20 August 2013

Lost City: Wisconsin Edition: The Hob Nob

The Hob Nob is a classic Wisconsin supper club that sits alongside Lake Michigan in a lonely stretch of rural highway between Racine and Kenosha. Is was founded in 1937 in downtown Racine by the Higgins family. In 1954, it moved to its current location. It is currently run by Mike Aletto and Anne Glowacki. Like all supper clubs, it serves things like steaks, seafood, prime rib, and Friday fish fries, along with old school cocktails, in a comfortable, homey, and hopefully old-fashioned atmosphere. 

The Hob Nob would deserve attention based on the triple threat of its fabulous outdoor neon alone (all three seen here). But the inside is a sight as well. A friend described it as "Liberace's living room," and that's about right. There's lots of bad art on the wall, lush red banquettes, long candleholders, and everything is overdone. Yet it's cozy and charming. And the bar is breathtaking, commanding a long unbroken view, through a vast picture window, of Lake Michigan. I could sit at that bar all day. I apologize for not having taken photos. I was enjoying myself too much. 


Linda said...

Sounds like a neat place. It's so sad that the friendly old fashioned atmosphere seems to be vanishing.

upstate johnny g said...

Hey Brooks, is this a shot of the interior? If so, that view over the lake is killer!


M.Lane said...

I LOVE the Hob Nob!! I love all Wisconsin supper clubs they are a true classic.

Now I cant wait to go back.



Anonymous said...

Just as in Miami Beach in roughly the same era (early-mid-50's), Greater Chicagoland area Lakeside hotels, motels and restaurants built around that time were designed in what was called "Googie"-style (after a chain of Los Angeles eateries who pioneered it.) Wildwood NJ has the same sort of architecture. It has attracted preservationists who have sought to have certain examples landmarked.

Anonymous said...

The fact that it's called a "supper club," does that mean it's for members only?


Brooks of Sheffield said...

So nice to see so many comments about the Hob Nob! To answer your questions: Ironrails: I think, in the past, some of the restaurants were private clubs, but none are today. More important, though, the "club" designation referred to the idea that you could get a full night's entertainment here: dinner, music, dancing. The live music and dancing part faded out in the 1950s. Just the dinner part is left.

Upstate Johnny: Yes! That is a photo of one room of the interior. In fact, I ate in that are. The lake view from the bar is even more killer!

ProudNIMBY said...

I've driven by this place enough times every summer, but didn't go south of Racine this year. Lots of new, good, unpretentious, authentic Mexican restaurants in Racine took up my dining time. The Hob Nob'll be on the agenda for next year.

Recently, on another blog I used the word "hobnobbing around", and some twit remarksnarkeded what an old-fashioned word it was. I guess if you are 23, it is.

citronyella said...

Reminds me of the lost Gobbler Inn of Johnson Creek, WI.


Would love to see more photos of the Hob Nob!

Brett Underhill said...

Drove past here about the same time while driving from Milwaukee to Madison by way of Kenosha - always have to make a stop at Tenuta's Deli! Wish we had stopped here, but we dropped in on The Village supper club in Delavan instead. Next time The HobNob for sure.

Someone opened a WI-style supper club restaurant on West Broadway (http://thebutterflynyc.com/) but while it may have a patty melt and a brandy old fashioned (the former a rare bird in NYC, the latter considered an abomination by NYC mixologists), it's missing the atmosphere of the old, musty, stuck-in-time supper clubs of WI (and upstate NY), which is a huge part of the experience. Still, if it has a good patty melt, I can't say 'no'.

robert said...

So glad you posted this. Drove up to Milwaukee along the shoreline, and this was a pleasant surprise. Didn't have time to go in, but will be sure to make some the next time I'm in the area.
And on the interior shot, are those castors on the dining chairs? (!)