Kenosha Nightlife - Not Just on the Weekend

6/30/2017 - Anna Hegland

Foodie, Nightlife
Sazzy B Kenosha WI
Captain MIke's Kenosha WI
Mike's Chicken & Donuts Kenosha WI
tg's Restaurant and Pub in Kenosha, WI
Mangia Wine Bar Kenosha WI

I left Kenosha (and the state of Wisconsin) for both college and graduate school, so all my experiences with evening activities for the over 21 crowd have been elsewhere. I’m well-versed in English pubs and Italian wine-tasting parties, but my hometown was a bit of an unknown (especially after all the great work that’s gone into the Downtown Kenosha revitalization effort these last few years). Now that I’m back in the city and solidly in my mid-twenties, I get to explore the downtown’s nightlife for what feels like the first time.

For me, nightlife isn’t just about the weekends. It’s always fun to go out on a Friday or Saturday, but it’s important to unwind during the week as well. To that end, I’ve come up with a sampling of fun nights out in Downtown Kenosha that will take you from Monday to Friday. Full confession: I am far from an expert in the nuances and complexities of alcohol. I’m one of those people who has three go-to drinks and my favorite kind of wine is the red kind. But I do like to try new things, so while “researching” for this blog post, I made it my mission to try both drinks I knew and drinks I didn’t.

Monday | Sazzy B - Martini Monday

When I think of Sazzy B, I usually think of brunch on the weekends, but visiting this downtown restaurant in the evenings means you can take advantage of their weeknight drink specials. While I don’t want to downplay Top Shelf Tuesday, Wino Wednesday, or Thirsty Thursday, Martini Monday is getting a special mention this time around. From 4pm, you can grab half price martinis (only $5 each!) from the bar and enjoy live jazz from the four-piece Sazzy Jazzy House Band (featuring my former orthodontist, which is definitely totally normal – at least in Kenosha). I tried three different martinis from the (extensive) drink menu, including a new one that’s been on the menu less than two weeks!

By Any Other Name: I have two degrees in early modern British literature, so when I saw that Sazzy B had a Shakespearean cocktail I knew I had to try it. By Any Other Name is made with Great Northern gin (from a Wisconsin distillery based in Plover), rose syrup, and lime. Normally I’m not a big fan of rose syrup — I think it can get really overpowering and taste sickly sweet very easily — but this drink was delicious. The rose and lime went really well together and the gin was nice and smooth.

Besos Borachas: Also a sweet, fruity drink, but I heard a number of people say this is one of their favorites. The Besos is a mango and cranberry drink, garnished with a slice of orange that was fruity and creamy and immediately made me think of hot days on a beach. I can definitely see why so many people like it, and I think it’s well on its way to becoming my go-to martini at Sazzy.

Cocoa Caliente: This is the newest addition to both the signature cocktails and martini list. Think of a chocolate martini, but with a spicy kick that comes in right at the end. The Cocoa Caliente was more than “just” a dessert cocktail,  The glass was rimmed with cocoa nibs and cayenne pepper, and the chocolate liqueur had a pepper syrup mixed in.

If you’re not a fan of martinis, there is plenty of beer, wine, and a wide variety of top shelf liquor and other cocktails from which to choose. The bartenders are super knowledgeable as well, and ready to help! You can also order appetizers or a full meal with your drinks, all while enjoying some great live jazz. Since Sazzy B is an informal, upscale restaurant and bar, it’s perfect for drinks with coworkers or friends, or a great spot for date night!

Tuesday | Captain Mike’s – Beer Bingo

Play Bingo. Win Beer. It’s that simple. On Tuesday nights, pull up a stool at Captain Mike’s, enjoy a burger and a cocktail, and get your dobber ready! This isn’t the kind of bingo you’ll find at a church hall or senior center, though. The winners get six packs of craft beer to take home with them as prizes. It’s the night out that keeps on giving – and it’s free to play! Games being at 8:30 pm.

Wednesday | Mike’s Chicken and Donuts - Trivia Night

If you’re looking for something a little more casual for the middle of the week, trivia and donuts are never a bad bet. Trivia at Mike’s Chicken and Donuts is one of the many different pub quiz options in Kenosha and Racine throughout the week, but, really, what more could you want from a trivia venue than donuts and milkshakes? Make a team of six, come up with a clever name (brownie points for including a good pun), and then you have until the end of the song to turn in your answers.

My brother is a regular at trivia night, and I tag along every so often to lend a hand if there happens to be a Harry Potter question (actually, mostly for the donuts, if I’m honest). It’s free to play, but teams are strongly encouraged to eat and drink. When I joined in last week, I grabbed a brandy old fashioned and a donut kebab (a great way to spend $2), and am still somewhat regretting not ordering a milkshake after seeing the one my friend ordered.

If you’re seated on the sports bar side, check out the wall of Jameson (it’s seriously impressive); if you’re on the restaurant side, there’s a little more space to spread out and you’re right next to a case of donuts :) While there will sometimes be a themed night (Friends Trivia is coming up on June 21!), most weeks are theme-free and you’ll hear questions from all over the place — everything from sports and pop culture to science and geography.

Just make sure you yell “science” when the MC announces the science category and question.

Thursday | tg’s Restaurant & pub - Karaoke

Sing your heart out from 8 – 11 pm. Grab a bite to eat at this historic pub and restaurant (the Hot Beef is amazing), and stick around for karaoke. You don’t have to be the best singer, you just have to be willing to have fun. As a bonus, there are other drink specials during karaoke at tg's Restaurat & Pub - $1.50 Bartenders Choice Beers for college students and military, and $1 off all mixed drinks (including top shelf) for everyone! If karaoke isn’t your thing, you can just kick back and enjoy the backyard beer garden during the summer season – the atmosphere in the outdoor area is absolutely charming.

Friday (and Saturday!) | Mangia - Late Night Tacos

I started this blog post by saying I was just going to do weeknights, but Mangia's late night tacos are so good they have to do them two nights in a row.

Every Friday and Saturday from 10pm to close, the lounge area at Mangia Wine Bar is open for beers, cocktails, tequila, and $2 specialty tacos. The taco fillings change weekly — when I visited, I tried both the beef barbacoa and quinoa tacos, which were both super tasty. The chef guarantees that each week include both a “flavor of the night” and a dedicated vegetarian option. The tacos all come on a corn tortilla, rather than flour, which also means they’re gluten free. Both my tacos came loaded up with a delicious red cabbage slaw, but you can choose from even more toppings like salsa, cotija cheese, onion, cilantro, and lime.

Instead of ordering from a traditional menu, you’re given a card where you write down your order and turn it in at the bar (which gives you a great opportunity to order drinks). I tried the house margarita, but there are plenty of other options too.

I got to Mangia right around 10 and the bar area was bustling. I grabbed a table fairly quickly, but as with all things, I recommend being flexible: there are seats at the bar itself, if tables fill up! I think taco night would be a great place to meet up with friends, grab some food, and sip some drinks, but I also saw plenty of people who seemed to just be popping by for a drink after eating dinner elsewhere. No matter what, late night tacos should definitely make it into your plans — such a tasty way to spend a Friday (or Saturday) night!

There you have it… no more TGIF. Enjoy every night of the week, right here in Downtown Kenosha! Music, Spirits, Food and Fun – what more could you want? 

Anna Hegland

Community Blogger

Kenosha Native with a love for baseball, ice cream, and the arts. Studied in Iowa, Italy, and England - returned to her hometown. Works for the Kenosha Public Museum and drinks too many chai lattes.