The tiki renaissance continues to sweep the U.S., with tropical bars popping up at a rapid clip. On the heels of pioneers like Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco, the rum wave has spilled over into markets large and small, from Denver hot spots to more offbeat watering holes in cities like Tulsa and Arlington, Texas. Here are some of the coolest and most unique tiki bars to try in the U.S. right now.
Few bars in the U.S. have had the tiki-revival impact that Three Dots and a Dash has had. Since bursting onto the scene in Chicago’s River North, the subterranean sensation has remained at the forefront of must-visit destinations for tiki diehards, right up there with Smuggler’s Cove and Latitude 29. The bar is accessed via a torchlit alleyway behind Bub City, then down a set of stairs under a wall of glowing skulls. The whole thing is very Pirates of the Caribbean, but with less swashbuckling and more swilling. Inside, the cavernous bar enamors with its cozy alcoves, bamboo-clad bar, beachy soundtrack and its extensive library of rums. Now with mixologist Kevin Beary at the helm, the illustrious menu is more polished than ever, offering a wide array of classics alongside masterful originals. The humbly named “Bourbon Cocktail” contains bonded bourbon, Jamaican pot still rum, rolled oat orgeat, Madeira, lemon, cinnamon and allspice in a barrel-shaped mug, while the “Fat Bottom Mermaid” blends banana-clarified rum, tangerine, pineapple, strawberry, Fassionola and Aperol. The “Saturn + Negroni” is another stunner, combining two classic gin cocktails in one colorful glass.