Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Nite Beat

Ad for Nite Beat (1972)
Nite Beat

Location: 196 South 2nd Street (1964-1968), 183 South 2nd Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA (1968-1972)

Opened: Approximately 1964

Closed: June 1972

Just discovered the Wisconsin GLBT History Project, which has lots of great information, including a detailed list of bars, restaurants, and businesses.

Nite Beat was one of two bars that were specifically identified as being for women. (The other "dyke bar" was Wildwood, which was located at 13th and Walnut and existed for a time in the 1960s.)   Here are some of the basic facts about Nite Beat.

It was variously advertised as a "girl's bar" and "where women meet." The proprietors (according to the advertisements) were Carrie and Stan. Advertisements for the Nite Beat can be found in the GPU News (the advertisement here is from March 1972). It became the Riviera Show Lounge in June 1972.

Maryann G. shares the following recollections:

The Nite Beat was a hard-core diesel bar. Butches were butches, femmes were femmes, and my generation of role-light young feminists was viewed with total suspicion. Although it was on street level, you felt as though you were walking into a basement. My first time there, I met Buffy Lee John, who made circles in the palm of my hand with her middle finger and whispered, "You've had the rest, baby, now have the best!" Buffy was a skinny little bulldyke, cigarettes rolled into the sleeve of her black muscle shirt, tatoo of the famous femme Lana on her bicep. All the butches of the generation just before mine competed for Lana, especially Buffy Lee John and Spike the Dyke.  

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