On the outside, nothing seemed all that special about , 5917 Manatee Ave. W. #509.
It’s not a stand-alone bar in a distinct building but one of about a dozen tenants in Pebble Springs Plaza on Manatee Avenue West. Its bright red sign glows enticingly at night, but from the parking lot on a recent Saturday evening, all appeared quiet. Inside it was different.
For a small bar, In Cahoots packs in a little bit of everything in a way that isn’t overdoing it.
At the karaoke/DJ booth, Mike Bliss was just taking his post in front of an already lively crowd. He handled the first couple songs, but it didn't take long before the microphone was handed off to the first in a steady string of wannabe rock stars belting out their renditions of “Babby Got Back,” “Cupid Shuffle” and other songs that tend to get stuck in your head for days.
“It’s a hole in the wall with a lot in it,” said Bliss, who’s a regular barfly when he’s not running karaoke.
Karaoke is the main attraction at In Cahoots. It starts around 10 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday nights.
But karaoke isn't the only feature In Cahoots has to offer. Other entertainment options include video games, a couple of pool tables and a dozen flat screen televisions anchored throughout the place. In Cahoots has the NFL Sunday Ticket, so, football fans, this is the place to be for this season's games.
If all the entertainment you require on a weekend night is a seat at the bar with plenty of options, In Cahoots won't disappoint. It's a full liquor bar, serves wine and has plenty of beer in stock including the popular domestics and about 20 imports, crafts and ciders. Killians is the house beer: $1.25 all day everyday.
Paulie Kochanowski, another In Cahoots regular known as Uncle Paulie, said he first visited about a decade ago when the new owners took over and changed it from “just a beer bar” to a vibrant little joint that appeals to everyone.
“It’s a younger crowd but older people like me like the atmosphere,” Kochanowski said. “It seems like a good mix of people. There are never any fights.”
Bliss, who's known as "Hopper" at In Cahoots, said that’s why he’s a regular.
“There is never a bouncer here and that can mean one of two things about a bar,” he said. “Either the owners don’t care or the bar is a place where there are never any fights and the people take care of their own. And, here, it’s the latter.”
In Cahoots makes good use of the space it has. One corner of the bar called the “Wing Barn” with faux bricks and wooden posts took on an Old West style while, in the opposite corner, club lighting bounced off photos of rock stars like AC/DC and Aerosmith. And, somehow, it blends together wonderfully like Captain with Coke.
Happy hour starts as soon as the bar opens and runs until 7 p.m. on weekdays. On Saturday and Sunday happy hour is from noon until 5 p.m.
Thursday night specials include $2.50 margaritas and $3 tequila shots and hospitality nights ($4 pitchers and $2 wells) are 10 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday.
The bar has a kitchen and a light menu. To go orders are also available. It’s not a restaurant, though, so smoking is permitted.
IF YOU GO
In Cahoots is open Monday through Saturday from noon until 2:30 a.m. and the kitchen is open from noon until 1 a.m. On Sunday In Cahoots is open from noon until midnight. Call them at (941) 794-1141.