Bootlegger Tiki

The sun is always shining at a tiki bar. Little umbrellas in drinks, rum-centric cocktails and a laid-back vibe never go out of season. But here’s a shocker: The first tiki bar, Don the Beachcomber, opened not in Hawaii, but in Los Angeles in 1933, with numerous other Don the Beachcomber locations popping up around the U.S. over the next few decades.

Lately, a fresh wave of exotically themed drinking spots has hit worldwide. So slip on your loudest Hawaiian shirt and saddle up to one of these bars:

Bootlegger Tiki, Palm Springs

It doesn’t matter that you’re in the middle of the desert; this spot, with its retro slant, makes you feel like you’re next to the beach. The popular bar is located right where a circa-1953 Don the Beachcomber once stood, and it nods to its predecessor with a kitschy charm and historic photos. Chilly night? The tiki torches on the outdoor patio will warm you up.

Miss Thing’s, Toronto

The opening of Miss Thing’s in Toronto’s west end marks the arrival of a fresh batch of tropical-minded spots to hit the city (Shameful Tiki Bar, a spinoff of the hugely popular Vancouver hangout, is coming later this year). At Miss Thing’s, the cocktails are elevated a few notches—try Tommy’s Colada with tromba blanco tequila, lime habanero, pineapple and coconut—and are served alongside a Pan Asian and Polynesian menu (think pork buns and mango conch). We really love the vibe here—it’s tropical without being over-the-top thanks to the gold floral touches and playful colour palette.

Lost Lake, Chicago

The kitschy ambiance at Lost Lake takes guests back in time to the heyday of the 1930s tiki bar scene—banana-leaf print wallpaper, servers dressed in tropical garb, and a menu that pays homage to 80 years of tiki bar cocktails. The bar program is run by superstar bartender Paul McGee, who has a slew of bartending awards, including Chicago’s bartender of the year. Order one of the super-sized drinks (like the Tahitian Rum Punch with rum, vermouth, and curaçao) that serve three or four thirsty friends.

Le Mal Nécessaire, Montreal

Here’s a mash-up of cultures to savour—a Polynesian-themed bar located in Chinatown in a city that’s rich in French culture. La Mal Nécessaire is a fun place where you can be served Chinese food favourites like dumplings and General Tso’s chicken, alongside fruity drinks—not just rum-based, but gin, bourbon and tequila, too—served in pineapples.