The World's 50 Best Bars, 2016: Three Dots and a Dash
435 N Clark St, Chicago, US
JUST THINK, IF WORLD WAR II had gone differently and the Third Reich had defeated the allies, a tiki bar in Chicago might now be called A Dash & Two Dots. Stay with us.
Three dots and a dash is the Morse code for V, which stood for victory. If you hadn’t guessed, a dash and two dots means D. But probably defeat would be less of a cause for tiki demigod Don the Beachcomber to create a celebratory cocktail for returning American soldiers.
That cocktail, Three Dots & a Dash, was made from rum, honey, allspice and bitters and, nearly 70 years after its inception, a man named Paul McGee opened a tiki bar in Chicago.
In the biting cold of a Chicago winter, a tiki tavern is an enticing prospect. McGee describes the décor as minimalist tiki with traditional elements, which means it’s very, but not totally, tropical.
Half the menu comprises classic tiki numbers and the other half original concoctions made from a variety of spirits, fresh juices and in-house syrups.
The food takes you directly to the beach. It’s classic tropical island nosh that is almost as colourful as the drinks. The Crab Rangoon, Polynesian spare ribs and coconut shrimp are invitation enough to visit this calm lagoon of tiki in America’s bustling Windy City.