We are entering a golden age of tropical inebriation. Tiki cocktail culture, a faux-lynesian phenomenon beloved by mid-century Americans celebrating victory Over There, is now into a third wave. Following its Baby Booming inception, and subsequent Seventies backlash, tiki was dormant. A brief resurgence in the late-Nineties and early Aughts was characterized by what cultural anthropologists might call “kitschy hipster nonsense.” Thankfully, Tiki 3.0 elevates the genre. Now, colorful bars combine complex mixology (think: layered flavors, house-made syrups and fresh juices) with the sort of freewheeling fun enjoyed exclusively by those at least one generation removed from a movement’s inception. Here are six bars redefining tiki.
3. Chicago, IL: Three Dots and a Dash
Named Best New American Cocktail Bar at Tales of the Cocktail this summer, the Melman brothers’ latest operation is the Windy City’s first tiki bar since Trader Vic’s closed in 2011. It may seem flashy — thumping club music, that spare bottle of Dom Perignon accompanying your $385 punch bowl — but cocktails here are the real deal. The list spans originals from Don the Beachcomber and Bar La Florida in 1935-era Havana, as well as tiki newcomers made with rum, gin, genever and mezcal. 435 North Clark St., 312-610-4220