The piña colada is one of the world’s most popular and classic drinks, a brew made with rum, cream of coconut and pineapple juice and garnished with either a maraschino cherry or slice of pineapple. It’s so popular, in fact, that a country — Puerto Rico — adopted it as its national drink in 1978, and also has a day devoted just for it: National Piña Colada Day, which falls on July 10 in the Puerto Rican Islands each year. If you don’t feel like going to the birthplace of the piña colada, though, and want to enjoy its deliciousness at home, then read on, for we bring you the seven best spots in this country to score an awesome piña colada.
Mermaids Casino, Las Vegas
In comparison to the other bars in Las Vegas, counting both the strip and the Fremont Street Experience, Mermaids is a fairly small one. The only gambling options are slots and video poker machines, which definitely pales in comparison to most other casinos in Vegas. To boot, it doesn’t even have a hotel attached to it, while many of the other, bigger casinos in the city do. But what Mermaids does that the others don’t is mix together a mind-blowing piña colada, the likes of which will have you swearing you’re in Puerto Rico. You can rest at the slots or video poker machines and have waitresses bring you a glass, or save your money on gambling and head inside to either the full-service bar or island bar. As a bonus, Mermaids has chocolate-covered bananas, deep-fried Oreos and deep-fried Twinkies for only 99 cents.
Tiki-Ti Cocktail Lounge, Los Angeles
Next time you’re in the City of Angels, make a point to stop by Tiki-Ti for a little taste of heaven. The cocktail lounge was founded in 1961 with one objective: to give people amazing drinks (top-secret recipes, though!) and an opportunity to enjoy them in a bar steeped in history. The drink menu features over 80 different choices, but there’s a strong tropical theme coursing through it, making the piña colada a classic and steady winner. Plus, if you down enough of them and become an official regular, your name goes on the wall as a way of the bar saying thanks for your continued service.
It can be argued that any in Hawaii, never mind Oahu’s Waikiki Beach, is a fantastic spot to enjoy a piña colada, and that’d be true. The island beauty and aloha spirit make for a perfect environment in which to enjoy the drink, but one spot stands out among the competition: Duke’s Waikiki. There’s live entertainment every day, a casual, yet grown-up, vibe, and a piña colada that’ll make you want to come back to Hawaii year after year. But the best part of Duke’s? You can enjoy the piña colada and its surroundings while having a prime ocean view, as the bar sits right on the beach. Hint: when you go to Duke’s, ask for a Lava Flow. It’s the same as the piña colada, but they use strawberries instead of pineapple slices or maraschino cherries.
Austin, Texas seems more like a place to down an ice cold beer than a piña colada, but when there’s a place that makes this drink this good, you buck the trend and order it. Chef Chago and his wife, Solemar, were determined to keep their restaurant as authentically Puerto Rican as possible, from the décor to the menu to the hospitality. No matter what you order, all the staff will do their best to ensure you feel like you’re right at home in Puerto Rico, birth of the piña colada. And just how popular is the island drink? On the front page of Chago’s website, they end off their description by reminding you to “toast it all down with a delicious Piña Colada.”
Rick’s Tree Bar, Key West
Just like Hawaii, it’s hard to go wrong with a piña colada in Florida, no matter where you are. The sun’s always shining, the weather’s always perfect, and there are miles and miles of white sand beaches wherever you look. However, again, one place stands out above the rest, and it’s Rick’s Tree Bar, just blocks away from the seaport. What makes the Tree Bar special is a combination of several factors: the giant carved Monkey Pistol tree that acts as the “roof” of the bar, the Key Lime piña colada is so good, it’s a local favorite, and all the drinks are made with fresh ingredients, not premade, processed, bottled junk. Tip: when you go to the tree bar, ask for Barb to make your piña colada.
Bogota Latin Bistro, Brooklyn
If there’s one thing New Yorkers are definitely experts in, it’s how to make a really good drink. In the city that never sleeps, you can find a libation to suit every fancy you could ever experience, and Bogota in Park Slope, Brooklyn makes the best piña colada, hands down. This Columbian/Latin American restaurant specializes in food and beverages with an authentic kick, and didn’t take long after their 2005 opening to cement their reputation as one of Brooklyn’s finest. It’s also located just six blocks from the Barclays Centre, making it the perfect spot to sit back with a piña colada either before or after a Nets game.
Wet Willie’s, Atlantic City
Located right on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, Wet Willie’s is one of the places you should make a special spot for on your next trip down. They’re a crazy, loud, exciting, high-energy joint, making sure only the best-trained hands prepare their drinks. Each bartender has been carefully trained to be an expert in all the drinks served at Wet Willie’s, with the piña colada a highlight on their drinks menu. The classic cocktail is extra smooth and creamy, and with a special twist: it contains ice cream. They recommend pairing it with the Attitude Improvement, Strawberry, Bahama Mama or Monkey Shine, but this piña colada is so good, you’ll want to keep its taste pure and separate.