Three Dots and a Dash

A middle-aged couple walks into a supposed tiki bar.

That’s it, there’s no punchline. We were excited to visit Three Dots and a Dash in downtown Chicago, which was a block from our hotel. We had a pretty good experience there in 2015 when things were slow and we sat at the bar talking to the bartenders. It was a different experience last night, since our reservation was 8:30 on a Friday night.

Very clubby feel. Very. Clubby.

Lots of thumbing music, louder than I prefer, and the interior has much more red/purple club lighting than our last visit, giving this a total nightclub feel. Everyone seemed to be having a great time, but Mrs. Mai Tai and I were at least two decades older than the average patron.

Thankfully, the cocktails at Three Dots and a Dash were pretty good. We sampled five and they were all good to great, and prices were not out of line at all. We notice that all the cocktails had elaborate garnishes, so that each cocktail at a least four separate items as part of the garnish, or a dry ice special effect. Service was very good as well, with the waitress refiling our water and helping us with some mug purchases.

Mai Tai – quite good, with a healthy amount rum from Jamaica, Martinique and Fiji.

Saturn – served in the sea urchin mug, this was well balanced and easy to drink. Not too tart of spicy.

Three Dots and a Dash – just as good as you’d expect given the place is named after this Don the Beachcomber classic. A very nice agricole finish and plenty of juices and spices to savor. We really liked the mug.

Neptune’s Trident – a Corn ‘n Oil riff featuring Foursquare Sagacity rum, along with Glenlivet 15 year old Scotch, plus some spices. This was just as good as the great spirits should lead you to believe. The Barbados rum and Scotch blended well.

Navy Grog – I went off-menu and ask if they could make one. Sure enough, it came our very well with lots of rum and allspice liqueur.

The cocktail menu isn’t large here, perhaps to avoid intimidating the tiki newbies. The Bamboo Room was open for regular seating and not the rum-focused experience that it was originally set up for. But, the very large rum list is right there on the menu, so it is noticeable and a key focus of the venue. There are a large number of tables and booths set up outside as well. As we left there was a really long line to get into the place, so Three Dots seems to be doing great business.

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