Photos: Three Dots And A Dash Has A New Menu And Bartender
By Anthony Todd in Food on May 2, 2016 5:50PM
It's been something of a wild ride for Three Dots and a Dash. It opened in 2013 to rave reviews, with an ambitious menu created by mixologist Paul McGee (who now runs the place we call the best bar in Chicago). McGee left to open Lost Lake in late 2014, and while his replacement, Diane Corcoran, kept the legacy alive, you didn't see much in the way of drastic changes. Well hold on to your hats, tiki fans, because things are about to get shaken up.
Bartender Julian Cox, one of the most acclaimed bartenders in America, has taken the reins. He's been nominated for multiple James Beard awards during his time at Riviera in Los Angeles, and he's spent several months revamping the Three Dots menu from top to bottom. Just looking at it (the menu is below), you can see some serious changes. Instead of a simple folded menu, the Three Dots menu now styles itself as an island guidebook, complete with gorgeous custom illustrations, more drinks and lots of that tiki atmosphere.
Cox didn't want to change the essence of Three Dots.
"One of the biggest things for me was to respect and honor the incredible history that Three Dots has," he told Chicagoist. "I think that there have been so many talented people behind that bar for so long. For me, it was honoring not only that, but honoring what other great bartenders all over the country in the history of the tiki movement have done."
Some drinks on the menu look familiar, and Cox also plans to continue McGee's opening legacy of making tiki drinks with non-traditional spirits. In other words, it's not just rum, rum and more rum. "You can make incredible cocktails that have those tiki flavors with gin, with mezcal, with bourbon, with tequila," Cox said. But the extensive rum list, beloved by connoisseurs, lives on.
The biggest difference? Cox's style is dryer, and he's hoping to tone down the sweetness that most people associate with tiki. "Sometimes these drinks give you instant diabetes, so the idea is to take it down a bit," Cox said.
The new menu is still a blend of classics and new, modern takes on the genre, and it's clear that Cox knows his tiki.
"I’ve spent countless hours looking at Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic, both huge inspirations for me," he said. "I want to take all of that and expand upon the greatness."
The new menu is available now.