Milwaukee, Wis. -
RuPaul's Drag Race star Trixie Mattel is saving Wisconsin's oldest LGBT bar, This Is It!, purchasing an ownership stake. Brian Firkus, who plays Trixie, describes the historic drag queen haunt as “Cheers in Milwaukee.” The bar was almost a casualty of COVID-19 mitigation.
Firkus's Trixie Mattel was listed as the fourth most powerful drag queen in America by New York magazine—after breaking out as a national hit in 2015 then winning Drag Race All Stars in 2018. He is hoping that his drag persona's fame will make the 53-year-old bar a destination for Trixie fans, drag fans, and the larger LGBT community.
Owner George Schneider agrees, saying how proud he is to be partner to someone like Firkus who holds a place so dear to his heart—not just the bar he first walked into at 21 years old, but also the City of Milwaukee where he was born.
Firkus created the Trixie Mattel drag persona from his obsession with Mattel's legendary Barbie dolls—of which Firkus has a large collection. This Is It! was where Trixie made a debut.
This Is It! was established in 1968 by June Brehm and her son Joseph—who died in 2016. Schneider became a partner in 2010 and became sole owner upon Joseph's death.
Located at 418 E. Wells St., Milwaukee LGBT History Project says it advertised itself as a “popular downtown lounge busy with reserved gentlemen and then some not so reserve.”
It was in honor of the bar that rainbow crosswalks were installed in 2018 near Cathedral Square and the Catholic archdiocese's Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, at Jefferson and Wells St. The first Milwaukee Pride in 1989 ended at Cathedral Square.