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

Location: 819 S. 2nd Street


July 26, 1998

Male/ female
Martini bar

View Fluid's Web Site


Fluid bar was opened two previous bartenders of the Triangle, Bill and Jimmy. The bar was very popular from the day it was opened, pulling many customers from the Triangle bar.

In addition to the popular bartenders bringing some of their loyal customers from the previous bar, another big draw for the bar's business was its proximity to the popular dance bar, La Cage, which was just half a block away. It became customary for many young men to first have a few cocktails at Fluid, then around 11:00 or 11:30pm to see an exoduc of people departing for La Cage to dance.

Fluid's main distinguishing feature was its martini cocktails. It boasted a large offering of martini cocktails of all types, made in shakers and served in fancy martini glasses. This was at the beginning of the "martini craze", and was the first LGBT bar to offer such a wide selection of drink choices.

After about 2 years, there was a falling out between the two owners. The bar closed for a short time, while Bill bought out Jimmy, and reopened it himself as sole owner and operator. The change was good for the business, and flourished even more.

Over time, Fluid becamse known for several things. It was heavily involved in cooperating with other LGBT bars in the area in promoting events; for example, it helped work out a rotation of stops on such nights as Halloween, where the bars cooperated on a schedule of stops (one bar from 8-9:30, another 9:30-11, etc.) On anniversary and birthdays, the bar boasted a diverse and generous buffet. Many Sunday afternoons it had "Drag Queen Bingo" events. And many Christmas holiday parties saw numerous door prize give-aways, and regular customers recieved drink cards good for one free drink each month of the coming year.

Moving into its second decade, Fluid continues to be a popular destination for many men, and has a changing array of handsome young men serving as bartenders- always good eye candy for the customers.


Opening advertisement, July 1998

Monthly drink card for 2004

Drink card, 2005

Credits: contents, design and arrangement by Don Schwamb.
Last updated: March-2010.