I heard “Kennedy’s” and thought we were going to an Irish pub. Maybe it would be along the lines of O’Brien’s or Finn McCool’s on Main Street in Santa Monica. I wouldn’t have minded something even a little tourist-y like the old Dublin’s on Sunset, chosen just for my sake, the Milwaukee virgin. It’d be cool to experience something different from the usual club chaos I see in LA almost every weekend.
But it wasn’t Kennedy’s, like JFK or the Dead ones, but Kenadee’s, like a perfectly perky private prep school girl’s first name. *head tilt* “Ohmigodhi! Daddy bought me a new convertible Jag for my Sweet Sixteen, I’m a cheerleader, and totally don’t have to study for the SATs because Daddy donated a lecture hall to Harvard. My name’s Kenadee!” *blink giggle blink*
Kenadee’s is on a tiny strip of Milwaukee Street that is the address for a few bars, clubs, and lounges – Eve, Tangerine, Three Lounge. As we walked up toward Kenadee’s, I was shivering because the street between the brick buildings was a wind tunnel. It reminded me of the blustery walk from Hollywood Boulevard and up Vine that blows the hour and a half spent on hair and makeup in five minutes. Unseasonably warm in the Midwest? My cold, quivering ass. Despite the wind, there were a lot of people hanging out in small clusters in front of various venues on both sides of the street. When we got within sight of Kenadee’s, I could see through the enormous glass doors and front windows – a glowing green checkerboard floor that looked like the set for MJ’s Billie Jean music video. Clubby. Trendy. Ooh-la-la. I didn’t spend four hours on a plane with a deathgrip on a bottle of Xanax to do the exact same thing I do at home. The velvet rope game I can understand in Chicago, but it seems a bit of a stretch for Milwaukee. Richie Cunningham has to wait in a general admission on that side, but the Fonz is on the guest list on this side? I can play this game in LA, and it’s 25 degrees warmer. *sigh*
Kenadee’s calls itself an ultra lounge, something I might call the Viceroy in Santa Monica or Montmartre in Hollywood, but the space is more of a hunting lodge high on techno. The entire space is open and airy with high ceilings that drip chandeliers, but they’re made of deer antlers. The front floor is underlit with neon green, and a small attention-seeking lounge area in the front is about as LA as it gets, with a few greasy Guidos and their August-appropriate attired glamour girls draped all over the furniture looking quite bored, and a little cold. Victorian wing chairs, overstuffed couches, wicker tables are purposefully mismatched to look just like all the old furniture you send to your summer cabin on the lake when you get new stuff in your regular house. Overlooking the main bar area, there’s a small loft space set up like your own living room with a tv flickering the audience’s sport of choice. Early November, midweek – it’s basketball.
It isn’t overly crowded, and there are places to sit down to carry on a converstion over a cocktail without having to read lips. That’s partially due to the somewhat odd selection of music mixed in someone’s bedroom onto a CD being set to background. I could have sworn I heard Motley Crue fade into a diet version of the Crytal Method at some point after my second drink, but you can’t have everything, now can you? And you certainly can’t come away from an evening out without breathing enough cigarette smoke that your lungs feel like they’ve never left LA smog. Like Chicago, people are smoking inside. *coughcough*
725 N Milwaukee Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202