In their first ten days of business, the new kitschy Logan Square tiki bar Lost Lake has plucked 8,022 pineapple leaves, cracked 200 coconuts, twisted 7,003 bendy straws and perfected 617 banana dolphins. If you’re judging by the numbers, it’s safe to say that Lost Lake has found a pretty crazy niche in the Chicago bar scene. But that’s par for the course for tiki master Paul McGee, who you may know from former River North tropical hotspot Three Dots and a Dash. The bearded barman has teamed up with Martin Cate of San Francisco’s Smuggler’s Cove fame to deliver an uber-tropical respite to cure your seasonal depression disorder. And then some.
Now the new beverage director of Longman & Eagle’s parent company Land and Sea Dept, McGee is committed to delivering the most authentic tiki experience possible. Decked out in—duh!—Hawaiian shirts, the waitstaff bounces behind the bar to a mix of island music and serves up a rum two punch of caribbean cocktails with modern twists. Paul’s favorite? “The Cocoanut Grove Cooler because It’s tropical, complex and slightly smoky,” he says. And for you tiki-fanatics/history buffs out there, the name is a bamboo nod to one of the pioneers of the South Seas-inspired bars that had a massive fire in the ’40′s. And that’s what we love: there’s a little history and a little mystery behind every well-dressed mai tai here.