Three Dots and a Dash

Chicago, Illinois – September 2019

It was a wet and windy night in Chicago. We stumbled down an alley to find shelter from the rain when we came across an old prohibition style door…..Ok, it was really raining and the bar is hidden down an alley but truthfully we took an Uber there on recommendations from friends and the only stumbling was on the way out! They told us if you are looking for a Tiki bar this is the best in Chicago. They were right.

The Prohibition Style Tiki Bar in Chicago

It seems like all the big cities are embracing the prohibition style set up of bars. Dark Alleys, long staircases, hidden entrances and I have to say we LOVE it! Three Dots and a Dash has the perfect entrance. You walk down an alley and then all of a sudden there is a door, a neon sign and rope line. It is like happening upon a hidden treasure. With the mural on the wall, the tiki torches blazing (even in the rain) and the neon sign you just know you are in for a great time.

The Bar

Three Dots and a Dash has been named one of The World’s 50 Best Bars by Drinks International. I think we lucked out getting two seats at the bar that night. The place was packaged, The Bamboo Room was full and we sorted of wandered in and stood there for a minute deciding if we wanted to stay or not when two people in front of us at the bar stood up and the woman was nice enough to say better grab our seats before you miss out on this Tiki Bar in Chicago.

Sitting at the bar we started to take in the energy and ambiance of the room. It was fun, exciting and adventurous. The bartender was there in no time, we hadn’t even looked at the menu and he was bringing us water. I want to say this before I go further. The service here was amazing. As a former bartender myself and I can appreciate how busy the bartenders were and making some fairly complicated drinks and they just seemed cool, collected and always on top of everything.

The Drinks

Ok, time for a drink! We started off with the Lapu Lapu which was a drink for two, served in a big ceramic shell with smoke pouring out the top 🙂 The Lapu Lapu consists of Aged Demerara Rum, Dark Jamaican Rum, Passion Fruit, Lime & Tangerine. Two straws and loads of flavour. Here is a tip we’ve learned when visiting a Tiki Bar, always start with one of the large group drinks. They are always tasty, often come with something special like fire or smoke and sometimes even with some sort of serving ritual.

Second Round

We went for some cocktails in traditional Tiki Mugs.

Strip and Go Naked – London Dry Gin, Passion Fruit, Tangerine, Lemon, Pale Ale.

This concoction was sweet, tangy and an interesting zest with the Gin and Pale Ale. So good we purchased the mug on the way out!

Camp Anawanna – Overproof Jamaican Rum Blend, Lime, Pineapple, Toasted Marshmallow, Maple, Cinnamon.

This was so good I actually need a second on this one……ok thanks 🙂 The Rum and Pineapple are of course a classical mix for Tiki but the toasted Marshmallow was a whole experience for me and brought the drink to the next level. Again, so good we bought a mug!

Third Round

We decided to keep it classic.

Three Dots and a Dash – Aged Martinique Rum, Aged Guyana Rum, Allspice, Falernum, Orange, Lime.

The Signature drink of the bar and homage to the cocktail that dates back to the 1940’s.

Trader Vic Style Mai Tai – Aged Jamaican Rum, Martinique Rhum Agricole, Dry Curacao, Lime, Orgeat, Jamaican Overproof Float

You can’t go wrong with a Mai Tai and this version first created at Trader Vic’s was a fantastic twist on the classic.

The Food

When you sitting down to three or four rounds of very strong drinks food and water are a good accompaniment. We decided on a couple appies since we had already had an amazing dinner at The Aviary (stay tuned).

Round One

Thai Fried Chicken – Tender fried chicken, Thai chili sauce, cilantro and fresno chiles10

This was spicy, tangy and a perfect balance with our round of sweet strong cocktails.

King Crab Rangoons –  Crisp wontons, King crab, cream cheese, pimentos, chile oil and scallions.

Wow, these were delicious. The only problem with these is they are addictive! They came with a quartet of dipping sauces which were equally as tasty.

Round Two

King Crab Rangoons –  Crisp wontons, King crab, cream cheese, pimentos, chile oil and scallions.

Yep, so addictive we order another batch :0

Yuca Frites –  Thick-cut yuca fries, spicy tofu-Tobanjan sauce.

If you haven’t had Yuca think of it like a potatoe but starchier crossed with a sweet potato that isn’t as sweet. Fry them up and you get a crispy tasting frite that is totally different than french frie with a more complex flavour and texture. These here at Three Dots and a Dash were delicious.

The Experience

The drinks were phenomenal, the food was delicious and the service was great. We enjoyed this place so much we actually didn’t want to leave but common sense told us we had had enough to drink this night 🙂 we did stop by the gift shop on our way out and picked up a couple Tiki Mugs as souvenirs to add to our collection. 

If you are in Chicago check out Three Dots and a Dash, you won’t be disappointed. Next time we wil be reserving a table in the Bamboo Room and making a night of it. 

Thanks again Chicago, we love this town!