UPDATE: Tiki Takeover - Lost Lake in Chicago

A few weeks ago, I shared my take on the top Midwestern tiki bars, with the disclaimer that I'd personally only visited two of the three. Well, I'm happy to share that as of last week, I crossed the third off my bucket list -- and it's just as good, if not better, than expected.

On the outskirts of Chicago's Logan Square, Lost Lake is a landlocked tropical oasis. It was a chilly weeknight when we walked into its sticky-sweet haze of balmy air, bamboo and banana-soaked rum -- seriously, if a bar can take on a persona, this place is Ricky Ricardo crossed with a dash of Sean Connery

Get there are soon as you can! I hear the line forms even before its 4 p.m. Saturday opening -- but I promise, it's totally worth it. When you make it in, you have to try the Mystery Gardenia -- and I dare you to limit it to just one. 

Only adding to its intrigue, you have to be looking to find Lost Lake. The only indication is a small neon "tiki" sign out front, along with a discrete hanging parrot-shaped sign. 

Only adding to its intrigue, you have to be looking to find Lost Lake. The only indication is a small neon "tiki" sign out front, along with a discrete hanging parrot-shaped sign. 

I started with the Ripples on an Evaporated Lake -- a curious coffee-laden choice for a weeknight. It was good, but certainly not something to put on your must-try list.

I started with the Ripples on an Evaporated Lake -- a curious coffee-laden choice for a weeknight. It was good, but certainly not something to put on your must-try list.

Easily our favorite cocktail on the menu -- the Mystery Gardenia!

Easily our favorite cocktail on the menu -- the Mystery Gardenia!

My partners in "lime," enjoying the Mystery Gardenia and that night's vacation beer selection.

My partners in "lime," enjoying the Mystery Gardenia and that night's vacation beer selection.



Three Places I'd Rather Be Right Now

From blizzards to below-zero temps, the Windy City is in the throes of winter. Right now, I wish I could be...

1. On this secluded Cozumel beach.

It's hard to believe my honeymoon was already almost two years ago. After a fantastic wedding weekend with friends and family in Lake Geneva, Chris and I escaped the Midwest's unseasonably cold spring for an all-inclusive getaway to Riviera Maya, Mexico

The highlight  of our stay was a day trip to Cozumel. After a harrowing ferry trip to the island, we rented a ruby red Jeep and circled the highway, stopping at roadside outposts and secluded beaches along the way -- including the one pictured above.

We even grabbed pineapple margaritas at a makeshift tiki hut, where we climbed the rocky coastline and pointed out whirlpools circling in the waters below.

Unfortunately, not many pictures made it home after Chris left his phone in the Jeep, which we later tracked via Find My iPhone to a Cozumel neighborhood we figured we shouldn't explore. That said, I remember it like yesterday -- and would go back in a second.

2. At this Charleston rooftop lounge.

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Anyone who knows me knows Charleston is my favorite American city. Last year Chris and I spent New Year's week in the Lowcountry with my parents, eating in the best restaurants and exploring the historic nearby sites.

In the evenings, Chris and I did our own exploring - where we found this sylish bar atop the Market Pavilion Hotel. With the romantically lit pool and the sights of Charleston in the backdrop, we loved this bar's ambiance -- and its mojitos.

3. In this cozy Parisian jazz bar.

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Granted, Paris is probably not much warmer than Chicago right now. But it's Paris -- enough said. After hearing mixed reviews about this quintessential city, I was pleasantly surprised to find it even dreamier than I expected when we made a whirlwind visit last summer.

From my first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower as we Uber'ed to our hotel, I was in love. And that love grew even more when we found Le Caveau des Oubliettes, a cavernous jazz bar just south of รŽle Saint-Louis

It's drippy, dim, claustrophobic and utterly fabulous -- the kind of place where everyone's your best friend by the end of the night. We even had the pleasure of meeting the evening's musicians, fellow Chicagoans turned expatriates living their dreams in the city of light.