Is TG’s the oldest bar in town?

Is TG’s the oldest bar in town?

q&a with Kristine Brittich &Justin Sawyer
of tg’s
4120 Seventh Ave

Give us a quick rundown on the history of TG’s?

The building was established  in 1888, we opened in 1889 and the doors have never closed. The building has operated as a bar, speakeasy, and billiards hall. This has been a destination spot for the who’s who of Kenosha, as well as many celebrities and politicians such as JFK.

What made you want to purchase such a historic bar?

It all fell together organically, I had wanted to get back into the food and beverage industry and TG’s just happened to come up. I was an avid fan prior, so I jumped at the opportunity.

Can you tell us about some of the improvements you made, inside and out?

We’ve updated everything from the bar stools, to adding more tvs. The biggest change has been the new hood for the kitchen. We’re updating the overall look and atmosphere. To put it plainly, this is a new era of TG’s.

You’re about to launch a new menu. Tell us what we will seeing on that and will you still be serving that famous hot beef?

We will NEVER take the beef off the menu, it’s an iconic staple and has been for over half a century. The new menu is going to be amazing. We’re still going to offer approachable pub influenced Americana food, but we’re going to take the usual script and absolutely flip it in the best ways possible.

How do you come up with your daily food specials?

It’s a collaborative effort between Kristine the owner, Frank our kitchen manager and Sawyer the general manager. With the amount of passion and love Sawyer has for this industry, there’s always something up his sleeve.

What can someone expect when they walk into TG’s for the first time?

I like to think that we’re a nostalgic dive bar, without the sketchy crowds some dives attract. We’ve got everything from great craft brews and cocktails, to homestyle favorites on the menu. You can expect a damn good drink, hot beef, and even better service.

What is on your cocktail menu? And what inspires it?

The new menu is going to be a small 70s inspired cocktail menu. What that means is we’ve got cocktails like “Earth, Fruit, and Fire,” as well as my personal favorite “Hello Bourbon, My Old Friend, I’ve Come to Ddrink with You Again.“ You’ll see some interesting things like a peach and allspice infused Tullamore Dew, and, wait for it… a Malort egg white cocktail.

People love our old fashioneds, they’re iconic. The newest hype is behind our tiki inspired cocktail “Why is All the Rum Gone.” and the “Summer’s Garden,” which has a house made strawberry, rosemary and rhubarb simple syrup. I don’t like to talk about myself often, but having me (Sawyer) heading the cocktail revamp has been a hard and fun process of R&D with my staff in tow.

Tell us what a day in the life of running one of the most popular restaurants/bars in Kenosha is like?

Everyday is something new; thats one thing you can count on in this industry is that it’s an ever changing machine. We’re thankful to see some favorite regulars (we’re looking at you Bud-Lite-Bob & Miller-64-Mary) but also we’ve seen an influx of new faces, and it’s been so refreshing.

What weekly events do you have going on?

Every Tuesday is Taco Tuesday and Trivia, and Fridays we have our classic Wisconsin Fish Fry and Karaoke. We also have a killer brunch on Sundays with bottomless mimosas and bloodys.

What’s next for TG’s?

We are excited to see this place change, a general manager who as hard as he tries, has a natural passion for food and beverage. Honestly we couldn’t do anything without our staff and guests. Long term? New bathrooms, a brand new kitchen, the decor will be influenced by the 70s, the history of TG’s and Kenosha as a whole. We want to take what you thought you knew about TG’s and make you see that we’ve only scratched the surface.

Interview & photo by Donny Stancato – Edited by Jason Hedman
(This story originally appears the print version of the Summer/Fall 2020 issue of Downtown Kenosha Magazine)