GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — As Pride month comes to a close, a Green Bay bar is about to celebrate a major milestone. Napalese Lounge & Grille is about to turn 40 years old in early July.
“The longest-running LGBTQ bar in the United States is only 89 years old, so we’re very proud to have made it to 40 years,” said Justis Tenpenny, a communications liaison for Napalese.
Napalese, or “Naps” as it is affectionally known to many, has come a long way.
“These spaces are so important to be able to give LGBTQ+ people a safe space to be their authentic selves,” said Tenpenny.
That is crucial after what happened more than 20 years ago.
“When Napalese originally opened in 1982, we opened at 515 South Broadway. And in 1999, the Redistricting Authority proclaimed that Napalese was blighted,” said Tenpenny.
The bar scrambled to find a new home.
“We moved in here (to Cedar Street) the same day the bar closed at our Broadway location,” Tenpenny explained.
But its new neighbors were not exactly welcoming.
“They would kick open our front door, throw fireworks, and water balloons and trash into the bar and we decided to seal the front door,” Tenpenny told Local 5’s Barrett Tryon.
That changed in 2021, when the bar added a giant mural outside and unsealed the front entrance. And since then, owners say the bar has not had any incidents like in years prior.
Forty years later, the bar wants to give back.
“We’re going to have live music, a couple different drag shows, we’re going to be getting a business acknowledgment from the county, and a 40th-anniversary toast on July 9,” Tenpenny said. “We know that there are other spaces that might be safe, but this bar is very exclusively caters to LGBTQ+ people and their allies.”
A place that has ended up to be more than a bar to so many people.
Saturday, July 9
2 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Napalese Lounge & Grille, 1351 Cedar St., Green Bay
- Dunk Tank: 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.; 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
- Dani Maus Music: 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
- Drag Show: Beginning at 6:30 p.m.
- 40th Anniversary Toast: 6:45 p.m.
- Second drag show: 9 p.m.
The event happens rain or shine. Fifty percent of dunk tank proceeds will go to the Happily Ever After Animal Sanctuary.
Napalese is also selling special 40th-anniversary merchandise, including hats for $15 and T-shirts for $20. You can learn more online.