In a state like Minnesota, where winter can seem to last forever and summer for only a moment, a vacation to paradise is something we cherish more than any other state, except maybe Alaska. But it’s not always easy to get away. When work, kids, tight budgets or tighter schedules stand in the way of a much-needed month on the beach, Minnesota does offer a few short-term alternatives. With brightly colored drinks and even brighter decor complete with torches, palm trees and other tropical touches, tiki bars offer an island escape without ever leaving the state. Here are a few places sure to get your vacation started right:

Freddy’s Tiki Hut

Freddy’s Tiki Hut
1820 Rice St.
St. Paul, MN 55113
(651) 489-9415

Located just outside of St. Paul in Maplewood, Freddy’s Tiki Hut is the kind of place you go to forget your inhibitions and get wild. No judgments here. Like vacation, what happens at Freddy’s, stays at Freddy’s, and with DJ sets, dance nights, drink specials and various other events all week long, you can take that trip any day you like. Knock back a few of the house tiki shots and let yourself be transported to that sunny vacation you’ll never tell your kids about.

Kokomo’s Island Cafe (Credit: Adrian Schramm)

Kokomo’s Island Cafe
Mall of America
60 E. Broadway
Bloomington, MN 55425

(952) 698-3072

So bright you almost need sunglasses; isn’t that how it should be? Tucked away in the Mall of America, Kokomo’s has channeled Caribbean beaches for close to a decade. If you need a break from life, or just a break from shopping, grab a seat at the bar and knock back a colada, daiquiri, mojito or whichever of the beach drinks suit your fancy. Surrounded by giant hibiscus leaves, rattan tables and chairs, torches and statues, you’ll forget completely that you’re not feeling that buzz closer to the ocean.

The Beachcomber at Psycho Suzi’s (Credit: Adrian Schramm)

Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge
1900 Marshall St. N.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55418
(612) 788-9069

Nationally known, and by far the grandest tiki bar on the list, Psycho Suzi’s is the perfect place to escape your day-to-day woes, kick back and relax. Housed in a spacious northeast Minneapolis location, serving good food and strong drinks often covered in flames while offering a gorgeous, torch-lit patio facing the Mississippi to enjoy them on, Suzi’s will impress even the most well-traveled clientele. As an added bonus, upstairs from the main bar lies Shangri-La, well, the Shangri-La bars anyway. The Shrunken Head, Forbidden Cove and Ports of Pleasure are only open weekends and they’re just as much fun as the flagship bar downstairs. Each bar boasts a different specialty menu and each bar has its own unique feel, while still staying truly tiki.

Eat Street Social
18 W. 26th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 767-6850

This summer, another tiki experience will be added to the Twin Cities scene: Eat Street Social. The popular Minneapolis restaurant and nightspot will be adding a tiki lounge to its expanse. Specializing in craft cocktails and food, all of the beach favorites will be made with the high-quality ingredients the restaurant has become known for. We’ll see how it fares against the tiki favorites.

Adrian Schramm is a resident St. Paul writer with a passion for all things local. Through his work with St. Paul Almanac and Minneapolis Examiner at, as well as in the kitchens of bars and restaurants around town, he has discovered what truly makes the Twin Cities tick.