With the closing of Trader Vics I need advice as to where to find good tropical (tiki) drinks anywhere in the Chicago area. The food is a very secondary consideration. Although places in Chicago are easier to get to, recommendations throughout the area are welcome. In particular, how do the drinks at the Tiki Terrace and Hala Kahiki compare. A recent post talked about the food at those places and that is what put this subject on my mind.
I strongly advise against going to Tiki Terrace unless you call for a reservation and even then, inquire fairly closely about whether they are having an event that night. I like the place but I've stopped going there for a while after a few times when they (for instance) accepted a reservation because they thought an event would be over or they just forgot they were having one or something, and then they were unable to seat us. They are very nice people but the place is only partly a restaurant.
My comment about the Hala Kahiki's food vs. Tiki Terrace was a joke (HK "famously" is a drinks-ONLY place).
Tiki Terrace's drinks are also in the $6-$7 range, except on Tuesdays when Mai Tais are 3 bucks and Thursdays when Zombies are 2 for 1. Oh yeah! Be warned, there are lots of police in the sleepy burbs surrounding the area. Watch your speed and have a designated driver. There's also a Metra stop very nearby.
The guys that own Tiki Terrace are also professional prop builders and have done a spectacular job with the interior. It's so well-executed that it more "theme-parky" than merely kitschy. Definitely worth a visit. Here's a link www.thetikiterrace.com
I have been going to Hala Kahiki off and on for years. It is a fun place with cool tiki decor and a huge drink menu. The drinks are elaborate and come in a variety of different styles of kitschy glassware. However, I find the drinks to be somewhat weak (compared to Trader Vics). They are not cheap, but not overly expensive either ($5-$7). Unless it has changed recently (which it hasn't in 30 years), the only food they serve is pretzels. Still, if you haven't been there, it is worth checking out.