San Francisco holds its own when it comes to the tiki scene. For anyone who has been following along, we are fans of Tonga Room, Bamboo Hut, Smuggler’s Cove and if the line wasn’t so long, we would try to love Pagan Idol. But we can’t miss the opportunity to tiki when traveling. There is something familiar about tiki bars, even when you are across town or across the country, and it always feels like a bit of a vacation, no matter the city or season.
On a recent trip to Chicago, I was thrilled to see that Three Dots and a Dash was just a couple of blocks from my hotel. With a group big enough to take advantage of the large format drinks, we did just that and ordered almost all of the ones that they offered.
From the speakeasy-style entrance to the creative drinks and even better glassware, I was in love! The menu itself was a work of art, with pages and pages of drink pictures and descriptions, and even some tiki history. To make it even better, they tout fresh produce, an impressive food menu that scored many oohs and ahs from colleagues, and a rum list representing so many countries, the Olympics would feel left out.
With a large group, we were able to order both the large format and individual items, but the group drinks, or “Excursions,” were the standouts. We had the “Diver Down,” a mix of rum, Campari, allspice, lime, orgeat and strawberry served in an old-timey divers helmet; a “Bali Bali,” which combines passion fruit, orange, falernum, rum, armagnac and gin in a beautiful jelly fish; the Zombie, the traditional mix of rum, lime, grapefruit cinnamon and pomegranate – with a bit of fire; and the “Treasure Chest:” a bottle of Dom Perignon, rum, pineapple, guava and lime served in its namesake, a treasure chest.
With so many giant drinks options how to you choose? Don’t! Although dopace yourself with some of the non-sugary drinks, too. Consider a more traditionally-sized drink as well, there are plenty of amazing options scaled for the individual. Don’t overthink it though: Pick the option that comes in your favorite glass.