Seated at Three Dots and a Dash's palm-fringed bar, we surrendered to a feeling seldom associated with darkly lit River North basements: the feeling of being on vacation. In the 1940s.
From the retro-luau soundtrack and servers' floral dresses to the paper umbrellas and fresh orchids garnishing Mai Tais, Three Dots and a Dash (Morse code for "V," as in World War II's "Victory") is an embodiment of the tiki ideal.
But this is tiki-meets-Paul McGee, which means that the hulking mugs and faux-coconut halves contain sophisticated, refined concoctions.
One half of Three Dots' illustrated menu features classics, including lesser-known drinks like the bourbon-rum-passion fruit Tropical Itch ($13). The other half lists McGee's modern libations. Order the amaro-drenched Tropic of Thistle ($13) for a respite from fruit, and the Bunny's Banana Daiquiri--garnished with a banana half--as a drinkable dessert.
"Drinks of impressive strength" are denoted with a skull, including one oversize rum-Dom Perignon concoction, the Treasure Chest. Gather a dozen friends for this passion fruit-, guava- and pineapple-sweetened mixture, presented in a chest overflowing with dry-ice fog ($385).
You'll need sustenance to absorb this hedonistic onslaught of sugar and booze. Embrace the opportunity to eat unapologetically retro, and load the table with beef negamaki ($14) and crab rangoon ($11).
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