Minnesota may be far away from the equator, and there is no ocean in sight (although Lake Superior does a pretty good impression), but that doesn’t mean we don’t know how to make a great tropical drink. Now that the whiskey-sipping days of winter are over, it’s time to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather of summer with a refreshing tropical cocktail at one of these local bars.
Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge
1900 Marshall St. N.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55418
The first place that comes to mind when you think “tiki bar in the Twin Cities,” and one of the few places you can actually drink and dine along the Mississippi, Psycho Suzi’s sends out flaming volcanoes, and all the rum, rum, rum you can handle. But it’s not just about the alcohol content: these drinks are awesome (if seriously hangover-inducing) and delicious. “Tiki Drinks” include the Coconaut, a cross between a piña colada and a tropical white Russian; the Fu Manchu, made with Jamaican rums, coconut, pineapple and Hawaiian coffee; and the Paralyzed Plynesian: hibiscus and citrus mixed with four different rums. With three other island-themed bars upstairs open on weekends, Suzi’s still remains one of the best places in town to get your drink on with a large group of friends.
Smalley’s Caribbean Barbeque And Pirate Bar
423 Main St. S.
Stillwater, MN 55082
Stillwater stepped away from its historic, small town vibe when this bar and restaurant opened up on Main Street. A little splash of the Caribbean in the midst of boutiques, diners, and antique shops? Fantastic. It’s a party place that is always welcoming, and the food is great, especially the jerk chicken wings. But here it’s all about the drinks, and when yours is finished, you’re sure to find yourself going full Captain Jack Sparrow and moaning, “But why is all the rum gone?”
The Whistling Bird
101 N. Broadway Ave.
Gilbert, MN 55741
What? A Caribbean restaurant in the Iron Range? Northern Minnesota is not known for its island flavor, but there you have it. One of the best places in the state for Mai Tais, daiquiris, pina coladas and other tropical specialties, this is no half-assed attempt at a tourist bar. When you step inside you’ll forget you’re in a small Minnesota mining town, as the place takes its island theme very seriously. Bright and colorful without straying too far into kitsch, the Whistling Bird is the northernmost tropical vacation in the United States.
Related: Best Rum Cocktails In Minnesota
2116 Lyndale Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55405
Probably the only dive bar in Minnesota where you can get awesome tropical drinks, and also the only place more hangover-inducing than aforementioned Psycho Suzi’s, the Red Dragon has been standing tall and proud as that anomaly on Lyndale for years. The patrons, on the other hand, aren’t standing too tall, or even straight, by the time they leave. Late night food helps these lethal drinks (the Woundrous Punch is legendary) go down a little smoother. But it’s an always fun, and always tasty option for fruity drinks and a wild night.
Tiki Bar At Eat Street Social
18 W. 26th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Fruity, tropical drinks are usually equated with quality. The Torpedo Room, an extension of the popular Eat Street Social, has been doing everything in its power to change that. While not open for regular hours, it’s worth keeping an eye out for the next time they are, so you can enjoy all of the sweet, refreshing fun here without feeling the gut rot of too much sugar.
Related: Best Tiki Bars In Minnesota
Adrian Schramm is a resident Saint Paul writer with a passion for all things local. Through his work with Saint Paul Almanac and Minneapolis Examiner at Examiner.com, as well as in the kitchens of bars and restaurants around town, he has discovered what truly makes the Twin Cities tick.