Three Dots and a Dash opened last Wednesday in a little alley in River North. Apart from the now closed Trader Vic’s this is the only other Tiki bar in Chicago I have heard of so I headed over last Friday evening to check it out. You follow the tiki lights to a little door (there is a doorman so you won’t miss it) and step inside to darkness until you hang a left and see the blue wall of skulls. It feels like you are stepping back in time to 1940s Polynesia as you descend downstairs…or what you think it would look like based on old cartoons and movies.
One of my favorite Tiki style bar is Tonga Room in San Francisco so I had some high expectations for Three Dots and a Dash. Although missing a huge pool in the middle, Three Dots was a great experience. For being open 3 days the service was seamless. The wait staff was really friendly, laid back and the drinks well made and strong. You will get your money’s worth. The decor is perfectly kitschy but it is obvious some money is behind the wood carvings, thatched bar, ubiquitous bamboo and lighting. They also have a room off the bar that is available for private parties.
Questions I have been asked when I mentioned I’d been here:
1. What does Three Dots and Dash mean? According to their menu, “Three Dots and a Dash is a classic Tiki cocktail created by Don the Beachcomber to celebrate the end of World War II. Morse code for the letter V, three dots and one dash, symbolized “victory” and the return of Allied soldiers.”
2. What if you don’t like island-style rum-type drinks? No problem, they have beer, wine and champagne
The drink menu is extensive and we were only able to order 2 drinks total (full from huge dinner, next time we will come just for drinks) so I will definitely be back to try more. We ordered one from the Classic section and one from the Modern section.
Classic Section: Three Dots and a Dash – Aged Rhum, Agricole, Guyanese Rum, Honey, Falernum, Lime, Allspice, and Angostura Bitters. Nice hint of cinnamon taste from the Allspice. A perfect fall/winter/holiday drink is what came to my mind.
Modern Section: Painkiller No. 3 – Bajan Rum, Jamaican Rum, Coconut Liqueur, Passionfruit, Pineapple, Cream. Oh wow, anything that is sweet and has cream in it is okay with me. A delicious drink that is basically a dessert. Get it.
The space itself holds about 200 people or so and it is ideal for a group of people to share drinks. They make this easy by offering four options for sharing ranging from 3-12 people and served in shells and a glass skull (the first picture in the post). The biggest drink is the Treasure Chest serves up to 12 people and comes in at $385. A treasure chest full of Guatemalan Rum (full bottle), Passionfruit, Pineapple, Guava, Lemon, Lime and served with a bottle of Dom Perignon.
They also have a small plates menu to keep your belly full whilst you sip on all these crazy rum drinks. Dubbed Island Fare you can get Luau Chips (pineapple guacamole), Tuna Crisp (avocado & cilantro), Crab Rangoon (blue crab, sweet chili sauce), Coconut Shrimp (magic mustard sauce) and more.
I’m looking forward to coming back with friends and working my way through the menu. Who knows maybe a treasure chest is in my future…