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Tiki Central / Locating Tiki

Lost Lake, Chicago, IL (bar)

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Name:Lost Lake
Street:3152 W Diversey Ave

Paul McGee, formerly of Three Dots and a Dash, and Martin Cate of Smuggler's Cove collaborate on a tiki bar in Chicago.

Opened January 13, 2015

Sorry - couldn't figger out whether to post here or in general. That said, hope to hit this soon and often. Interesting that the place looks like they're going after a 30's-ish vibe.


Well, the 30s was when the birth of tiki happened, so I think it's a great choice.


Great interview with Martin Cate and Paul McGee in the Chicago Tribune 01/27/2015:
(I'm not sure how that's possible as today is 1/16/2015 but in any case, here it is, the future leaked, or at least until they correct the date...)

Tiki Titans McGee, Cate talk Lost Lake

So, we stopped in Thursday. Small place, at capacity, on a wait - I'm not complaining, but we moved on. We'll try again. But looking in, granted I didn't get fully into the room but still didn't see any tiki.

Quote from the Redeye article linked above: " As for the decor, “there are a lot of fish elements without being tied to faux Polynesian culture,” he said. "


Looks like a fern bar with matting on the ceiling. And no ferns.

We made it out to Lost Lake last night and I gotta say...

It's fantastic!

The atmosphere was super laid back and comfortable, the service was top-notch, and the drinks all came in different Tiki mugs (from Tiki Farm, Munktiki, and Dynasty) and were every bit as elaborately garnished and well-crafted as Three Dots (and then some...) We had a couple new drinks (the Lost Lake and the Cocoanut Grove Cooler were both phenomenal, as was the Pool Rules), and one that wandered over from River North (the Poipu Beach Boogie Board, as tasty as ever...) We had a couple appetizers from Thank You, the Chinese takeout counter next door, delivered to our table; both were very very good (the egg rolls were incredible) and they were very reasonably priced and well worth the $4 each they were priced. Drinks were around $12 (which isn't uncommon in Chicago when using quality booze), which adds up fast, but they DO have an $8 daily daiquiri available (and a few different beers around $4), which offers a tropical alternative at a lower price point.

We waited about 15 minutes for a table; It was definitely crowded, but the staff was very careful to not let in so many people waiting for tables that it ever got uncomfortable. I'm not big on crowds (like... I really don't like crowds) but we never felt uncomfortable or in the way, and the time flew by. Also, from the hostess, to the bartenders, to the bus boys and the waitstaff, everybody was incredibly friendly and professional.

The crowd was a mix of younger hipsters and neighborhood people, pretty diverse, and (again) it was super relaxed and everybody seemed to be having a good time. The soundtrack was a spot-on mix of exotica, surf, and all was at an appropriate volume. Even though it was crowded, it never felt loud or overwhelming in any way, and the staff handled it like pros.

I took a few crappy camera phone photos to give you all a little peek inside. It's a cozy, L-shaped bar - the room only holds about 50-some people - which makes for a nice, comfortable, intimate kind of vibe. The decor is tasteful, bamboo/nautical/tropical (pre-Tiki, a la places like Honolulu Harry's Waikiki that was once here in Chicago.... so, no Tikis, which was an active design decision) It's definitely not "stuff-everywhere" like the Mai Kai or Bahooka, but every surface has a texture, with lauhala matting and bamboo on the ceiling, and a rock wall in the furthest-back booth. In fact, even the BATHROOM had lauhala mats and bamboo on the ceiling, and the walls were covered with shells and bamboo... that's the first time I've seen that! The room is cozy enough that, certainly when it's crowded, the less busy decor is actually an advantage, as too much more flotsam and jetsam and it could start to feel claustrophobic. We weren't really able to see much around the corner without being creeps, but it seems like the back booths would be mighty nice, like having your own little oasis within the oasis.

The design on the menu is FANTASTIC classic 60's-style, and the art on the signature drink glassware is great.

I think that since the photos circulating in some of the recent articles were taken during the day (and, obviously, without people), you don't really get a feel for the full ambiance. It's moody-lighting, and with the lauhala and bamboo feels the way it's supposed to...

You can kinda (almost) see the furthest-back rock-wall booth in this photo...

Shell chandelier and LOTS of bamboo in the bathroom...

...obviously THOSE photos aren't very good so... uhhh... GO THERE and see it in person!

I have a sneaking suspicion we're gonna be going there a lot, so I'll try and get some better photos down the road.

I also have a sneaking suspicion it's gonna be really popular for a long time... there was a line most of the time we were there (and it was a Tuesday), but if you're in line indoors, you can order beer or a snack from the Chinese take out joint while you're waiting, which certainly makes the time go by faster. I think we'll be aiming for off hours... if you're in town on a weekend, I'd say aim to get there early for a table. That being said, the bar seats are first-come, first-served (once you've put in your name for a table) and it didn't seem like anyone had to wait TOO long to sit at a table.

It's Chicago... there are a lot of lines.

All in all... they've done a bang-up job. It has a relaxed vibe that feels plenty Tiki for those of us jonesing for a tropical getaway (with killer drinks and tasty food to boot), comfortably free of the...ahem... "downtown element" of 3 Dots, and it's chic and stylish enough to sidle in comfortably amongst Chicago's craftiest of craft cocktail bars.

I can also say, having been to a whole damn mess of Tiki bars, new and old, I can't say I've ever been anywhere that has
the same kind of decor and vibe... I'm sure if places from the 30's pre-Tiki era a la Honolulu Harry's or Don the Beachcomber on McCadden Place were still kickin' today, we might have an apt point of historical reference (at least in terms of design.)

Bravo Paul McGee & Co. ... y'all done mighty good!

Definitely check it out... we just might see ya there!



Pete, that's a fantastic review of the place. It's much better and informative than anything we'll read in the papers.

Now I'm really excited to go! I'll be heading there Valentine's weekend!

Went there on 2/13. Arrived around 4:30pm and was immediately seated. The staff was fantastic and very helpful, especially when I confessed to being a wimp with spicy food. Our server made sure the rest of the food we ordered wasn't full of heat. The food from the Chinese take-out "Thank You" that you have to walk through to get to the bar, is fantastic! I was so full but I couldn't stop stuffing myself with the

The drinks we had were fantastic! Unfortunately, that's all I remember because by the time we left, I was full of good food and drink and nothing else mattered!

We had the Dryfried Longbeans (Toban Djan, Puffed Grains, Lime Zest) which were pretty spicy; Eggrolls (Benton’s Country Ham, Drunken Shrimp, White Kimchi, Beer Mustard, Plum Sauce), which were amazing; Mongolian Beef (Painted Hills Farm Chuck, Hoisin, Rapini, Chinese Celery, Coriander, Scallion, Winter Bamboo), great flavor and tender; and Pan-Fried Egg Noodles (XO Sauce, Mustard Greens, Orange, Zhenjiang Vinegar), tasted like heaven!

Below is the Lost Lake

Below is the Mystery Gardenia

Below is the Spinning In Infinite

Below is the Tic Tac Taxi

Went last night for the first time and was severely disappointed. Don't get me wrong, the drinks are great and we will definitely be back but our experience last night left much to be desired.

When Three Dot & a Dash opened we quickly learned to avoid Fri./Sat. nights and that going early made for a less busy, more laid back feel. Once we figured that out we've gone to Three Dots regularly and always had a good time.

We figured that because Lost Lake was new and in a somewhat busier neighborhood in Chicago that we would apply the same practices put into use for Three Dots. It didn't work out so well.

We decided to go on Sunday just after 4pm when they open. When we arrived at about a quarter after the place was already 75 percent full. We decided to sit at the bar as we've always had fun talking with the bartenders at Three Dots. I was happy to see that we were seated near a bartender I recognized from Three Dots that had given us great service in the past. We were greeted and given a drink menu. We ordered our cocktails and the bartender took our menu. Around that time it became clear the bartender was friends with the people seated next to us. After getting our drinks that was about the last bit of service we received.

After a while the place really filled up. All the seats and tables were taken and people started to stand around the bar. It wasn't even 5pm at that point. By the time we finished our drinks people had began to hover around us, ordering drinks over our shoulders, making it less than comfortable. We sat and waited for our bartender to offer us the menu again. It never happened. The people ordering above our heads got their drinks. The bartender's friends seated next to us had finished their first cocktails and were on their third round and we still hadn't even been offered a second drink. The only reason we even got a second look at the menu was because my wife snapped one up after somebody set one down on the bar next to us. At that point we decided to leave come back and try again some other time.

Overall, the vibe of the place seemed mellow (before it was wall to wall people), the music was good and Paul's drinks are great. We'll have to wait see about the service on future visits (hopefully after the place has died down a bit).

Also, I know they're going for a 30's tiki vibe, but come on, there isn't a single tiki in the place.

    Paul McGee's "Lost Lake" tiki bar posted this on their Facebook page on Monday, 3/28/2016:

Due to a small electrical fire that took place in the
kitchen late last night, Lost Lake and Thank You will
be closed temporarily for repairs. We’ll be back tiki-ing
in no time — thanks for your patience and support!

"Thank You" is their companion Chinese restaurant. There are a number of reports on the web, so any Google search will provide more information. Hopefully the damage was very minor, and repairs can be made quickly.

Lost Lake posted a very nice "thank you" message to the many who helped them and their staff get through the fire.



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