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Pride Month: Fluid, Walkers Pint make their mark in Milwaukee's 'gayborhood'

Posted at 6:26 PM, Jun 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-16 19:26:33-04

MILWAUKEE — At the corner of 2nd and National in Walker's Point are two bars that have become a safe haven for members of the LGBTQ community: Fluid and Walker's Pint.

Bet-z Boenning opened Walker's Pint in 2001. It's since become one of only 21 lesbian bars left in the United States.

"We are like the only one in the Midwest, really," said Boenning.

Right across the street is Fluid Milwaukee. It is a gay bar started by Bill Wardlow in 1989, a time when gay men needed a place to find respite.

"I've been out since 1982 so I've seen a lot of things. We as a community have been through the AIDS crisis, there were the Jeffrey Dahmer days," said Wardlow.

Both Wardlow and Boenning say having spaces like theirs in Milwaukee is critical in giving people within the LGBTQ+ community a place to be themselves without fear of judgment.

"I think that's important to be around people that are like you and know what you've gone through and what you're going through," said Boenning.

"It is important that gay people have a place where they can go and be safe and not be ridiculed," said Wardlow.

And since becoming neighbors in the 2000s, these bar owners have become the best of friends; learning from each other and teaming up to give back to the community.

"Raised tons of money for charities, and chili cook-off's, and paintball Pint versus Fluid paintball," said Boenning.

And while their bars attract a specific clientele, they say their doors are open to everyone.

"If you have kindness in your heart, you are welcome in my bar," said Wardlow.

Walker's Pint will be celebrating its 21st anniversary on July 13.

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