Hala KahikiRiver Grove | Website
The nearest body of water is the Des Plaines River across the street, but the Hala Kahiki is as close to the South Pacific as you can get -- around these parts, anyway. Tiki hut meets ranch-style house in this long, dark, meandering lounge. A guy in white pants and Hawaiian shirt will serve you just about any tropical drink you could name at the main bar, or a pale-faced waitress wearing a lei and muumuu can lead you to one of the many discreetly placed tables (most allowing picture-window views of a courtyard, which offers outdoor seating under the trees when the weather's more equatorial). Indoors, the bamboo, thatch and wicker decor is accented with Polynesian tribal masks, sea shell windchimes and giant colored glass ball lights. Romantic couples of "kanes" and "wahinis," their faces barely illuminated by tiny pineapple lamps, whisper over cheap drinks with names like "Missionary's Downfall" or silently share one of the extensive menu's drinks-for-two. Booths with larger round tables accommodate small groups. There is a pop standards-heavy CD jukebox near the main bar, but generally the air is filled with the lilting vocals of Don Ho and friends. Special touches include free pretzels, a card you can leave at your seat which says "Gone to P - Leave My Drink Alone," palm tree swizzle sticks and a fortune cookie with your bill.