Hala Kahiki

Bar & Store
2834 River Rd
River Grove, Illinois, United States
Ph: (708) 456-3222 - Website
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Mon & Tue 7pm-2am
Wed & Thu 4pm-2am
Fri & Sat 4pm-3am
Sun 6pm-2am
Opened in 1966
Defunct tiki not included,
distances are as the crow flies.
Paradise Club, Chicago 2.3 mi
3.7 km
Chef Shangri-La, North Riverside 6.2 mi
10.0 km
The Tiki Terrace, Des Plaines 6.9 mi
11.1 km
Tong's Tiki Hut, Villa Park 8.2 mi
13.2 km
Won Kow Restaurant, Chicago 12.4 mi
19.9 km
matchbook, 251
photo, 244, 250-253
text, 250, 252
Large Witco fountain at Hala Kahiki in River Grove
July 2009, photo by TikiMonkey
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Humuhumu’s description:
Hala Kahiki was opened in 1966 by Stanley and Rose Sacharski when they decided they wanted to get out of the funeral home business, and is still run by their family. Tucked away in a quiet suburb, Hala Kahiki is a beautiful classic tiki bar. The layout is sprawling but feels subdued and intimate. Witco carvings are featured heavily throughout the dimly-lit bar. The extensive drink menu tends toward the sweet and low-octane... consider bringing a flask to perk your drinks up a bit. The gift shop is large and includes a section of vintage clothing. Hala Kahiki was one of the stops during Exotica 2003, where Sven Kirsten gave a presentation on the art of Witco.
There are 6 comments.
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April 8, 2009, 9:24 AM
Along with the Mai Kai, this is the best example of a Polynesian Paradise there is. Going in winter with a foot of snow on th eground is incredible!
Swanky has visited Hala Kahiki.

March 1, 2010, 12:59 PM
This is a great out of the way place. As a visiter to Chicagoland I was amazed buy the number of people that had no idea what I was talking about when I mentioned it. Finally I would get a response like "Oh, that place. I have been driving by there since I was a kid but never stopped in"

For god sake people-stop in. You have a Tiki gem right in your backyard!!
shaff01 has visited Hala Kahiki.

July 25, 2011, 7:56 AM
I was amazed at the size and detail of this place. A great example of an original tiki bar that has remained successful for 45 years. You can grab a tasty cocktail from their extensive menu, and then walk from room to room admiring the decor. Every inch is a surprise. The courtyard is lovely, and don't miss the gift shop! They have mugs, lamps, tchochkes and new as well as vintage shirts and muu muus. A must see, and the staff are super friendy.
Luau Lou Lou has visited Hala Kahiki.

December 2, 2011, 10:20 PM
Decor-wise, Hala Kahiki is a masterpiece. Drinks and music wise - they have a lot to improve upon. The Mai Tai I had there tasted more like some sort of sour mix drink, and the juke box has no exotica/surf/Tikiness whatsoever. Lots of bad 80s/90s music.

Being from Chicago, I hate to break bad on the Hala Kahiki, but they really need to step up their game on the drinks/music front.
Chappy is a semi-regular at Hala Kahiki.

February 3, 2012, 11:12 PM
Everyone raves and raves about the decor of the Hala Kahiki. The collection of Witco is great. But, as I sat at a table drinking a tepid mocktail, I looked out upon a courtyard of cheap white plastic chairs. At that point, my "experience" was officially DONE. This experience was only enhanced by a very cluttered, dirty and kitshy gift shop.

Hopefully, someone will step back and give the Hala Kahiki an honest assessment and polish this "should-be" tiki gem. Start with discarding the cheap white lawn chairs in the courtyard and completely revive the gift shop (with some creative and cool Hala Kahiki products). Oh, and hire a master mixologist, please! Let me know when you do and I will be there!!!
Vince Martini has visited Hala Kahiki.

January 9, 2013, 3:52 AM
Very easy to get to from O'Hare International and absolutely worth a visit if you're going to be at the airport longer than a couple of hours...maybe 10 minutes from the airport car rental offices, so it's super-easy to get to. You're not likely to find much better decor anywhere within a 100-mile radius of this place. While the exterior of the building may leave a little something to be desired on a tiki 10-scale, the interior is wonderful. There were, by the way, NO plastic white chairs that I could see anywhere on the grounds during my visit in January 2013, and I looked the place over front to back.

Bartender Jimmy (the Greek) was very friendly and attentive, serving me up several tasty drinks during my 2-hour visit during a layover. Drink menu was deep and varied, and the drinks themselves were sufficiently strong and tasty. Of the drinks I had, the Zombie was about a 6 or 7, the Suffering Bastard was a 7 or 8, and the Surf Rider (of which I have no basis of comparison) was probably about a 6. There are no hot food items served here, and what was on offer (exotic chips and some canned salsa w/ pineapple/mango added) was nothing special, but better than no food at all.

Background music was 90% Hawaiian (and all of it fine), 10% "other" (when the jukebox kicked in). The "other" music seemed oddly out of place, but was thankfully very sporadic. Overall, it cast off enough of a tiki vibe to greatly enhance the overall mood.

The gift shop was cluttered and kitschy, yes, but isn't that the way it should be? I would rate their gift shop as on par or slightly better than the gift shop at the Mai Kai. The tour of the gift shop that I received was maybe a bit too exhaustive, but was nonetheless appreciated. There was very little in the way of "branded" merchandise, which to my way of thinking was just fine. Very decent selection of clothing and a wide variety of mugs, jewelry and decor.

If I lived in Chicago, I would definitely be a regular at the Hala Kahiki.
Tiki Wachee has visited Hala Kahiki.

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