 2001)
Color Advertisement: Miss Madison Pride 2001 Pageant
(G-Street magazine vol 1 #12, June 2001)
Advertisement: Bartender Tips
(G-Street magazine vol 1 #12, June 2001)
Advertisement: Anniversary Show & Party,
August 18
(G-Street magazine vol 2 #2, August 2001)
Advertisement: Fundraiser for Mr. Gay WI USA Corey
and Miss Rainbow Room Pageant
(Quest vol 8 #17, January 2002)
Article: "by the time you all read this the Rainbow Room will be closed"
(Quest vol 10 #8, July 2003)
Mention in 'Tales from the Trailer'
(second paragraph)
(OutBound magazine volume 2 #9, Sept. 2003)

Advertisement for Grand Opening weekend
(In Step volume 16 issue 21)

Photo, owners Terry & Jim
(Quest volume 6 issue 16 Sept. 1999)

Building formerly the site of Rainbow Room

Credits: web site concept, contents, design and arrangement by Don Schwamb.
Last updated: June-2022.

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