Tiki Escapism: BEST Antidote to the Craziness of the World

tiki bar

I’ve been resistant to anything tiki (drinks are too sweet, decor too kitschy) – but now, thanks to the Experimental Group’s Tiki Bordel Residence in London (see above), I am 100% on board. They have taken tiki to another level with this partnership with Cheeky Tiki (purveyors of chic tropical decor). I won’t get to London to check it out but I am inspired to do a major Tiki Bar Crawl in NYC – and perhaps Chicago and DC if my travels take me there.

Here are the top 5 spots to check out ASAP:

Dromedary Bar, 266 Irving Avenue, Bushwick

This urban tiki bar also features live events e.g. tiki burlesque and often my friend Rob Mastrianni on guitar. Food looks interesting esp. the spam apps and pupu platters.

El Cortez, 17 Ingraham Street, Bushwick

Came here recently and loved it. Want to come back to try all the tiki drinks and more of the tex-mex menu.

Leyenda, 221 Smith Street, Brooklyn

Opened a year ago by Julie Reiner of Clover Club. More Latin than Polynesian but a strong showing of tropical cocktails.

When next in Chicago:

Lost Lake, 3154 W Diversey Avenue nr. Logan Square, Chicago

Lost Lake, open for a little under a year, was honored by Imbibe as 2016’s Cocktail Bar of the Year. Paul McGee, award-winning Chicago bartender, is the genius behind this effort. This is a real tiki bar with festive tropical digs, a thatched roof & eats from Chinese take-out Thank You next door.

Or in Washington DC

Archipelago, 1201 U Street NW, DC

Open since March, this place looks AMAZING – has a contemporary tiki vibe. Also like the fact that their cocktails incorporate a wide variety of spirits including mezcal and gin.


And finally, big shout out to Martin Cate, rum expert, for bringing the cult of tiki to a new generation with his 2009 opening of Smugglers Cove in San Francisco.

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