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

Location: 300 W. Juneau Avenue


early 1984
approx. June 1984

Bar/ social



Unicorn was a short-lived bar: opening in February 1984 with its Grand Opening in March, by September it had closed, at least as a gay bar. It is believed the name was carried over to a straight bar that then occupied the space. (The Unicorn itself was preceeded by another short-lived gay bar in the same space. The Goldenshaft, open for just a few months, was bought out by one of the owners, Gus-- and he then reopened it as the Unicorn.)

(An article from "OnMilwaukee.com" dated November 2005 recalls "Milwaukee's Best Bars of Yesteryear", which includes The Unicorn bar. It reads: "Remember the dingy cave in the basement of the Sidney-HiH building? The Unicorn opened in 1984 and became Milwaukee's premiere underground venue as the '90s dawned. The dank club -- with numerous rooms -- offered incredible underground shows, including Nine Inch Nails before they got famous (anyone else at this show?) and Brand New Heavies.")

In 1997, the space took on a second life in the gay community, as the Milwaukee Eagle, a levi/ leather bar. That bar had a better go of it, wildly popular for over two years.

More information about The Unicorn is welcomed from anyone who can contribute it.

Grand Opening photos, March 1984
owner Gus; Y.P. staffers Ron & Al, the Astor Boys
(InStep vol 1 issue 3)

Advertisement, March 1984
Wet jockey shorts contest, leather male dancers

Photo of bartender Paul, May 1984
(InStep vol 1 issue 7)

View of the bar (facing north)
Views inside the Unicorn
(mostly showing the lack of decor of the space)


Blurb of former Goldenshaft under new ownership, Feb. 1984
(InStep vol 1 issue 1)

Advertisment, Feb. 1984
(InStep vol 1 issue 2)

Drink/ Membership card

Closed, mid-1984
(InStep vol 1 issue 12)

Credits: contents, design and arrangement by Don Schwamb.
Last updated: July-2020.

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