[dropcap]S[/dropcap]tanding on the corner of Diversey and Kedzie, one might have a hard time imagining that the neighbor is home to Chicago’s newest tiki bar, Lost Lake. The bar’s frosted windows prevent pedestrians from peering in, and the main entrance is shared with its sister business, a Chinese restaurant called Thank You.
However; once inside, Chicago bar-goers discover a place filled with warm lighting, lively music and a whole lot of bamboo. And that’s what bar owner Paul McGee is setting out to do.
“Lost Lake just feels like one of these mysterious kinds of places you just stumble across,” he said during an interview with EXTRA. “It made a little bit of sense; we’re near one of the Great Lakes.”
McGee, a bartender and Logan Square local, is no stranger to tiki bars. His previous tiki bar, Three Dots and a Dash, was well-received in the River North neighborhood. And aside from that, McGee has plenty of experience serving up drinks at The Whistler’s tiki night.
Using this experience, McGee is trying to “demystify” rum as an ingredient for cocktails. “I really want to highlight rum as a really diverse spirit.”
“A lot of people’s perceptions of rum is that it’s always sweet,” he said. “There are many, many different styles that run the gamut from maybe being a little bit sweet to being a little bit dry and smoky and earthy.” Where that plays into Lost Lake’s angle, he says, “It’s really a rum bar with a focus on tiki drinks.”
Along with the opening of Lost Lake came the opening of Thank You, a Chinese take-out restaurant sharing the front door with the tiki bar. To McGee, the two ventures opining together makes all the sense in the world. “That’s the thing about tiki bars, they always serve Chinese food.” McGee went on to explain the ties between tiki bars and Chinese restaurants. “It’s really a symbiotic relationship,” he said. “One of the things we wanted to do was really identify this as a bar, but you can still get Chinese take-out at your table.”
As for the unusual name of Thank You, McGee explained it was a reference to how many Chinese restaurants will give customers their take-out meals in containers that simply say, “thank you.”
Combined with the friendly staff, a moderately-priced menu (most cocktails are just $12) and delicious drinks, Lost Lake is sure to make Logan Square residents feel warm and welcome. “I love the location,” said McGee. “Even though I live in Logan Square, I had really missed being part of the bar scene in Logan Square.”