Aloha! Let's All Go to the TIKI BAR :D
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Aloha! Let's All Go to the TIKI BAR :D

In keeping with all things sentimental. I going to share with you my love of tropical drinks with a little history. I don't remember ever consciously thinking about Tiki bars, but the first time I went tothe one that I'm writing about tonight, I didn't get the Hawaiian concept. (Hey it was the seventies, what did I know then!) My favorite Tiki bar (only one that I've ever cared to go to in the Chicago area) is the Hala Kahiki Lounge, @ 2834 River Rd. River Grove, Il. The location originally was a greenhouse, but the owners, ( to create a more date like atmosphere), transformed it into a tropical bar. As you enter you are transferred back to era when 'South Pacific' was hot. It's a time capsule of 50's  Hawaiian decor. I do not follow collectible Hawaiiana, but I would say those that do would salivate if they entered. Every Hawaiian wood carving, woven mat wall covering, hanging shell lighting-fixture  and tropical furniture SCREAMS 50's. In the background you hear Hawaiian songs ( until some fool decides to play the juke box which is your basic oldies rock mix). The lighting is kept low, you can actually have a conversation. AND the tropical drinks, heavenly, pages and pages of them. (They do make killer martini's). No food is served. Try the ZOMBIE, deceptively good, refreshing, but wow. Designate someone else to be the driver. I like to go there even in the wintertime when it's freezing outside. Makes me forget about Chicago weather. They have an outside garden, all Hawaiian open during the summer. There's a fountain in one corner. It's quiet, you can hardly hear other people talking. TIKI lights (of course) the only illumination. I like the fact it hasn't changed in over forty years. I think it's going to be around as long as the owners want to keep it open. Every time I've gone there it's always full with a mix of people from thirties and up. Next time you want an alcoholic beverage that doesn't taste like one, has a funny name like "Kamikaze" in a place that hasn't changed since the sixties, then find your way to the Hala Kahiki Lounge.  Oh, by the way the name means: "House of Pineapple." Have fun and don't forget to leave the waitress a good tip! Ciao, :D

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