The Forum Bar was on the northwest corner of 12th & Vine Streets in Milwaukee. Contributors remember it as a crowded bar that was lots of fun, definitely a "gay bar". Out-of-towners found it by going north on 12th from Jesu Church. Locals often called it "12th and Vine" so outsiders wouldn’t know what they were talking about.
The Forum is listed in various national Gay Guides in 1963, 1964, and 1965, but subsequent listings list it variously as "Pirate's Den, formerly The Forum". It is unclear whether this was simply a change of name, or also a change of ownership. (Norman J. Komassa was listed as owner of the Forum in a mid-1960's City Directory.)
This building/ location was host for at least three LGBT bars we know of:
More information about any of these businesses is welcomed from anyone who can contribute it.
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.)
"This was a crowded bar that was lots of fun and never “raided”. Out-of-towners found it by going north on 12th from Jesu Church. Locals often called it "12th and Vine" so outsiders wouldn’t know what they were talking about."
"Despite the location in "The Core," the clientele was 99% white, older professional men [I was 25/26 at this time]. The owner of the Seaway Inn, I think his name was "Ollie," was there many nights with his black partner. Other frequent customers were: a buyer for the Boston Store in Madison, a professor from Mount Mary College who also acted with the Milwaukee Rep, a married doctor with an expensive red sports car, some other librarians and school teachers and many who were active with local theater companies.
Credits: Web site concept, design and format by Don Schwamb.
Information contributed by "Mark" and by KKK.
Last updated: March-2016.
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