Watch CBS News

Best Bars With Tropical Drinks In Chicago

Tiki bars with sturdy adult bevvies donning paper umbrellas used to be all the rage, but their numbers have dwindled (it's time for a revival, to be sure). Trader Vic's made a weak stab at a comeback a few years ago, and quietly snuffed the Tiki torches, but we'll be just fine breezing into these tropical cocktail venues for a taste of the islands while we pretend Lake Michigan is the Pacific. Huli pau!
Three Dots and a Dash
(Photo Credit:

Three Dots And A Dash
435 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 610-4220

Three Dots and a Dash has the additional cachet of secrecy, since you enter through an alleyway entrance without blaring signage, but the real draw is the insanely delicious tropical drink menu. Mai Tais, Daiquiris and Painkillers are artfully presented with intricate garnishes (bananas carved into dolphins). Drink one and say "aloha" to your brain cells or come with a group and have your libations served in a colossal clam shell or a treasure chest. Then, order the Captain's Pu-Pu Platter of fried victuals and you're ready for a slow boat to Polynesia.

Chef Shangri-La
7930 W. 26th St.
North Riverside, IL 60546
(708) 442-7080 

Straight out of the 1960s, Chef Shangri-La offers all of the Tiki carvings, faux grass wall coverings and fried Chinese and Polynesian menu items one could possibly hope for. The Tiki Bar specializes in rum, super proof rum and other hard spirit cocktails blended with the likes of coconut cream and electric blue liquids. Of course, count on Mai Tais, Planters Punch, Scorpions and Zombies, but also the aptly named Maui Owie (with gin) and scatologically named sips made with 151 like the Flaming Virgin and Ka-mon-i-wana-lei-a.

(Photo Credit:

Castaways On North Avenue Beach
1603 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 281-1200

You cannot deny that the location is ideal, on North Ave. Beach, and its moniker is optimum, connoting a deserted island. There's endless eye candy and liquid bliss in the form of Malibu Red Hot Explosions (Malibu Red, orange juice, Grenadine); Bermuda Triangles; Coconut Fizzes; and a Bacardi Miami Vice for when you cannot decide - a fun frozen blend of Piña Colada and Strawberry Daiquiri. The rooftop bar and restaurant serves appetizers, sandwiches, salads and sweets, too.

Related: Best Speakeasy Bars In Chicago

Tiki Terrace
1591 Lee St.
Des Plaines, IL 60018
(847) 795-8454

If you've been lucky enough to have encountered an authentic Hawaiian luau, you can return to the islands via Des Plaines and the only genuine Polynesian dinner and show in the Midwest. Tiki Terrace is awash in the food, decor, sounds, and ah, yes the cocktails of the Pacific. The beverage menu is considerable and relatively cheap by today's standards: sweet and blended tropicals plus martinis for under $7. That and a PuPu platter of what islanders nosh - taro chips, tuna poke and Maui onion soup - plus a spot-on luau with a one-hour Polynesian themed revue and you're back on the Big Island. .

Hala Kahiki
2834 River Road
River Grove, IL 60171
(708) 456-3222

Hala Kahiki is a real pukka shell in the rough and praise Kamapuaʻa that it stays this way. The kind of place that you might recall from a disturbing dream (the original owners went from running a funeral parlor to the bar), Hala Kahiki is a lounge offering more than 100 tropical libations served in funky Tiki style vessels. The adjacent gift shop isn't always open, but just ask at the bar and someone will gladly unlock the door for beachy tchochke.

Related: Best Bistros In Chicago

Jacky Runice has been a columnist with the Daily Herald Chicago since grunge music and flannel was the new black. Her fingers and gray matter have been busy as travel editor of Reunions Magazine; penning a column that was syndicated around the nation via Tribune Media Services. Her work can be found at
View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.