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“Why Empires Fall....The History of Human Civilization”

Three Dots and a Dash
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Ranked #91 of 10,814 Restaurants in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Polynesian
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Restaurant details
Dining options: After-hours, Reservations
Neighbourhood: Near North Side
Reviewed 5 October 2017

The Pharoahs. The Roman Empire. The Ottoman Empire. The Ming Dynasty. The British Colonial Empire. The USSR.

All of these great empires eventually fell. Why? You might well ask. Here's why.

No tiki bar.

No great civilization....no great city...can exist without a tiki bar. Ridiculous drinks in ridiculous mugs at ridiculous prices are the cornerstone of human civilization.

Which brings us to Chicago's contribution to mankind's evolution.

Three Dots and a Dash is quintessential tiki. The door is in the middle of an alley....walked right past it twce....and the stairs down are worth the price of admission.
It ain't Hawaii. It ain't the Florida Keys. It's a basement. It's underground. It's dark. It makes no sense to put a tiki bar here. It’s all so horribly wrong.

So, of course, I loved the joint.

One caveat. I'm in my sixties. This place is twentysomething central. But I don't allow my age to stand between me and a skull-topped toothpick in a slice of pineapple floating on a sea of rum and Cointreau. Never did Never will.

Do not ever let evil men carrying tiki torches destroy the greatness of tiki for you. Three Dots understands the TRUE life-affirming meaning of tiki. Drink up. Have fun.

Date of visit: September 2017
1  Thank AsylumResident
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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111 - 115 of 504 reviews

Reviewed 3 October 2017

My wife and I were in the City on a recent Saturday and elected to go to Three Dots and a Dash. We knew it was extremely difficult to get into the bar/restaurant. Thus, we elected to go right when they opened at 4:00. The entrance is literally in an alley behind Frontera Grill and Bub City. The place is literally in the basement. We were able to get a table in the bar area, but only minutes after it opened the bar seating was already completely full. By 4:20 the entire place was already full--it is a hard ticket to get!
The decor is amazing. It is subtle, but absolutely fantastic--one of the coolest environments we have ever been in. It would be worth a bit of a wait if you have never been here. We did not eat, but they have a small menu. The drinks are very exotic and come in specially crafted mugs. The presentation of some of them is the show...they smoke, smolder, etc. They are a bit pricey. I don't think there is a drink on the menu for less than $13. Having said that, it was a really cool place and worth stopping by if you have never been there. It would be an expensive place to drink all night, but definitely a "must see" in the City.

Date of visit: September 2017
    • Value
    • Service
Thank Illini1982
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 September 2017 via mobile

I've tiki-ed in Hawaii, Singapore, French Polynesia, and most cities in between where they have faux-tiki bars. If you think you've had tiki but haven't been to 3 Dots... you haven't really ever HAD tiki.
Gets crowded, so plan accordingly.
#PaulMcGee also propriets Lost Lake, also tiki, also Chicago, and also world-famous.

Date of visit: September 2017
Thank MedicalExec
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 September 2017

I read some reviews and they had me at Pu Pu Platter! This place took me back to the 1970's, right down to the fancy drinks with the little umbrellas. We were intrigued with the location - the entrance is in an alley and any business around will gladly point you in the right direction. 2 Tiki torches lit the entrance. It's in a basement, kind of dark with all kinds of cool lighting. The food offerings are really just small plates, including my "blast from the past" Pu Pu Platter. Lots of colorful menu pages of really over-the-top drinks, many shareable. Our server was very helpful in pointing out the various drinks. They also have pages upon pages of different rum - I mean hundreds! It's loud, it's dark, there's a Tiki bar and curvy booths and we had a ton of fun! Worth hunting down this place for something different.

Date of visit: September 2017
Thank mayfieldmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 September 2017

What do you do when your spouse is a fan of tiki culture and there are no establishments of that sort where you live? You seek tiki in your travels, that's what! We recently went to Chicago to celebrate our third anniversary and after lots of research, decided to visit Three Dots and a Dash

While their website states that reservations are not required, I highly recommend doing so, especially if you'd like to sit at a table to enjoy your libations and/or food.
We went right at opening on Sunday (5 PM CST) and the place quickly filled up during our time there.

As other reviews have mentioned, the entrance is in a back alley. Rest assured, there's nothing seedy about it. You should see tiki torches and a rope to designate the line. And there's no "velvet rope" attitude here. While waiting for the doorman to come out & start letting customers in, a couple of friendly locals who happened to be regular visitors struck up a conversation with us & offered their favorite selections from the menu.

Once we descended the dark stairs--be sure to take a quick look up and notice the skulls overhead!--we were greeted warmly by the hostess and promptly shown to our table in a quiet corner. The decor here isn't tiki tacky by any stretch of the imagination. It's dark, elegant and sleek, tiki chic in the heart of Chicago.

Our server, Amber, graciously helped us navigate the menu when we explained that we don't drink alcohol & recommended some virgin tiki drink selections. My husband had the Jet Pilot and enjoyed the blend of grapefruit, lime & cinnamon. He also got a huge kick out of the toy airplane that was part of the garnish. My choice was the Chief Lapu Lapu. Served in a beautiful mug that looks like a wave--and I admit that's a large part of the reason I chose it--the frosty cool blend of passionfruit, lime, and tangerine was a refreshing treat on a humid Chicago day. (It was so good I had to spring for a second one!)

My husband tried the Thai Fried Chicken, while my food option was the Big Kahuna Burger. Both were delicious!

There's a small selection of mugs available and we purchased two of them (the Sea
Urchin and the Coconut) which another staff member brought to our table in a nice bag, complete with a lei for me! We also appreciated the fact the mugs were boxed up, since we travel to/from Chicago via Amtrak and that helped them get home intact!

So to sum it all up--friendly staff, excellent service, delicious food and drinks served in a chic & cool atmosphere? Three Dots and a Dash has fans in us. It's easy to see why it's considered one of the best tiki bars out there. We'll definitely be visiting again.

Date of visit: August 2017
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Divakind
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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