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

 
Regency East
Location: 1758 N. Water St. ??

Opened:
Closed:

approx. 1963
approx. 1970
Clientele:

Male/ female
Social

 

 
       
 

Very little is known about The Regency East, except that it was a semi-elegant bar in a less-than-elegant neighborhood 'where car break-ins and muggings were common'.

Even the address is in question. The first listing we've been able to locate is in the 1964 national 'gay guide' "Directory 43", where it is listed as being at 1400 N. Water St. Later guides typically listed as being at 1840 N. Water St., or at 1758 N. Water St. However, everyone who remembers the bar places it in what is now the Trocadero bar, which is at 1758 N. Water St.

It is known that the bar was originally Nautz & Mike's, a pretty typical Gettelman Brewing Company bar in the 1950s. But exactly when it became a "gay bar" named the Regency East, and for how long it was open, is not known.

According to various contributors, the bar may have originally been run by George Defenbach(sp). It's said that by night shift all the bottles were full again, and thus drinks became tastless & business went elsewhere. Another contributor remembers it being run by Dick Shannon, and they say one of his bartenders was named George, who opened the Ten Hundred East Bar about 1970. (Are these the same 'George'?)

More information about this business is welcomed from anyone who can contribute it. (The building has housed the popular mainstream bar and restaurant "Trocadero Gastrobar" since 2001.)

 

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!

      George Defenbach(sp) then ran it. By night shift all bottles were full again. Drinks became tastless & business went elsewhere. On closing George was given a dieffenbachia plant. Closed early 70's. Forced out to make room for a bar owner that was losing his bar to make way for the freeway. It became a sports bar.
                                      -- Michael K.

      I can't add too much to the history except that when I started going there (in 1966), it was run by a guy by the name of Dick Shannon. One of his bartenders was named George, who opened the Ten Hundred East Bar about 1970.
                                      -- Don M.


Listings in early "Gay Guides":
(For more information on the Guides, click here.)

1964, "Directory 43"
  Title Page   Introduction
Listed as 1400 N. Water St.
1964 Lavender Baedeker Guide
  History of Baedeker Guides
Listed as 1840 N. Water St.
1966 Bob Damron's Address Book
    Publisher note
Listed as 1840 N. Water St.
Notes: PE = "Pretty Elegant"
1966 International Guild Guide
    Title pg   Editors note
Listed as 1840 N. Water St.
Notes: Semi E = "Semi Elegant"
1967 International Guild Guide
    Title pg
Listed as 1840 N. Water St.
Notes: Gay
1968 Bob Damron's Address Book
    Title pg   Editors note   Codes
Listed as 1758 N. Water St.
Notes: * = "Very Popular"
1969 International Guild Guide
    Title pg   Editors note   Codes
Listed as 1840 N. Water St.
Notes: Gay
1970 Bob Damron's Address Book
Listed as 1758 N. Water St.
Notes: YC = "Young and/or collegiate types"
 


Building sometime around 1960, before it changed to Regency East.

Credits: contents, design and arrangement by Don Schwamb.
Major information and photo by Michail Takach.
Last updated: December-2015.