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

Factory "3"
Location: 511 N. Broadway


November 4, 1986

Male/ female
Bar/ social



This is the 3rd bar by the name "Factory" opened by Chuck Cicirello. Located in a downtown warehouse building on a historic block, with 6,000 square feet of space, the bar had high ceilings excellent for disco lighting. The bar made an excellent venue for shows, with a large stage, plenty of seating, and excellent lighting and sound system.

The first "Factory" was located in an old manufacturing/ warehouse building, with a large wide-open space for the bar and a large dancefloor, and high ceilings. Opened just before the disco craze, it was perfectly positioned to be Milwaukee's disco palace. It reined for 10 years. Chuck's next bar was called "Factory II"- but it was not as well received. Factory II was housed in a smaller building, with lower ceiling. Although somewhat popular, it never had the same appeal, or the ability to attract the same types of crowds- and Factory II closed in a little less than 2 years.

This Factory, the 3rd incarnation, was an excellent attempt to get back to the original concept. Advertising used phrases such as "Milwaukee hasn't been the same since the original (Factory) closed", and "The return of the Big Bar", and touted the high ceilings, wide open spaces, and large footprint (over 6,000 square feet). It also advertised again simply as "Factory".

Although briefly popular, largely by patrons who remembered the original Factory bar a few blocks south, as well as for its show, the bar didn't retain its appeal compared to the popular La Cage dance club, located farther south. For some, the parking problems this close to downtown was also an issue. In the end, the combination of factors caused this third Factory to close after 2 years.

Photos from Opening night, Nov. 1986
(InStep vol 3 issue 22)
Photos from Opening night, Nov. 1986
(InStep vol 3 issue 22)
Steppin Out- article about Opening Night
(InStep vol 3 issue 22)
Photos- Menergy dancers show, 1986
(InStep vol 3 issue 24)
Photos- Fest City Singers performance, 1986
(InStep vol 3 issue 24)
Advertisement, February 1987

Opening advertisement, Oct. 1986
(InStep vol 3 issue 20)

Opening information, 1986
(InStep vol 3 issue 20)

Advertisement, "History repeats itself"- 1986
(InStep vol 3 issue 21)

Advertisement, Nov. 1986
(InStep vol 3 issue 22)

Credits: bar history by Don Schwamb.
Last updated: March-2010.