A Tiki Tour of Chicago & Milwaukee

Well, fellow Midwesterners, it's that time: the streets are slushy, temps are still in the low digits and there's a bleakness in the air that's starting to weigh on our spirits. No matter how much you love winter and snow, this pre-spring chill is rough. 

This was the view from our doorstep during last year's polar vortex. Rumor has it this Thursday could be the coldest day on record for Chicago, with temps in the negatives and wind chills in the double-digit negatives. 

This was the view from our doorstep during last year's polar vortex. Rumor has it this Thursday could be the coldest day on record for Chicago, with temps in the negatives and wind chills in the double-digit negatives. 

Luckily, if you just can't book that flight to a sunnier spot as we speak, there are a bevvy of local places with the power to rescue you from the winter doldrums. A new generation of high-end tiki bars are bringing year-round tropical vibes right to our snowy backyard. 

So crank up the heat, throw on some reggae and sip to your Caribbean-loving heart's content at these three Chicago and Milwaukee winter oases.

Chicago's Three Dots and a Dash beautifully takes on the classic Mai Tai. Source: Facebook

Chicago's Three Dots and a Dash beautifully takes on the classic Mai Tai. Source: Facebook

Lucky Joe's Tiki Room, Milwaukee

Source: GMToday.com

Source: GMToday.com

Enjoying the warm atmosphere at Lucky Joe's.

Enjoying the warm atmosphere at Lucky Joe's.

Last weekend, we happened upon Lucky Joe's Tiki Room in Milwaukee's Walker's Point. The second you walk in, you're whisked away to a balmy island paradise of totem poles, surfboards and softly colorful lighting. We started out with a booze-packed Scorpion Bowl to share, but my favorite was the "Honey I Caught Coladas," a tasty version of the classic. 

The Lucky Joe's Scorpion Bowl -- a potent mixture of gin, rum, vodka and an assortment of tasty juices.

The Lucky Joe's Scorpion Bowl -- a potent mixture of gin, rum, vodka and an assortment of tasty juices.

On the left, the Zombie Joe -- a drink so boozy, patrons are limited to one each. On the right, my favorite beverage on the menu: Honey I Caught Coladas.

On the left, the Zombie Joe -- a drink so boozy, patrons are limited to one each. On the right, my favorite beverage on the menu: Honey I Caught Coladas.

Lost Lake, Chicago

Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook

Source: DNAInfo Chicago

Lost Lake is an instant Logan Square hit, opened just last month by the former mixologist behind uber popular Three Dots and a Dash. In all honestly, I still haven't been -- but I've heard plenty of friends raving about the laid-back atmosphere to firmly put it at the top of my must-see's.

Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook

Three Dots and a Dash, Chicago

Source: Gallery Hip

Source: Gallery Hip

Three Dots and a Dash, which translates to "V" (victory) in morse code, started the tiki trend in Chicago when it first opened downtown in 2013. It's a dimly lit tropical haven in the winter, tucked underground and featuring inventive cocktails that are just as pretty as they are delicious. In our first visit, we sampled everything from the classics to the signatures -- all of which pack a strong punch. My fave? Bunny's Banana Daiquiri.

Savoring our tropical concoctions, including the Saturn (left) and the Poipu Beach (right) -- I think! I wish I would've taken better notes to remember exactly what these were.

Savoring our tropical concoctions, including the Saturn (left) and the Poipu Beach (right) -- I think! I wish I would've taken better notes to remember exactly what these were.