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

Back Door
Location: 46 N. Park Street, Madison


December, 1972
approx. June, 1979

Bar/ social



The April 1973 issue of GPU News advertised the opening of this bar with an ad, "New to Madison! The Back Door", touting "3 levels of entertainment" and listing proprietors Rodney and Jack. According to a bio of Rodney Scheel years later, the bar went through "its share of experimental phases- bar, restaurant, piano bar, dance club, and home-away-from-home for many of the newly-liberated Gay men and Lesbians and their friends of that era".

After operating The Back Door for about 6 years, Rodney would close The Back Door and open Madison's legendary bar of the 1980's and 1990's: Rod's.

Twenty years later, the Back Door was still a fond memory for Rodney: December 1992, the Hotel Washington held a grand re-opening, culminating in a "20th Back Door anniversary party".

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


Advertisement for Back Door, April 1973
"New to Madison... with hosts Rodney and Jack"
(from GPU News, April 1973)

Advertisement for Back Door, January 1974
"Can you handle the best?"
(from GPU News, January 1974)

Advertisement for Back Door, June 1975
Third Annual Back Door Picnic "Flamingo Festival"
(from GPU News, June 1975)

Credits: contents, design and arrangement by Don Schwamb.
Last updated: October-2007.