Greta Gerwig’s ravenously anticipated Barbie movie has landed and Chicagoans are showing up in style — and often, in hot pink. Much like its eponymous doll, the fanfare around the movie’s debut is about more just than a film: Barbie has been a powerful and polarizing cultural phenomenon since she first hit shelves in 1959.
As such, local bars and restaurants are rolling out dolled-up drag performers, plus a plethora of pink food and drink. The organizers of the Malibu Barbie pop-up in West Loop recently announced plans to extend their run through October 15, but the immaculately styled space isn’t the only dream house in town. Here are seven local spots to party with the Barbies and contemplate mortality.
Barbie pop-up at Crio Chicago, 2506 N. Clybourn Avenue, Lathrop Homes
Latin American spot Crio Chicago is holding a Barbie pop-up of its very own with drinks like La Barbie (tequila, house margarita mix, dragonfruit, black salt rim) and Malibu Beach House (frozen pink lemonade vodka, raspberry lemonade, pink sugar rim), plus a bright pink Barbie box for social media snaps. Interested Barbies should move fast, as its last day is Tuesday, July 25.
Barbie-lote and Barbie Tacos at Rubi’s Tacos, 1316 W. 18th Street, Pilsen
Legendary Chicago taco shop Rubi’s, which has moved into a permanent storefront after two decades as a stall in the Maxwell Street Market, is glittering up its menu for Barbie Summer with perfectly pink elote and tacos in pink tortillas with pink pickled onions. The themed specials will be available at least through Friday, July 28.
The Unofficial Barbie Brunch at Simone’s, 960 W. 18th Street, Pilsen
Neighborhood tavern Simone’s is calling all dolls for its Unofficial Barbie Brunch on Sunday, August 6. Patrons are encouraged to don their pinkest glad rags for a themed menu and a show hosted by “the Chameleon of Chicago” Jasmine Phoenix, flanked by a cast of drag performers. Tickets ($15) and more details are available via Eventbrite. Seating will be first-come, first-served. The Unofficial Barbie Brunch, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, August 6.
Barbie Drag Brunch at Untitled Supper Club, 111 W. Kinzie Avenue, River North
The category is Barbie at Chicago drag star Lucy Stoole’s themed drag brunch on Sunday, August 13 at Untitled Supper Club. Attendees are strongly encouraged to wear pink to the 21+ event. Tickets ($20) are available online. Barbie Drag Brunch, 11 a.m. Sunday, August 13.
Barbie Cake at Sweet Mandy B’s, 1208 W. Webster Avenue, Lincoln Park
Charming treats destination Sweet Mandy B’s is bringing cake to the Barbie party, complete with the famous doll’s iconic, ponytailed profile recreated in fondant (pink, of course). Hungry Barbies should plan ahead, as the team needs 3-5 days' notice to create the special cake, which isn’t available in-store.
Let’s Go Party cocktails at Travelle Bar at The Langham, 330 N. Wabash Avenue, River North
This swanky hotel restaurant is making a bid for Barbie bliss with a pearly pink cocktail: Let’s Go Party, made with pisco, coconut rum, watermelon, egg white, and a layer of edible pink glitter.
Barbie Dream House drinks at Eli Tea Bar, 5507 N. Clark Street, Andersonville
Booze-free Barbies get their own special at Andersonville’s outpost of Eli Tea, where the team is featuring Barbie Dream House concoctions (dragon fruit lemonade, ginger kombucha, fruit).