I suspect that I’m the last person in the Midwest tiki scene to make it to Three Dots and a Dash. Opened in 2013, this downtown tiki lounge has gained quite the local reputation. I don’t make it down to Chicago that often, but since I was already going to be in town to see Dita Von Teese, I knew a long overdue visit to Three Dots and a Dash was in order. Luckily, the lovely Emily is a Chicago gal and was willing to come scope the place out with me.
The entrance to Three Dots and a Dash is tucked away down an alley, but once you’re aware of that it’s not too hard to find…just look for the tiki torches! Once inside, you’ll descend the stairs, past a foreboding wall of skulls, and then into the heart of the bar.
My first thought upon walking in was how very Chicago it was. Three Dots is definitely sleeker than your classic tiki bar – it has much more of a lounge vibe. You won’t see bamboo walls covered in knickknacks here. The space is lit dramatically and well-designed, with a thatched roof over the bar and beach-y candle centerpieces on the tables. As much as I love a kitschier tiki bar, I appreciate how Three Dots calls back to the fact that, originally, a tiki bar was a fancy place, somewhere that celebrities would gather.
As a print nerd, I was totally taken by the menu. It’s basically a whole book, custom illustrated and filled with stories about tiki culture and rum and all that good stuff. Three Dots has a selection of classic tiki drinks, plus “cocktails of tomorrow” that put a modern twist on tropical favorites. Since it was just the two of us and I had a show later, we didn’t have a chance to taste test any of the group bowls, but each one looks super tempting in its own full page illustration!
We actually ended up at Three Dots the day they launched a new food menu, which I can happily give a thumbs up! I had the Big Kahuna Burger, which was topped with pineapple and super tasty, and paired it with a Missionary’s Downfall. Three Dots is another tiki bar with A+ drinks. All of their juice is fresh squeezed daily and they make many specialty syrups by hand. Although the style of the tiki bar is important to me, it is in the end a bar, and excellent drinks are a must.
If you’re looking for a souvenir, there’s a selection of custom mugs you can buy. They’re $28 each which is steep for me, but I love having a custom mug to add to my collection. Also, when you order one from your server it comes in a box in a lovely little stylish bag with a lei, so…you’re getting the full experience 😉 It was a tough decision, but I went with the coconut (pictured above!).
I would definitely love to take another trek down to Three Dots when there was more time for carousing…it’s not really a visit to a tiki bar if you only have one drink, after all!
The Verdict (Out of 4 possible tiki torches)