You don’t have to deal with the killer leg cramps from a 14-plus-hour flight to experience the islands of French Polynesia when you can just throw back stiff, fruity cocktails at exotic-themed drinkeries right here in Chicago. From a Tiki-inspired underground speakeasy to tropical dim sum to a karaoke mecca packed with rum-filled revelers, the Tiki scene is still humming in this city and its ‘burbs, offering boozy nectar served up in a conch shell. We’re holding a torch up to 14 of the best Tiki bars around, so sit back, stretch your legs, and put an umbrella in it.

ANJALI PINTO/THREE DOTS AND A DASH

Three Dots and a Dash

River North
What you're getting: Zombie Punch communal drink with Jamaican, Nicaraguan, and overproof rums, lime, pomegranate, grapefruit, and cinnamon served in a glass skull (serves 3-4 and you need to be seated to order it)
Part speakeasy and part Tiki bar, this subterranean sanctuary is hidden in the middle of the city. Access to riffs on classic Tiki cocktails, crafted for present-day beachcombers, is granted through an alley entrance where patrons pass a wall of blue skulls on their way down (you’re a fan of hidden bars, right?). Many of the wooden Tikis and artifacts once belonged to Chicago’s former Tiki hub, Trader Vic’s. Of the “What one rum can’t do, three rums -- and a gin and a whiskey and a brandy -- can” mentality, its selection boasts drinks served in glass skulls and treasure chests with dry ice fog pouring out.

CHEF SHANGRI-LA

Chef Shangri-La

North Riverside
What you're getting: The Dr. Fong is touted by many as the go-to signature drink, and its secret family recipe has been carefully guarded since 1976.
This '70s-style Tiki venue has Asian fusion specialities and popular island favorites like Coconut Fried Shrimp Po’ Boy Sliders, plus the super-cheap tropical drinks you’ve been looking for. Elvis impersonators, Aloha Chicago’s hula dancers, and fire-throwing performers put on shows here monthly, making it a festive atmosphere for swilling fruity drinks like the mysterious, neon green Dr. Fong, so your designated driver will at least have some fun.

CLAYTON HAUCK/LOST LAKE

Lost Lake

Logan Square
What you're getting: Bunny’s Banana Daiquiri with Jamaican, Guyana overproof, and spiced rums, as well as banana, coconut, and lime, topped with a carved banana dolphin garnish
Under a roof of lauhala and between the walls of iconic banana leaf-print wallpaper, Chicago’s Tiki mogul Paul McGee (of Three Dots and a Dash fame) brings tropical vibes to Logan Square. The easygoing Tiki bar offers an island influence without the heavy theme park kitsch factor, and artfully crafted drinks are served in traditional Tiki wares, as well as shells and other sea-inspired souvenir glasses. End your mini vacation with takeout Chinese from the neighboring Thank You.

THE ORBIT ROOM

The Orbit Room

Avondale
What you're getting: Sneaky Tiki with orange vodka, coconut rum, peach schnapps, pineapple, and sweet tea
If you can get past the retro interior of the dimly lit, eclectic-sounding main lounge of this neighborhood haunt, you’ll find unexpected solace on its back patio. The beer garden with a Tiki vibe has drinks complete with the little umbrellas you’ve been seeking, and you’ll be able to gorge on pulled pork nachos and Cubano sandwiches al fresco. After all, if you were on a real island, you’d be outside, right?

 TIKI TERRACE

The Tiki Terrace

Des Plaines
What you're getting: Lava Flow -- a piña colada with fresh strawberry puree and banana served in a Tiki mug
Amid the oversized palm fronds and totally Tiki kitsch, you won’t even remember you’re in a Des Plaines strip mall when you catch one of its action-packed shows against the backdrop of a couple 12ft Easter Island moai statues. Every Friday and Saturday night, its luau show, Echoes of Polynesia, features hula dancers and warrior chants from a variety of islands. Turns out, this is a fantastic way to embarrass someone on stage for their birthday or anniversary if you let them know what you’re celebrating ahead of time.

VIRGINIA CARSTARPHEN/TRADER TODD’S

Trader Todd's

Lakeview
What you're getting: Pain Killer with fresh-squeezed orange juice, pineapple, cream of coconut, nutmeg, dark rum, and overproof rum
Grab a mic and a tropical drink (or three) at this Wrigleyville Tiki-themed karaoke/sports bar. If you’re walking in stone-cold sober, a potent Pain Killer will be your go-to choice for the evening, so you can stomach the inevitable sloppy bachelorette party renditions of “Don’t Stop Believin’” or the guy trolling the bar with Nickelback songs. Plus, it’ll be fresh-squeezed and rum-infused liquid courage for your turn on stage.

NICOLE BRUCE/Thrillist

Kona Kai Tiki Lounge

Wood Dale
What you're getting: Mai Tai with a blend of rums, Curaçao liqueur, and fruit juices served in a tall, palm frond-inspired glass
In Tahitian, the name of the quintessential Tiki cocktail “Mai Tai” apparently means “out of this world.” This Tiki lounge puts its own twist on Trader Vic’s original recipe from 1944, and it challenges you to find a better one. You could do that... or just stick around for any number of live performances from iconic bands and vocalist groups like The Drifters and board the “Love Train” instead.

NICOLE BRUCE/Thrillist

Tong's Tiki Hut

Villa Park
What you're getting: Piña colada in a coconut Tiki mug
It can be difficult to sustain a Tiki-themed establishment for very long, but this mom-and-pop “hut” has been around for more than 30 years. With a giant Easter Island Tiki head at its core, storefront windows and doors covered entirely by bamboo, hanging decor (like lobsters, “Tiki god” masks, and woven fish traps), and large murals dedicated to the motif, the restaurant/bar caters to the dine-in and takeout crowd and boasts the “best egg rolls” in town. And the piña colada might just have the creamiest coconut and rum blend you’ve ever tasted.

NICOLE BRUCE/Thrillist

Won Kow

Chinatown
What you're getting: Volcano-sized Mai Tai served in a ceramic Tiki bowl with a flaming overproof rum shot in the center
All those Tiki cocktails can add up quickly, but this traditional Chinese abode has beverages that can easily accommodate two rum guzzlers for the price of a single drink at other fine establishments in the city. Load up on some damn-good dim sum while imbibing in giant, communal “volcano bowls” that include raised reservoirs filled with blazing 151-proof rum for $14 each.

NICOLE BRUCE/Thrillist

Paradise Club 

Montclare
What you're getting: Zombie Punch with enough rum to pickle the undead, plus cinnamon syrup, grapefruit & lime juice, falernum, Angostura bitters, Herbsaint, and grenadine
You’ll find a lineup of middle-aged men noshing on house sausages and potato chips while intently watching the Blackhawks at this quiet, 60-plus-year-old Polish dive with a Tiki flair. If you’re lucky, some patrons might take a break to tell you about the time they drank too many of the owner/bartender’s deadly Zombie Punches and saw Tarzan swinging in the Blue Lagoon painting... which is probably why three different sizes of the drink aren’t available anymore. With most of the lights used to illuminate a few fish tanks in the place, you won’t exactly be able to see what you’re drinking, but you should be enjoying it with your eyes closed anyway. And, if you didn’t know it before you walked in, the lit sign by the bar will tell you, “This is a classy joint. Act respectable.”

NICOLE BRUCE/Thrillist

Malahini Terrace

Willowbrook
What you're getting: Planter’s Punch -- an islander’s favorite featuring dark rum, lemon juice, grenadine, and a dash of Angostura bitters, in a vintage “Orchids of Hawaii Fu Manchu” Tiki mug
This Tiki joint with whimsical island decor has a mix of Chinese- and Polynesian-themed cuisine with tropical drinks and a lunch buffet for less than $7 each. Check out the Zodiac signs of various celebrities (did you know Sigmund Freud was a Dragon?), as well as your own while guzzling strong, fruity punches.

ISLAND PARTY BOAT

Island Party Boat/Island Party Hut

Monroe Harbor & The Chicago Riverwalk/The Loop
What you're getting: Tropical Margarita with a mean blend of tequila, triple sec, lime, and sour mix (boats are also BYOB with the exception of some special packages)
Tiki-philes can take their festivities to the next level via a waterslide-equipped Polynesian party barge out of Monroe Harbor. Seafaring groups of up to 36 people (and even their pooches) can cruise Lake Michigan and the river on one of eight vessels in the fleet, including the 50ft "Big Kahuna" or the smaller "Polynesian." Once you’ve downed a few fruity margaritas, continue the party at their new Tiki hut on the Chicago Riverwalk, where they have a full bar and live music on Saturdays, not to mention the "Kahuna Burger" with fresh pineapple chutney you’ll be needing to soak up the booze.

NICOLE BRUCE/Thrillist

Hala Kahiki Lounge

River Grove
What you're getting: Hala Kahiki with a blend of two of the lounge’s 151-proof-rum-topped house specialities -- the Zombie and the Scorpion --served in a real, frozen pineapple
Named after a pineapple plantation in Hawaii, this lounge nobly sets a high torch for Tiki enthusiasts. Replete with soft-glowing hula girl lamps, blowfish-turned-light fixtures, wooden statues and signage, and an outdoor oasis, it’s a shrine to all things Tiki. Choosing from the pages of its extensive beverage menu is an adventure. Should you opt for the impressive Hala Kahiki in a frozen pineapple (and you should), it’ll be hard to pace yourself before you hit the bottom. But then you can ask for a spoon to finish it off as a rum-drenched slushie.

Sign up here for our daily Chicago email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Three Dots and a Dash 435 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654 (River North)

Three Dots and a Dash is a tiki-themed speakeasy in the back of Bub City that's pouring out crazy tropical cocktails in vessels like glass skulls and treasure chests.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
2. Chef Shangri-La 7930 W 26th St North Riverside, Chicago, CA 60546

This 70’s style Tiki venue has Asian fusion specialities and popular island favorites like coconut fried shrimp po’ boy sliders, plus the super cheap tropical drinks you’ve been looking for. Elvis impersonators, Aloha Chicago’s hula dancers, and fire throwing performers put on shows here monthly, making it a festive atmosphere for swilling fruity drinks like the mysterious, neon green Dr. Fong.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
3. Lost Lake 3154 W Diversey Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Logan Square)

Chicago Tiki mogul Paul McGee (of Three Dots and a Dash) is behind Lost Lake, a temple to all things Polynesian in Logan Square. The cocktail bar serves rum-soaked classics and originals, including daily daiquiri specials and group punches, in tiki mugs and volcano bowls. Decorated like the original Don's Beachcomber Cafe, Lost Lake is decked out with banana leaf wallpaper and thatched bamboo but doesn't have the kitschy vibe of many tiki bars.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
4. The Orbit Room 2959 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60645 (Avondale)

Relax in the stunning outside patio or survey the extensive cocktail list at the retro bar inside—you can’t go wrong at The Orbit Room. A surprisingly upscale bar for the neighborhood, the prices are reasonable and the décor is updated ‘70s tiki style. If you like strong drinks that come complete with tiny umbrellas, this is the place for you.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
5. The Tiki Terrace 1591 Lee St, Des Plaines, IL 60018

Amid the oversized palm fronds and totally Tiki kitsch, you won’t even remember you’re in a Des Plaines strip mall. Every Friday and Saturday night, their luau show, Echoes of Polynesia, features hula dancers and warrior chants from a variety of islands. Turns out, this is an awesome way to embarrass someone on stage for their birthday or anniversary.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
6. Trader Todd's 3216 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago, IL 60657 (Lakeview)

At Trader Todd's you can sing karaoke, drink in a beer garden setting and make a fool of yourself all in one place. Grab a mic and a tiki-tropical drink and start singing.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
7. Kona Kai Tiki Lounge 334 Georgetown Square, Wood Dale, IL 60191

In Tahitian, the name of the quintessential Tiki cocktail “Mai Tai” apparently means “out of this world.” This Tiki lounge puts its own twist on Trader Vic’s original recipe from 1944, and they challenge you to find a better one. You could do that...or just stick around for any number of their live performances from iconic bands and vocalist groups, like The Drifters, and board the “Love Train” instead.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
8. Tong's Tiki Hut 100 E Roosevelt Rd #18, Villa Park, IL 60181

It can be difficult to sustain a Tiki-themed establishment for very long, but this mom-and-pop “hut” has been around for over 30 years. With a giant Easter Island Tiki head at its core, storefront windows, and doors covered entirely by bamboo, hanging decor like lobsters, “Tiki god” masks, woven fish traps, and large murals dedicated to the motif, the restaurant/bar caters to the dine-in and take-out crowd boasting the “best egg rolls” in town. And the piña colada might just have the creamiest coconut and rum blend you’ve ever tasted.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
9. Won Kow 2237 S Wentworth Ave, Chicago, IL 60616 (Chinatown)

All those Tiki cocktails can add up quickly, but this traditional Chinese abode has beverages that can easily accommodate two rum-guzzlers for the price of a single drink at other fine establishments in the city. Load up on some damn good dim sum while imbibing in giant, communal “volcano bowls” that include raised reservoirs filled with blazing 151 proof rum for $14 each.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
10. Paradise Club 7068 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60634

You’ll find a line-up of middle-aged men noshing on house sausages and potato chips while intently watching the Blackhawks at this quiet 60+ year old Polish dive with a Tiki flair. If you’re lucky, some patrons might take a break to tell you about the time they drank too many of the owner/bartender’s deadly Zombie Punches and saw Tarzan swinging in the Blue Lagoon painting. With most of the lights used to illuminate a few fish tanks in the place, you won’t exactly be able to see what you’re drinking, but you should be enjoying it with your eyes closed anyway. And, if you didn’t know it before you walked in, the lit sign by the bar will tell you, “This is a classy joint. Act respectable.”

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
11. Malahini Terrace 321 75th St, Willowbrook, IL 60527

This Tiki joint with whimsical island decor has a mix of Chinese and Polynesian themed cuisine with tropical drinks and a lunch buffet for less than $7 each. Check out the Zodiac signs of various celebrities (did you know Sigmund Freud was a Dragon?) as well as your own while guzzling strong, fruity punches.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
12. Island Party Boat 400 East Monroe, Chicago, IL 60603

Tiki-philes can take their festivities to the next level via a waterslide-equipped Polynesian party barge out of Monroe Harbor. Seafaring groups of up to 36 people (and even their pooches) can cruise Lake Michigan and the river on one of eight vessels in the fleet, including the 50-foot Big Kahuna or smaller Polynesian. Once you’ve downed a few fruity margaritas, continue the party at their new Tiki hut on the Chicago Riverwalk, where they have a full bar and live music on Saturdays, not to mention the "Kahuna Burger" with fresh pineapple chutney.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
13. Island Party Hut 355 East Riverwalk South, Chicago, IL 60611

Located on the Chicago Riverwalk, this Tiki hut features a full bar, live music on Sundays, and a menu featuring tropical eats like its highly touted Kahuna Burger.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
14. Hala Kahiki Lounge 2834 River Rd, Grove , IL 60171

Named after a pineapple plantation in Hawaii, this lounge nobly sets a high torch for Tiki enthusiasts. Replete with soft glowing hula girl lamps, blowfish-turned-light fixtures, wooden statues, and an outdoor oasis, it’s a shrine to all things Tiki. Choosing from the pages of their extensive beverage menu is an adventure. Should you opt for the impressive Hala Kahiki in a frozen pineapple (and you should), it’ll be hard to pace yourself before you hit the bottom. But then you can ask for a spoon to finish it off as a rum-drenched slushie.

Clickbait