Friday, August 24, 2012

D.K.'s Tavern

D.K.'s Tavern advertisement (February 1988)
D.K.'s Tavern

Location: 135 East National Avenue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Opened: Around 1984

Closed: June 1988

By Don Schwamb, at the History of Gay and Lesbian Life in Milwaukee, Wisconsin:

D.K.'s Tavern in Milwaukee was owned by Dotie, and for some years continued to be Milwaukee's premier lesbian bar, with a very popular following. (Since 1976 this same building had been the site of the Sugar Shack, also a very popular lesbian bar.) But business had been lagging, and in 1987 the business and building were put up for sale. On December 5, 1987, Dotie held a farewell party for customers and staff.
135 East National Avenue today--A Cardtronics ATM

On the very next night, the bar re-opened, and new owner Alan Thomas (formerly a resident of Kenosha who had bought the business and moved up to Milwaukee) declared it was "still a women's bar" and would retain the same staff and name. But within a few months business had shown that a change was needed; Al renamed the business The Triangle in June 1988 and reopened as a gay bar.

This transition from lesbian space to gay male space is extremely common among bars, particularly when the bar is no longer lesbian-owned or operated. The Triangle closed in April 2012. And now the location just spits out cash. Make of that what you will....

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