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Tiki Central Forums Locating Tiki Three Dots and a Dash, Chicago, IL (bar)
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Three Dots and a Dash, Chicago, IL (bar)
Kill Devil
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 16, 2011
Posts: 221
From: Chicago
Posted: 2013-09-05 06:39 am   Permalink

Seems like many of the negative Yelp reviews are complaining about the joint bein' crowded. A crowded Tiki bar may be somewhat of an anomaly for some but it means we'll probably have Three Dots to kick around for a while. And while I try to show love and support for all Chicago area Tiki bars/restaurants, I think most folks would agree the drinks here are of superior quality. Of course there's really excuse for bad service, but those issues can shake out. For me the disaster/jynx/whammy that was the reincarnated Trader Vics has been largely exorcised by Three Dots, which shows that Tiki can thrive in Chicago.

 
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Tipsy McStagger
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 21, 2004
Posts: 3488
From: HELL
Posted: 2013-09-05 08:14 am   Permalink

the yelp reviews were posted as a goof. i particularly like the guy complaining about beer in a tiki bar. One or two stinky drinks does not doom a bar. i'm sure tiki ti has a couple clunkers in their extensive list of drinks. Also, you have to understand that at least during the first three months, all new bars are crowded. check back a year from now and the true picture will be revealed, for better or worse. croweded new bars are not a gauge for bar longevity.


 
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BambooLodge
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 09, 2003
Posts: 542
From: Just up the road from Chef Shangri-La
Posted: 2013-09-05 09:05 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-09-04 21:21, croe67 wrote:
Wow.

Just wow.

Yes, MaiTai is not traditional.
It's described as having Agricole.
& Macadamia.
Nothing about it is traditional.
But it is delightful & balanced.
& expertly crafted.

More later.

Not the traditional.
But wonderful.


[ This Message was edited by: croe67 2013-09-05 05:32 ]



Well it definitely must be an acquired taste cuz I was not the only one at our table that thought it sucked.


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BaMbOoLoDgE...where the South Pacific meets the Great White North!


 
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Tipsy McStagger
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 21, 2004
Posts: 3488
From: HELL
Posted: 2013-09-05 09:18 am   Permalink

then why call it a mai tai if it does not taste like one ? call it something else to avoid confusion.

 
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TropicDrinkBoy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 27, 2011
Posts: 270
Posted: 2013-09-05 09:22 am   Permalink

Several of the Yelp reviews described how the bartender refused to take individual drink orders for a small group and would only make them a single $75 communal drink instead, which if course was a disappointment. You have to blame the management for a policy that lame. Either train more bartenders or limit admission to the number of guests you can serve properly. I hope Three Dots succeeds but they need to up their game to earn loyal clientele for the long run.

 
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Tipsy McStagger
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 21, 2004
Posts: 3488
From: HELL
Posted: 2013-09-05 09:29 am   Permalink

so basically, if you go there with a group, everyone has to order a different drink otherwise they gang you up together in one bowl if 2 or more of you order the same thing ? is that correct ? seems it will save the bartender time but i don't know that i want to share every other drink with someone else.


 
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randomcha
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Dec 05, 2005
Posts: 33
From: Chicago
Posted: 2013-09-05 09:38 am   Permalink

Yes, I think they are still coming to terms with "crowd management," i.e. how do you deal with enormous success from the very beginning? The issue with tropical drinks specifically is that they're really designed to be consumed while sitting down; the vessels are unwieldy to begin with, and then when you add 3-4 garnishes on top ... And shared drinks especially, you just can't walk around/pass around a big glass skull. So, in short, when the place is really packed there are just too many people standing around with nowhere to go. If you're in a big group like that you just need to wait until you can get a table. Regardless, 3 Dots should definitely take a page from the Violet Hour playbook and strictly limit how many people they let in at one time.



 
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Ragbag Comics
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 24, 2009
Posts: 124
From: Chicago
Posted: 2013-09-05 11:08 am   Permalink

The way I read the Yelp reviews, they were asked by the bartender to stand with a giant glass bowl with four straws (in a crowded bar) because they flatly refused to make 6 different drinks for a small group, and that instead they could "only" make communal drinks... which is completely insane.

I will say on our visit, we had 8 people and it wasn't super-smashed crowded yet while we were there, but the manager still came over twice, and was fairly emphatic that we "should really just order a bowl first or it's going to take a long time" to which we politely refused (and the drink turnaround was pretty quick at that point...) Personally, I don't like getting the hard sell on anything, especially considering (a.) we know what we like (we've been at this Tiki thing awhile), (b.) the amount of money we were putting down for a couple of drinks was considerable, and (c.) we wanted to try a lot of different things... you drop $75-$100 on a bowl for 2-4 people, that's a HEAVY commitment to a drink you may or may not dig too much.

Rob-

You hit the nail on the head with crowd control; to KillDevil's point, when I see a line outside of a new bar (which, with the craft cocktail scene in Chicago being as extensive as it is is only expected) I have no problem with waiting in a line if I've decided to go check a place out- I don't even have a problem with waiting for a table once inside if there's an appropriate place to wait. What bothered me on our first visit to 3 Dots is that, having been to places like the Violet Hour or the Whistler (or, hell, Kuma's Corner or Hot Doug's), is when I see that line outside, that tells me that the crowd levels are being kept in check for a specific purpose once you're inside. When I see a line (especially one staffed by four...five? security guards) I expect that once I've paid my dues and waited in it, I will get a proper, managed experience. That was not the case. Making people wait 10 minutes only to wait another 40 minutes inside is stupid, especially when the organization for that 40 minute wait is horribly chaotic and jumbled and no one seems to know what's going on. I understand they're trying to turn as many tips as possible, which is good for business, but TERRIBLE for a relaxed Tiki-escape vibe.

I did think the staff seemed exceedingly harried on both visits... understandable, and I understand they're getting their sea legs yet and there are plenty of bugs to work out, but yes... I agree 100%, they've gotta keep levels somewhere where their staff isn't completely overwhelmed. Tiki, at the most basic level, is about leaving crazy-hectic-crowded behind, and about escapism and relaxing a bit. You can't do that with 9 Axe body spray club bros yelling and bumping into your elbos while you try to enjoy your expensive drink.

I dunno... they're doing a lot of stuff right (that Rum River Mystic is fuggin' outstanding) so I have faith they'll get some of these bugs worked out.

But I've been to a --LOT-- of tiki bars all over the country (new, old, still open, closed) and I've been to most all the hip craft cocktail joints in Chicago (and a few in other cities) and I guess my feeling is that to blindly love this place and overlook all of it's fairly clear-cut issues at the present is silly. I think Chicago proper has been SO starved for Tiki (and well-crafted Tiki DRINKS specifically) we all really want everything to be perfect and REALLY want to love everything about this place immediately,
which is a kind of blind Tiki love.

If, someday, I can wait patiently in line at 3 Dots and KNOW, without a doubt, I will enter to a calm, relaxing environment playing appropriate music at an appropriate volume, and have a high quality, high-octane craft Tiki cocktail served with care, then that will be a magnificent thing, and I'll be coming back more frequently. It will be worth the time invested waiting in that line. Spending time waiting for a hectic, frazzled club-y loud jumble ain't my thing (it IS a lot of other peoples' things out in the non-TC world, tho, so I'm in the minority there.)

For now, my experience has been mixed, but I think they're barking up the right tree, so hopefully once those few wrinkles are ironed out we'll have a (consistently) decent Tiki joint downtown for post-work imbibery. Finding the balance between relaxing-classic-tiki and average high-end-modern-drink-lounge-person is tough. I wish 'em the best with it!

--Pete


 
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Kill Devil
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 16, 2011
Posts: 221
From: Chicago
Posted: 2013-09-06 07:00 am   Permalink

I'd agree that 3 Dots should take a cue from Violet Hour (a great lounge, btw)and intstall a cut-off attendance-wise. That'd help the vibe bigtime.

 
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Teevtee
Member

Joined: Sep 12, 2013
Posts: 5
Posted: 2013-09-12 11:37 am   Permalink

First post here... I have felt compelled to toss my feelings out there since I have had very different experiences at Three Dots and a Dash.

First off I have been there about 10 times since they opened... In other words I have really enjoyed all aspects of it and unlike any other bar I can recall I have really enjoyed going back often.
When I read about these crazy packed nights and bartenders refusing orders and obnoxious bouncers and so on it is so different from my personal experiences that I am really shocked.

I agree that those experiences sound horrible but again, they are not what I have ever encountered.

I tend to try and go early in both the night and the week... this avoids all of those issues. If you go anytime Monday you will find a totally relaxed, incredibly friendly lounge that is perfectly designed and lit, makes incredible drinks, serves the drinks is great (and sometimes custom) mugs and plays exactly the lounge tiki music you want. It's as laid back and fun as you can get.

It sounds like a Jekyl and Hyde experience where if you go at the "right" time you get an awesome tiki bar and if you go at the "wrong" time yoy get an annoying club. The problem is unlike Violet Hour or The Aviary they are located in an area toursist frequent and they are owned by Lettuce and therefore are very well known. So you have a lot of people who don't really know or understand what Tiki is poudning the place on th weekends.

I have been there during after work happy hour and it was much more crowded than "normal" (for me) but we waited 20 minutes... got a table and then all was great.

The key is truly going at the right time and waiting for a table is a MUST. Forget the large bowls or individual drinks... if you don't have a table you don't want to deal with drinking anything.
Another issue is that the back bar makes the drinks for tables while the main bar has to deal with everyone jammed around it... this is why they cannot keep up with orders when they are jammed.

I agree that perhaps they just need to cut off people entering the bar MUCH sooner. Maybe they need to allow it is remian comfortable inside and let people queue outside longer. But they have this notion that being a club with a DJ at late night is a good idea. Maybe they are concerned that the average non tiki person will wait 45 minutes to get in expecting an energetic club only to find a low key lounge and get thrown for a loop and turned off?

Certainly you never have this going on at The Aviary so there are some people looking for low key.

Regardless I can tell you that if you go early enough in the night you will have a WONDERFUL experience. The wait staff are great, the managers are very friendly and helpful and the drinks are great. Even the food fits the bill and is enjoyable with the drinks. I LOVE the physical menu... they just NAILED it in paying homage to the great tiki bars of the 60's with that (only drinks are $13 not .85 cents).

Anyway... if you are on the fence about it or had a bad experience try it but go early... think of it as a place to hang out before dinner. I was there on Monday, we got there at 5:30 thinking we would stay for 1-2 drinks... we left at 11:30.... had a blast... it never got crowded and was great time... ALL of my experiences there have been similar.


 
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thomamas
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Apr 09, 2007
Posts: 41
Posted: 2013-09-12 5:34 pm   Permalink

Since I haven't seen a mention yet, here's a picture of their new mug.

I believe it's the first exclusive in their lineup, although I don't see many of the others on Tiki Farm's website. Also, it's only sold retail -- they don't use it as the standard mug for any of their drinks.





 
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Teevtee
Member

Joined: Sep 12, 2013
Posts: 5
Posted: 2013-09-12 5:53 pm   Permalink

I bought one during the release party. GREAT mug.
The glaze job is perfect.

They will serve drinks in them but you need to request it AND buy a mug which is a little odd.
I'm sure it's for fear if theft which I know is a big issue for them.


 
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happy buddha
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 13, 2008
Posts: 185
Posted: 2013-09-12 8:23 pm   Permalink

That thing's killer.

 
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El Jefe
Grand Member (2 years)  

Joined: Mar 13, 2012
Posts: 187
From: The Third Coast
Posted: 2013-09-12 9:36 pm   Permalink

That's a cool mug. I would like to have one of those.

 
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DarthMalaguti
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jul 28, 2010
Posts: 24
From: SW Florida
Posted: 2013-09-21 12:02 pm   Permalink

If you need a chortle, seek out the yelp reviews by the Melanies...Melanie H. and Melanie B.

If either of the Melanies are members of TC, I mean no offense.
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