Need a tiki escape from the snow? Those lines down Diversey could intensify even further now that Imbibe magazine has honored Lost Lake as its 2015 Cocktail Bar of the Year. Paul McGee's rum wonderland took home the honor, and the entire crew is elated. Imbibe touted Lost Lake's service and creative offerings including twists on classic tiki beverages and the bar's sharable large-format drinks.
McGee's wife, Shelby Allison, and her bartender brothers also received mentions in the write-up that Allison posted on Instagram. Chicagoist first noticed the post. Imbibe is a revered publication among bars, and Allison said the she and her staff are humbled and honored. Imbibe noted that Lost Lake isn't just about tiki drinks, and Allison agreed.
"We've got an incredible selection of rum, of course, but we're also beefing up our back bar in other ways, too — you'll find more Scotch whisky, Sherry, and agave spirits all the time," she wrote via email. "Our bar is also staffed by some of the most talented, hospitable, and knowledgable bartenders around, and they're ready to take you from a Mai Tai to a Hotel Nacional Special to a Sazerac without skipping a beat."
Allison also noted that the most-popular tiki bars are traditionally in the wintry Midwest, and next year the bar hopes to finally launch its rum club. They're also planning to launch a new winter menu soon. While nestled northwest of The Loop, Lost Lake has managed to draw tourists who contribute to the long weekend waits. This latest award could make the bar busier.
"While we consider ourselves a neighborhood bar first and foremost, we're definitely a destination for lots of folks," Allison wrote. "We enjoy hosting visitors from other parts of the city as well as around the country — both the tikiphiles that come in looking to test our classic tiki recipe chops and the classic cocktail enthusiasts that come in to talk to Paul about rum. I hope that this award will let even more people know about all that Lost Lake offers!"