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Three Dots and a Dash •••— Paul McGee's Tiki Bar

Three Dots and a Dash •••— Paul McGee's Tiki Bar
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  • Three Dots and a Dash •••— Paul McGee's Tiki Bar

    Post #1 - September 1st, 2012, 5:29 pm
    Post #1 - September 1st, 2012, 5:29 pm Post #1 - September 1st, 2012, 5:29 pm
    The name of Paul McGee's long-awaited tiki bar has been revealed—Three Dots and a Dash, after an old Don the Beachcomber cocktail. I have no news about the bar but thought some people might enjoy seeing an early menu that lists the drink, maybe the first menu it appeared on. Chicago's Don the Beachcomber—the second after the original in Hollywood—opened on May 1, 1940 and this menu was printed not too long after. Three Dots and a Dash is near the end of the Sundown section and it's sketched in the right margin. Three dots and a dash is Morse code for V (for victory); a trio of impaled cherries and a half-submerged strip of pineapple represent the dits and the dah. Underneath is DTB's menu of tropical dishes from the same period.

    Image

    The most impressive section of the drinks menu may be the rum list—nearly 140 bottles. I doubt McGee & the Melmans will match that. Even if they try, it's a safe bet Lemon Hart 28 year old won't be sold for $1 a shot. I'm looking forward to a •••— at •••— when it opens in a couple months.

    Don the Beachcomber (closed)
    101 E Walton St
    Chicago
    "Open each day at the Tahitian cocktail hour (4 P.M.)"
    SUPERIOR 8812

    Three Dots and a Dash (opening late Oct 2012)
    435 N Clark St
    Chicago
    http://threedotsandadashchicago.com/
  • Post #2 - September 1st, 2012, 6:16 pm
    Post #2 - September 1st, 2012, 6:16 pm Post #2 - September 1st, 2012, 6:16 pm
    Great news! I'll be in Chicago from NYC the last week of October. Fingers crossed it's actually open by then.

    Here's the recipe for Three Dots and a Dash from RumDood.
  • Post #3 - December 4th, 2012, 2:46 pm
    Post #3 - December 4th, 2012, 2:46 pm Post #3 - December 4th, 2012, 2:46 pm
    Anybody been here yet? Any reports?
    What disease did cured ham actually have?
  • Post #4 - December 4th, 2012, 2:56 pm
    Post #4 - December 4th, 2012, 2:56 pm Post #4 - December 4th, 2012, 2:56 pm
    Elfin wrote:Anybody been here yet? Any reports?


    As far as I'm aware it's not yet open. I could be mistaken, though.
  • Post #5 - December 8th, 2012, 5:22 pm
    Post #5 - December 8th, 2012, 5:22 pm Post #5 - December 8th, 2012, 5:22 pm
    I've been told the plan is to open it once things are going smoothly at Bub City. So early next year.
  • Post #6 - December 13th, 2012, 6:46 pm
    Post #6 - December 13th, 2012, 6:46 pm Post #6 - December 13th, 2012, 6:46 pm
    Just can't wait! I'm planning to try everything.
  • Post #7 - December 13th, 2012, 10:02 pm
    Post #7 - December 13th, 2012, 10:02 pm Post #7 - December 13th, 2012, 10:02 pm
    fropones wrote:
    Elfin wrote:Anybody been here yet? Any reports?



    As far as I'm aware it's not yet open. I could be mistaken, though.

    They're about 5 weeks away, from what I am told.

    =R=
    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French
  • Post #8 - December 13th, 2012, 10:17 pm
    Post #8 - December 13th, 2012, 10:17 pm Post #8 - December 13th, 2012, 10:17 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    fropones wrote:
    Elfin wrote:Anybody been here yet? Any reports?



    As far as I'm aware it's not yet open. I could be mistaken, though.

    They're about 5 weeks away, from what I am told.

    =R=


    Unfortunately couldn't make it to the opening of Bub City tonight (work and all) but I will definitely be there for this.
  • Post #9 - April 29th, 2013, 11:22 pm
    Post #9 - April 29th, 2013, 11:22 pm Post #9 - April 29th, 2013, 11:22 pm
    Lettuce Entertain You posted a tweet saying they are interviewing staff for Three Dots this week. Hopefully we're getting closer?
  • Post #10 - April 30th, 2013, 11:45 am
    Post #10 - April 30th, 2013, 11:45 am Post #10 - April 30th, 2013, 11:45 am
    Ooh, excellent.

    https://twitter.com/SocialJustin/status ... 0687096832

    I see that Three Dots and a Dash also just opened a Twitter account as well.

    https://twitter.com/ThreeDotsCHI/
  • Post #11 - May 1st, 2013, 3:30 am
    Post #11 - May 1st, 2013, 3:30 am Post #11 - May 1st, 2013, 3:30 am
    That is awesome! Hopefully it will be open by Memorial Day
  • Post #12 - May 1st, 2013, 9:30 pm
    Post #12 - May 1st, 2013, 9:30 pm Post #12 - May 1st, 2013, 9:30 pm
    If they are interviewing staff at the end of this week, Memorial Day seems a little optimistic. That would give them just a little over 3 weeks to assemble the team, put everybody through training and then do a soft open. An opening sometime this summer seems more likely.
  • Post #13 - May 9th, 2013, 3:30 pm
    Post #13 - May 9th, 2013, 3:30 pm Post #13 - May 9th, 2013, 3:30 pm
    Umbrella! Umbrella! Umbrella! I can't wait... :D
    What disease did cured ham actually have?
  • Post #14 - May 13th, 2013, 5:12 pm
    Post #14 - May 13th, 2013, 5:12 pm Post #14 - May 13th, 2013, 5:12 pm
    Ok, not quite the •••— opening but I just learned in an email that my friend Paul McGee will soon be behind the bar for the first time since last February, "to shake the rust off." On Monday May 20, from 9:00 pm until 2:00 am, he'll be recreating his famous Fern Bar at RJ Grunt's.

    Here's a scan of the menu . . .

    Image

    The email also says this: "With the opening of Three Dots and a Dash a little over a month away . . ." so, •••— is indeed on the horizon! :D

    =R=

    RJ Grunts
    2056 North Lincoln Park West
    Chicago, IL 60614
    (773) 929-5363
    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French
  • Post #15 - July 2nd, 2013, 1:23 pm
    Post #15 - July 2nd, 2013, 1:23 pm Post #15 - July 2nd, 2013, 1:23 pm
    Their Facebook page and Twitter account have suddenly started posting. No actual details re: opening date, though ("soon, but not yet!"). But there's activity.

    https://twitter.com/ThreeDotsCHI
    https://www.facebook.com/ThreeDotsandaDash
  • Post #16 - July 2nd, 2013, 1:38 pm
    Post #16 - July 2nd, 2013, 1:38 pm Post #16 - July 2nd, 2013, 1:38 pm
    kathryn wrote:Their Facebook page and Twitter account have suddenly started posting. No actual details re: opening date, though ("soon, but not yet!"). But there's activity.

    https://twitter.com/ThreeDotsCHI
    https://www.facebook.com/ThreeDotsandaDash

    I'm being told it'll happen around the middle of the month . . . fingers crossed.

    =R=
    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French
  • Post #17 - July 31st, 2013, 5:05 pm
    Post #17 - July 31st, 2013, 5:05 pm Post #17 - July 31st, 2013, 5:05 pm
    Soft opening tonight at 5:30?
  • Post #18 - July 31st, 2013, 5:25 pm
    Post #18 - July 31st, 2013, 5:25 pm Post #18 - July 31st, 2013, 5:25 pm
    Vitesse98 wrote:Soft opening tonight at 5:30?

    Last night was F&F. Tonight is opening night (not a soft opening from what I was told).

    =R=
    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French
  • Post #19 - July 31st, 2013, 5:51 pm
    Post #19 - July 31st, 2013, 5:51 pm Post #19 - July 31st, 2013, 5:51 pm
    Any idea if they have food? Or the size of the space, seating, etc.?
  • Post #20 - July 31st, 2013, 7:16 pm
    Post #20 - July 31st, 2013, 7:16 pm Post #20 - July 31st, 2013, 7:16 pm
    Vitesse98 wrote:Any idea if they have food? Or the size of the space, seating, etc.?

    There were a few bites last night but it definitely looked like a preview menu. I'm guessing that will be expanded upon going forward. There were a few good-looking bites but we didn't try any of the food. But yes, food is definitely part of the program.

    I'd guess it seats around 80-100 or so if you count the bar. It's a big space, so it could be even more than that. There are tables -- low and high -- throughout the room, about 20 seats at the bar and banquettes along the walls. Seating was very comfortable. I thought the space was beautiful. It evoked a polished Tiki vibe in a major way without being over the top cheezy at all. You walk in and you are immediately transported. The finishes are really upscale.

    Drinks were $13 each and the several I tasted were very good -- extremely similar (and, in some cases, identical) to Paul's Tiki Nights at Whistler. The most impressive element of the bar, IMO, is the astonishing procurement of rums, rhums and other cane spirits on the back bar. It's awesome. Even for a boozehound like myself, there were bottles up there I'd never seen before. They are still about 2 weeks away from getting them all compiled into a book/menu but my understanding is that they are available for ordering.

    =R=
    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French
  • Post #21 - August 1st, 2013, 10:46 am
    Post #21 - August 1st, 2013, 10:46 am Post #21 - August 1st, 2013, 10:46 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:They are still about 2 weeks away from getting them all compiled into a book/menu but my understanding is that they are available for ordering.

    =R=


    They are, the guy I was sitting next to last night had at least a couple neat in between cocktails. Personally I'll start looking at them more in depth after I work through the entire cocktail menu, four down...

    SSDD
    He was constantly reminded of how startlingly different a place the world was when viewed from a point only three feet to the left.

    Deepdish Pizza = Casserole
  • Post #22 - August 1st, 2013, 12:39 pm
    Post #22 - August 1st, 2013, 12:39 pm Post #22 - August 1st, 2013, 12:39 pm
    What did you have and how were the drinks?

    Going tonight and I'm wondering if Paul can make me a proper '34 Zombie without ordering the full $75 punch bowl.
  • Post #23 - August 1st, 2013, 4:02 pm
    Post #23 - August 1st, 2013, 4:02 pm Post #23 - August 1st, 2013, 4:02 pm
    I know he loves being back there but I don't think you'll see Paul behind the bar very much . . . at least not at the outset. Probably later on, though.

    =R=
    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French
  • Post #24 - August 1st, 2013, 4:21 pm
    Post #24 - August 1st, 2013, 4:21 pm Post #24 - August 1st, 2013, 4:21 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:I know he loves being back there but I don't think you'll see Paul behind the bar very much . . . at least not at the outset. Probably later on, though.

    =R=


    Yeah, Paul was definitely working the room last night, not the bar.

    As far as what I had.....ummmmmmmmmmmmm

    Started with two classics....the namesake Three Dots and a Dash, and a Mai Tai. I thought both were excellent. After that, I had two of Paul's modern tiki drinks, which I don't remember the names of....One had guava as a flavor, one coffee....I'd remember if I could see the menu. Personally, I had the same issue with these as I did with Paul's drinks at the Whistler, good but not great, my palate just isn't compatible with his.

    I'll try all of the drinks on the menu (except maybe the banana daiquiri), but I feel like that most of my drinking will be off of the classic side.

    Your milage may vary.

    SSDD
    He was constantly reminded of how startlingly different a place the world was when viewed from a point only three feet to the left.

    Deepdish Pizza = Casserole
  • Post #25 - August 1st, 2013, 11:28 pm
    Post #25 - August 1st, 2013, 11:28 pm Post #25 - August 1st, 2013, 11:28 pm
    Just got back. Miss Chitown and I had an absolute blast. This is definitely the spot for proper tiki drinks in Chicago.

    Being fanatics—we've been mixing Donn Beach, Trader Vic and Beachbum Berry classics for a while now—we had very high expectations and Three Dots definitely delivered on all fronts. Drink quality, mood and service were all excellent.

    What we had:

    Jet Pilot
    Tropic of Thistle
    Mai Tai
    Lonely Island
    Jungle Bird


    Now, I make a nasty Jet Pilot that I'd put against anybody's but Three Dots had me tied up. This is one of my test drinks—along with a '34 Zombie—and I use it as a barometer to see where the bartenders are at. This one was just beautifully balanced with the rums, juices, syrups and bitters coming through all on their own. The freshness of the juices really popped and the quality of the rums really shine through. I could taste the smoky notes of the Lemon Hart 151 even though they pre-blend all the rums so I'm not 100% certain that's what they used. (Although, I'd bet a bottle of Lemon Hart that's what Paul is using.)

    Where Three Dots really delivers is on the garnish and presentation. Tiki is really all about fun and having a good time. Well, fun, and garnishing the hell out of everything and lighting it on fire. (I have a t shirt that says something similar.) The garnishes are really over the top and we were treated to a few "special" on the fly garnishes that really impressed me.

    My only concern—and hopefully this is something that will fade over time—is the number of "bro's" that were in house. Lots of patrons who had no idea what tiki is about, what a proper tiki drink is, nor did they care. The small group next to us was comparing Three Dots to The Underground and we actually saw vodka sodas being ordered as they scoped the place for "hot chicks." Definitely a first for us in a tiki bar setting.

    Anyways, when we left the bar was about six or seven deep behind us and getting a drink was quite a wait unless you were actually seated on a stool. Our bartender was an absolute pro through the whole mess and I can't wait until the masses get this out of their system so I can return and enjoy the blending of fine rums and more personal service. She really made the experience a 10/10.

    (On a side note, we picked up four really cool custom mugs along with a half dozen garnish/swizzle sticks for the collection. You can purchase any of their mugs for $15 outright and they will be phasing in new ones all the time. Most of them are from Tiki Farm—which sell for $15 direct—but I noticed they had some special editions or out of production mugs that are a little harder to find for you collectors. Plus, you save shipping. I can't see leaving this place without taking home a few mugs every time. But then again we're fanatics and have a whole cabinet full of customs.)

    Super cool place. I'm already planning a return trip.
  • Post #26 - August 3rd, 2013, 1:58 pm
    Post #26 - August 3rd, 2013, 1:58 pm Post #26 - August 3rd, 2013, 1:58 pm
    ChitownJackson wrote:My only concern—and hopefully this is something that will fade over time—is the number of "bro's" that were in house. Lots of patrons who had no idea what tiki is about, what a proper tiki drink is, nor did they care. The small group next to us was comparing Three Dots to The Underground and we actually saw vodka sodas being ordered as they scoped the place for "hot chicks." Definitely a first for us in a tiki bar setting.


    As we were leaving last night, a couple was slipping into our seats before we'd actually vacated them, so I heard the guy's order: a beer.

    I've witnessed such behavior before. At the opening of Haymarket Pub & Brewery, I sat at the bar with jimthebeerguy and ReneG, wondrous that a table of dudes next to us had ordered canned beer all around. I think it was Old Style. Me no understand.

    Now, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with ordering whatever the hell you want wherever you are, but I don't get why you'd go to a place like TD&aD, occupy valuable bar space, and get a bottled beer. It seems like the people who go this route are making a statement, which I interpret to be, "I'm an ass. Deal with it."
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #27 - August 3rd, 2013, 5:04 pm
    Post #27 - August 3rd, 2013, 5:04 pm Post #27 - August 3rd, 2013, 5:04 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:It evoked a polished Tiki vibe in a major way without being over the top cheezy at all.


    Lame. How can you have Tiki without the kitsch? I guess I'll have to drown my disappointment in rum. Tasty, tasty rum.
    The meal isn't over when I'm full; the meal is over when I hate myself. - Louis C.K.
  • Post #28 - August 3rd, 2013, 5:27 pm
    Post #28 - August 3rd, 2013, 5:27 pm Post #28 - August 3rd, 2013, 5:27 pm
    Last night around midnight my friend and I were like "I think we accidentally went clubbing."

    We hate clubbing. When we got to Three Dots, it was rocking retro surfer music and we merrily sipped our tiki drinks oblivious to the brahs and trixies that hovered around us. Then at some point they switched to a DJ who played remixes of Shaggy and the douchebags started grinding on each other and pushing us aside as they rushed the bar. Sigh.

    I loved the attention to detail in the design of the place, the tiki cups and garnishes, and a lot of the drinks we had were really really good. My favorite was the Saturn. I'll go back, but early on a weeknight.

    This is the main problem I have with Chicago. In NYC the fratty folks generally have their own bars and hipsters and yuppies have separate bars and rarely do the twain meet. I guess it's good that the brahs might be showing interest in nice cocktails, but I often overhear things the beer dude David encountered or the fratty dude in a backwards baseball cap in the Aviary trying to order a rum and coke. It's more about the scene for them and Three Dots is admittedly a very cool scene.

    I also agree this is a very polished and executed approach to Tiki. Those of us looking for something a little more true to the original spirit might be a bit disappointed.
  • Post #29 - August 3rd, 2013, 10:22 pm
    Post #29 - August 3rd, 2013, 10:22 pm Post #29 - August 3rd, 2013, 10:22 pm
    Teresa wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:It evoked a polished Tiki vibe in a major way without being over the top cheezy at all.


    Lame. How can you have Tiki without the kitsch? I guess I'll have to drown my disappointment in rum. Tasty, tasty rum.

    You really should go there and see it for yourself before you judge it. Your take might be very different than mine.

    =R=
    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French
  • Post #30 - August 4th, 2013, 12:13 am
    Post #30 - August 4th, 2013, 12:13 am Post #30 - August 4th, 2013, 12:13 am
    mgmcewen wrote:This is the main problem I have with Chicago. In NYC the fratty folks generally have their own bars and hipsters and yuppies have separate bars and rarely do the twain meet. I guess it's good that the brahs might be showing interest in nice cocktails, but I often overhear things the beer dude David encountered or the fratty dude in a backwards baseball cap in the Aviary trying to order a rum and coke.


    Peace, not apartheid. These star-crossed communities must find common ground. If it's at the bottom of a Zombie, so mote it be. :wink:

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