Why we love it: It’s hard to believe that Lost Lake opened on Diversey Avenue just three years ago. Helmed by Paul McGee and Shelby Allison, the tiny tiki bar has reached institution status in record time. How? By going beyond banana dolphins and bendy straws (though there are also plenty of those!) and pushing the boundaries on what rum mixed with fruit juice can taste like. With every new year and each new menu, we continue to be blown away by Lost Lake’s talented team, dangerously delicious drinks and Asian-inspired bar snacks.
From the panel: “Take a moment and adjust your focus away from your perfectly Instagrammable cocktail. Do you notice how much the staff here cares? Do you see how, for them, it’s not a job but a lifestyle? Do you see how everyone is genuinely smiling? Isn’t the food delicious? Where are we—Chicago? Really? Incredible.” —Brenton Engel