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

 
Just Us
Location: 807 S. 5th Street

Opened:
Closed:

1995
1998
Clientele:

Male / Female
Bar/ social

 

 
       
 

Just Us was opened by an attorney from Kenosha (Steve), and a lesbian from Milwaukee (Janet). It is remembered by many as one of the most equally mixed (men vs. woman) gay bar Milwaukee has seen to date. They had a nice cocktail hour and many weekends there were drag shows or pageants. (The attorney did drag from time to time.)

In addition to having a nice stage/ dance floor area, the bar also served Friday fish fry on tables around the dance floor area on Friday evenings.

The bar also had a "non-smoking Lounge", a glass enclosed room with a separate bar that was designated non-smoking: you could sit or stand around in that room, without being surrounded by smoke, and through the large glass windows watch the action throughout much of the rest of the bar, including the dance floor. (The room was a bit on the small side however, and the segregated feeling and inability to mingle with the rest of the crowd was a definite drawback; while great in concept, it didn't work well and wasn't too popular a room to be in.)

Recollections: The following are recollections of others who have been kind enough to submit their personal memories to the webmaster. You are welcome to do the same! (Recollections collected and organized by Jamie Taylor.)

    ---> Just Us was probably the most equally mixed (men vs. woman) gay bar I have ever seen in Milwaukee. I was sent there on photo shoots a few times over the 4 years it was open. I was covering a drag event there once and brought a date (Don) with me. Let me tell you, it probably wasnít fair to bring a date on photo shoots. I often had to leave the person standing all by themselves while I was running around getting pictures. This was probably our second date and Donís first date with me while I was on a photo shoot. We had a couple of shots (he didnít do shots back then) and a couple of drinks. Halfway through the shoot I looked over at Don and he looked as if he was doing his best to ďkeep it together.Ē I went over and asked if he was ok and he said no. I took him to the bathroom where he puked. I felt so bad for him. I know it embarrassed the hell out of him and a couple people came in to make sure we were ok, making it even more embarrassing. I cut the photo shoot short and we went to my car where I called his wife (they were separating at the time) from my car phone (yes back when they were installed) to tell her Don was way too drunk to come home. She was NOT happy. I took him home and tucked him in bed.

    "Iím not sure why the bar closed but I know parking was an issue and the fact that it was in 5th street. Many gays were afraid to walk in that area for fear of being gay bashed."
                                    - Jamie Taylor (August 2009)

    ---> Just Us had an AWESOME "Fish Fry", similar to the awesome fish fries at M&M club
                                    - Craig G. (via Facebook group)

    ---> Steve and Janet were such awesome bar owners, not to mention all of the work they do for the LGBT community....two of my most favorite people that Ive ever met, gay straight or whatevah!
                                    - Brian K. (via Facebook group)

    ---> Steve Byers was one of the owners, he was a lawyer for the Civil Liberty Union, his partner was Offie Hobs and was also the president of the Brew City Bears. I think part of the problem was the size of the bar (where they served drinks) did not allow very much back and forth movement. Sage met there a bunch of times. I also think that because Steve worked two jobs plus running the bar became too much and lead to the decision to close it.
                                    - Gary R.H. (via Facebook group)

Inside the bar: Co-owner Steve tending bar
(photo by Jamie Taylor c1996)
 
Inside the bar: Jamie's friend Don trying to "keep it together" (see "Recollections" above)
(photo by Jamie Taylor c1996)
 

 
 


Advertisement/ Flyer
(from Jerry Johnson Collection)
 


Just Us Gazette, March 6, 1995 issue
(from Jerry Johnson Collection)
 


Just Us Gazette, March, 1995 issue
    
Page 2 / Page 3
(from Jerry Johnson Collection)
 

Credits: Bar history by Jamie Taylor with recollections by other Facebook contributors.
Hisorical images and scans by Don Schwamb.
Website contents, design and arrangement by Don Schwamb.
Last updated: June-2018.