Three Dots and a Dash

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Words by Simon Difford on 01-Apr-2015

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Address: 435 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60654, United States
Tel: +1 312 610-4220
Website: View bar's website
Hours: 5pm(4pm Fri)-2am(3am Sat)
Door: Make reservation
Style: Tiki bar
Recommended for: Cocktails
Price guide: Middling
Food: Plates & dishes


Three Dots and a Dash is undisputedly one of Chicago's best bars and one of the most highly regarded Tiki bars in the world. Its entrance lies down a narrow service alley and can be a challenge for visitors to the city to find. Follow the crowd and unless you've turned up early be ready to stand in a line. We'd suggest you make a reservation.

Once through the hidden doorway, a staircase descends Indiana Jones-like under a wall of skulls to a large basement space with a modern upscale rendition of a classic Tiki interior. Grass hangs over the thatched bar which is backed by a quartet of Tiki Gods and fronted by bamboo. Fishbowls holding treasure chests and nightlights adorn every table Illuminated blue and green glass floats hang overhead and rope coils up around structural pillars. The dimly lit atmosphere is filled with the chatter of happy rum influenced drinkers, Caribean beats and the whirl of blenders.

The back bar bristles with an impressive range of rums and an equally impressive range of different lengths of brightly coloured drinking straws. Every drink is beautifully presented in an appropriate Tiki vessel and garnished with a veritable shrubbery of mint, fruit and flowers. The oversized drinks menu features 20 illustrated classic and contemporary Tiki cocktails including the eponymous Three dots and a dash. Ah yes, the name. As the menu handily explains, "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, symbolised 'victory' and the return of Allied soldiers."

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