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.
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.
Lucky Joe's Tiki Room, Milwaukee
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.
Lost Lake, Chicago
Three Dots and a Dash, Chicago
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.