Jul 14, 2023 - Things to Do

Insta Review: Malibu Barbie Cafe

Pink table and chairs in front of pink and purple backdrop with two palm trees and the word Barbie.

Photo: Carrie Shepherd/Axios

The much-hyped "Barbie" movie opens next week, and if you haven't snagged a ticket, Malibu Barbie Cafe in the West Loop is one way to immerse yourself in the pink-hued, fantasy land of one of the world's most iconic brands.

Details: The cafe is run by Bucketlisters, the group that creates immersive pop-ups based on shows like "Saved By the Bell" and "The Golden Girls."

The space: When you step inside you become Beach Barbie, greeted by a bar decked out with flowers, a surfboard on the wall, and servers and bartenders in matching pink polos.

The food: The Golden CALI-flower Bowl was quite fresh, with curried cauliflower florets, avocado, pickled onions, and a tangy yogurt sauce.

  • The Dreamsicle Float was even a little too sweet for me but the presentation was fun.
Pink toy car with a Jarritos orange soda bottle and glass of orange ice cream inside.
The Dreamsicle float with Jarritos mandarin soda, orange sherbet and vanilla ice cream. Photo: Carrie Shepherd/Axios

Highlights: A very Malibu-feeling outdoor patio with a small roller skating rink that costs $1 (proceeds go to the local non-profit Girls Inc. of Chicago), and a lifeguard chair for Ken. It helped that it was a very sunny day.

  • There's something for everyone: Kids looking for a Barbie-themed birthday party, adults reliving childhood, and couples taking photos with very fun Barbie backdrops.
  • The staff really keeps up the theme, and there's no sarcasm with the smiles and greeting of "Welcome Barbies!"
Multi color background that reads "Hello, it's Barbie" with a pink rotary phone which is held by woman in pink shirt and pink sunglasses.
I actually heard a kid ask her mom what the thing on the wall was. Photo: Carrie Shepherd/Axios

The bottom line: People having fun and not taking themselves too seriously? Yes, please!

If you go: Malibu Barbie Cafe runs through Oct. 15 at 324 S. Racine Ave.


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