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Tiki Central Forums Locating Tiki Hala Kahiki, River Grove, IL (bar)
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Hala Kahiki, River Grove, IL (bar)
Bete
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 01, 2006
Posts: 490
Posted: 2006-01-02 4:56 pm   Permalink

Name:Hala Kahiki
Type:bar
Street:2834 River Road
City:River Grove
State:IL
Zip:60171
country:USA
Phone:708-456-3222
Status:operational

Description:
This is a WAY COOL tiki bar in a suburb of Chicago that has outdoor seating in the summer, for all the info you'll need on it, go to their website at:
http://www.hala-kahiki.com



[ This Message was edited by: Bete 2006-01-02 17:06 ]


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ikitnrev
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 27, 2002
Posts: 1313
From: D.C. / Virginia
Posted: 2007-07-05 12:58 pm   Permalink

There is a nice review of the Hala Kahiki in the Chicago Tribune
http://metromix.chicagotribune.com/search/mmx-7967_lgcy,1,7128200.story

INSIDE: Hala Kahiki
A taste of Polynesian nightlife
By Brett Ratner

Sights: One immediately equates a Hawaiian-themed nightclub with cheesy decor and sweaty drunks hogging the karaoke stage. Such is not the case with Hala Kahiki. The Hawaiian and Polynesian-inspired interior is certainly elaborate. But it is also tasteful, authentic and refined. A good portion of the tables overlook a lush garden (which in warmer months provides outdoor seating). Other tables, meanwhile, offer dimly lit, restaurant-style seclusion. This journalist could rattle off a laundry list of interior acoutrements like pineapple table lights, a fountain, glowing blowfish and bamboo galore. But all you need to know is Hala Kahiki fosters a tranquil, relaxing environment that happens to have a tropical flavor.

Sounds: In keeping with the laid-back visuals, most of what you hear is quiet. If you sit back and listen, your ears are bathed in the soothing ebb and flow of soft conversation. The jukebox occasionally joins in too. On most nights, you'll hear quiet renditions of Frank Sinatra's "The Lady is a Tramp" and the perfunctory Don Ho classic, "Tiny Bubbles."

Smells: While seating a couple who requested the smoking section, the crusty-voiced, mu mu-clad waitress replied: "We're all smoking!" Regardless of the all-encompassing smoking section, Hala Kahiki proves to be smoke- and fragrance-free.

People: The crowd on this particular Friday night was not limited to any age group or social group. Most on hand were couples or pairs of couples spending a quiet evening together. Others were larger groups of women enjoying a "ladies' night out." But to any man tempted to disrupt ladies night out with a pickup line, owner Stanley Sacharski warns: "Don't even think about it." Sacharski says he enjoys a large female clientele because he provides an atmosphere where they don't get hit on. Cutoffs, T-shirts and hats of any sort are big no-nos.

Prime time: Despite Sacharski's caveat regarding spawning rituals, he says a fair number of singles show up on Fridays. On Saturday, the couples come out in full force. On Sundays, Hala Kahiki is frequented by people from a wide range of ethnic origins. The bar is billed as an after-dinner destination. It starts filling up around 8:30 p.m. Regardless of the night, get there a little early in hopes of procuring a seat overlooking the garden.

At the bar: Hala Kahiki boasts an impressive six-page drink menu. The most popular drink is the "Zombie," which mixes four types of rum with red passion, sweet and sour and papaya. Hala Kahiki also offers a dizzying selection of daiquiris as well as chocolate- and coffee-flavored drinks. Couples can sample one of many "drinks for two." Designated drivers, meanwhile, need not be relegated to Diet Coke, since the menu lists a full page of non-alcoholic drinks. The prices are reasonable as well, ranging from $3.75 to $5.50; drinks for two cost about $8.50. Beer and wine are available, but at a price comparable to the mixed drinks.

At the grill: With the exception of complimentary pretzels or pineapple slices in your Hurricane, Hala Kahiki serves no food.

Essentials, etc: This place has been in River Grove for 35 years, and two generations. One would venture to guess the wait staff has been there almost as long. And while pleasant, the waitress who served me moves at her own pace, likes to sit you where she wants you to sit, and likes things done her way. Don't come in expecting to grab a quick drink before hitting the movie theater. Hala Kahiki is for sitting back and savoring. If you want the full experience, scoot over to the adjacent Hawaiian clothing and gifts shop. In addition to costume jewelry, hammocks and tiki lights, you can return to your bar stool clad in an authentic -- as in made in Hawaii -- Hawaiian shirt. Gift shop hours are 1:30-10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 1:30 p.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday; closed Monday and Tuesday.


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javabachelor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 17, 2004
Posts: 196
From: The Bachelor Pad
Posted: 2007-07-05 1:14 pm   Permalink

This is hands-down my favorite tiki bar! I'm planning to make a road trip to it next month.

 
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Swanky
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5057
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2007-07-05 1:19 pm   Permalink

Quote:
One immediately equates a Hawaiian-themed nightclub with cheesy decor and sweaty drunks hogging the karaoke stage.



Yep, that's exactly what comes to mind...

Can someone please tell me where this notion comes from and if it is what Chicagoland folks think?

_________________



[ This Message was edited by: Swanky 2007-07-05 13:20 ]


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tikibars
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 11, 2002
Posts: 2024
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
Posted: 2007-07-05 1:48 pm   Permalink

With the exeption of the condescending first sentence, this isn't an innacurate review. I like how the reporter actually understands the vibe they're going for at HK, mentioning the tranquil atmosphere, appropriate music, and pointing out that it isn't a meet-market.

The last thing we need is more promotion of Tiki as just another frat party.


 
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Tipsy McStagger
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 21, 2004
Posts: 3525
From: HELL
Posted: 2007-07-05 3:38 pm   Permalink

[quote]
On 2007-07-05 13:19, Swanky wrote:
Quote:
One immediately equates a Hawaiian-themed nightclub with cheesy decor and sweaty drunks hogging the karaoke stage.




unfortunately, this stereotype has been perpetuated by most t.v. shows and movies post late 70's to mid 90's......the only other time a drunken frat party brawl took place in a tiki bar on film was elvis presley's "girl happy" with a fight breaking out in the tiki bar/strip club...but i can forgive this one cause, hey!!, it's the 60's, and it's elvis!!......


 
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ikitnrev
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 27, 2002
Posts: 1313
From: D.C. / Virginia
Posted: 2007-07-05 7:03 pm   Permalink

If you thought that first line was off-key, take a look at another truly bizarre mention of the Hala Kahiki from the Tribune website.

The following is Item #3 from a list titled '10 Things You Have to Do Before Summer Loses Its Sizzle.

----
3. Pick up some Polynesian potables. It's been a tough couple of years for tiki bars. The legendary Trader Vic's is gone. The short-lived Rock-a-tiki is too. These days, if you want a fruity blender drink served in a faux-thatched roof hut you'll need to head to west suburban Hala Kahiki, a 40-plus-year-old tiki bar that's as serious about its blender drinks as it is about muumuu uniforms.
----

Fruity blender drinks? Arrrgh!






 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11193
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2007-07-06 01:47 am   Permalink

It certainly is a valiant attempt to clear the Tiki bar name of crimes associated with the concept in the common perception, and I support anything that brings the Hala Kahiki more business....but how much LESS can you "get" the essence of what Polynesian pop is really about than this part of the article:

"The Hawaiian and Polynesian-inspired interior is certainly elaborate. But it is also TASTEFUL, AUTHENTIC and REFINED...!!!?"

NOOO! I like to think of my Witco as joyfully TASTE-OFFENDING, IN-AUTHENTIC, BRUTALIST PRIMITIVISM....that's why I am proud of it!

[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2007-07-06 08:12 ]


 
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Swanky
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5057
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2007-07-06 06:31 am   Permalink

Yeah, if you throw out the first sentence, it's good. It is also ironic as Big Bro points out. That is perfect. A true tiki bar should be:

Over done.
Done right.

That's what the writer got when they were there. Hala Kahiki is very well over done. It's all consuming as it should be. But not Party City tacky.

Hala Kahiki conquers another one!

And the blender drinks thing is just lack of knowledge. Where is Donn Beach to enlightne the masses!? Why is The Bum not on Martha's show?
_________________

Announcing Swank Pad and Crazy Al's Molokai Maiden!


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tikibars
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 11, 2002
Posts: 2024
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
Posted: 2007-07-06 10:11 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-07-05 19:03, ikitnrev wrote:
Fruity blender drinks? Arrrgh!



But again, this IS what you get at HK.
We all know that as wonderful and amazing as HK is, the drinks there have NOTHING to do - except for in name - with the things you get at Tiki Ti, Mai Kai, or a Trader Vic's.


 
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Tonga Trader
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jan 23, 2006
Posts: 100
From: Chicago
Posted: 2007-07-06 12:14 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-07-06 10:11, tikibars wrote:
Quote:

On 2007-07-05 19:03, ikitnrev wrote:
Fruity blender drinks? Arrrgh!



But again, this IS what you get at HK.
We all know that as wonderful and amazing as HK is, the drinks there have NOTHING to do - except for in name - with the things you get at Tiki Ti, Mai Kai, or a Trader Vic's.



Agreed. HK's founders supposedly never went to Hawaii or set foot in Trader Vics, so they definitely had an original spin on things. You have to put your time in to find the drinks you like. If you want to stay away from the really sweet and fruity, I'd recommend their Scorpion or Fogcutter. Scratch Me Lani (spelling varies) is kind of interesting, too.

TT


 
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tikibars
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 11, 2002
Posts: 2024
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
Posted: 2007-07-06 2:03 pm   Permalink

Scrath Me Lani is one of their better drinks, indeed.

But -
I've actually been thinking of HK as a dessert destination lately. Rather than getting bent about their Mai Tai being something other than what most of us are looking for in a Mai Tai, I've started to ac-cent-u-ate the positive a bit more.

There are some ice cream drinks and coffee/tea drinks on the menu that are pretty good... I'm a fan of Wiki Wiki - hot tea with apple liqueur and cinnamon.

Let us hope that Chef Shangri-La pulls through the dark time they're currently in, so that we can continue getting good drinks and food there, and then going to HK for dessert.


 
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Wildsville man
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Dec 13, 2007
Posts: 1365
From: PALM SPRINGSVILLE
Posted: 2008-06-25 12:36 pm   Permalink

I think the Hala Kahiki is a fine mix of low-class and low-brow!!!!! But that's why I love it!!!!!!!
They make a strong drink and as much Witco as you can fit into one Bar. Were else can you find some
classic tiki next to Witco,Big Lot Tiki Stuff,Plastic tiki's and Christmas decorations!!!!!!












































_________________
Rory "WILDSVILLE MAN" Snyder

http://tiki-caliente.com/info/?cat=12


 
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hala bullhiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 26, 2002
Posts: 570
From: champaign,illinois
Posted: 2008-06-25 1:26 pm   Permalink

as ive said before, its my favorite place in the world....i remember the first time i went there 14 years ago 23 years old,not knowing anything about it, and had never been in a tiki bar before....i owe all my tiki obsession to the hala kahiki....cant wait to be there again, and hopefully soon! (its been too long)

 
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Kenike
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 24, 2003
Posts: 1205
From: McKinney, TX
Posted: 2008-06-26 06:35 am   Permalink

This is one of my top places to see that I haven't seen yet. I really need to make the trip and see it while it's still in all it's glory. It looks like Witco heaven!


But I have to ask, what exactly do you call this?


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