The Scene: Set dead center in the heart of Milwaukee's hottest clubbing district, Kenadee's shares street space with uber bastions Three and Tangerine. Sporting a neo-urban ski lodge chic theme, Kenadee's is probably the only place in the city where you can sip a martini or sample the kitchen's haute cuisine while simultaneously taking in the ultra mod incandescence of the forefront "green room" all while sitting right underneath a light fixure made of antlers.
The Drinks: In direct acknowledgement of its place in the Wackman empire, Kenadee's is more well suited to serving a simple vodka tonic than the $10 (amazing) martini's you'll find next door at Tangerine. While the "top shelf" image is downplayed at Kenadee's, don't think for a second that the "good stuff" isn't available: it most certainly is. A well rounded wine selection is a definate plus if you're stopping in for dinner, and shows that the purchasing is done by someone with a keen eye for both quality and value. And yes, they have Zygo, the citrus infused OP-esque newcomer of which we're so fond. While you won't find any acrobatic tricks going on behind the bar, the staff as a rule is courteous, and the service belies the fact that the bar is frequently jam packed. A Tip though: Do NOT attempt to be sly and stand at the bleeding edge of the "server only" area towards the back of the bar. In our experience, that's the only way to guarantee that you'll be waiting a while to be served. Prices are on par with big sister Eve, plan on around $7 per drink. And don't forget the tip.
The Music: Unobtrusive mainstream and radio top 40. Though, not actually played from the radio, but rather from sampler disks that seem to be popular in many spots around town. Music isn't a draw at Kenadee's - again, owning to the role it plays in the "Milwaukee Street Experience." And it doesn't have to be, as 5 steps towards the front entrance and you'll be able to hear the echoes of world class house flowing from Three.
The People: An atypically eclectic mix for Milwaukee Street. And it tends to vary depending on what time of night you venture in. Come in a little past dinner time on any given day of the week and you're likely to find the young professional nursing a pint with some colleagues. Weekend days attract a slightly older crowd (mid 30's ish) for dinner, followed by an influx of progressively younger and increasingly hipster characters. While the earlier hours seem to be a gathering ground for those bound either for home or perhaps to the North Avenue strip or venerable Water Street locale, later hours see the crowd switch to a varied mix of sophisticated older urbanites together with stop overs on their way either to or from Eve or Three after having a few cocktails at Tangerine next door. The "group factor" is understandably high at Kenadee's given it's comfortable, laid back vibe and portal location to some of the city's finest clubs. In plain English, people come here to meet, and then to go somewhere else. The overall friendly factor tends to vary quite dramatically. We've met some hillarious and overtly gregarious people at Kenadee's, and have also been given the cold shoulder. So, while your mileage may vary, it would serve you well to ensure that you come equipped with a few friends or have solid plans to meet them after arriving. In no way is the crowd cold or unwelcoming: the energy is uniformly high and the vibe just right for a pre-dance redevous - it just happens that Kenadee's is a place where people go to be with THEIR friends, not yours.
The Atmosphere: The first thing to greet you upon entering is moderately sized lounge area featuring overstuffed chairs and sturdy end tables. The catch? The entire floor is illuminated in bright green from beneath. Kind of like the bar top that dominates the space at Flybar, but, well, on the floor. And bigger. The "green room" faces Milwaukee Street directly, through a pair of "total open" windows that disappear when opened to their full extent, and thus makes for excellent people watching. Especially given the nonstop flow of traffic into and out of the two popular dance clubs across the street. Continuing further into the main space, or "bar proper" the illuminated floor is left behind in favor of lighting that is brigher than average, but not obtrusive. The light level is higher than you might expect, but is done in a multipoint fashion, so the overall effect doesn't give any trace of harshness. The main space is presided over by the large bar to the left, which stretches nearly the entire length of room, and complimented by more intimate seating positioned to the right and the rear, where diners can enjoy a more one on one experience. The light fixtures, as mentioned, are a throwback to the northwoods lodge feel, composed entirely of antlers. The polished wood panneling covering the walls reinforces this effect, but overall it's a subtle, almost gentle nudge. Towards the rear you'll find a staircase leading up to semi-private seating consisting of cushy leather couches and comfy overstuffed chairs. A great space for a gathering with moderately sized groups if you don't want to occupy a lot of floor space down on the main level. The vibe that Kenadee's puts out is a cross between the corner pub, hip lounge, and upscale watering hole. A unique blend that you won't find anywhere else in Milwaukee. There's plenty of laughing, and Kenadee's seems to be a popular starting spot for those ever popular pre-wedding parties we all know and...love. A casual, fun place to meet the gang for a night out on the town.
What to wear: Don't worry about it. If you feel comfortable, you're fine. Don't roll in sporting the polka dot mink and 40 pounds of gold, or look like you just spent the night in a dumpster. Easy rule of thumb: If they sell it at AF or BR, it's perfect.
When to go - Depends on what you want. For dinner, any day of the week is a great time to enjoy the food. For people watching, Thursdays are a great bet. To hang out for a while and wait for friends, Fridays and Saturdays typically have a quick patron turnover, so it's a good place to bump into random people you haven't seen in a while.