Saturday, December 21, 2013

Midnight Kiss!

We've got a few ways for you to ring in the New Year at Three Dots and a Dash, and all of them involve getting a midnight kiss with a lei around your neck and a tiki mug in your hand! 
Single tickets - $45 
Guaranteed entrance, passed Island Fare appetizers, and one of our custom Golden Bamboo mugs! 

Table for Four - $200
Guaranteed table for four people, passed Island Fare appetizers, and four of our custom Golden Bamboo mugs!

Table for Six - $400
Guaranteed table for six people, passed Island Fare appetizers, six of our custom Golden Bamboo mugs, and a Zombie Punch for six!

To make your reservations, or for more details, follow this link. We can't wait to swizzle into 2014 with you!

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Sip!

Rabbit Hole paid us a visit, and we mixed up one of our favorite cocktails for them: Tall as a Tree and Twice as Shady.

Friday, November 8, 2013

On this day in 1960:

“On election night in 1960, John F. Kennedy sipped daiquiris over dinner at his house in Hyannisport, Massachusetts, before watching the election returns and, 'while infused with the glow of a daiquiri,' learning he would be the next president.” 

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Photo by Anjali Pinto

If you've ever passed below the pile of skulls that, er, welcomes you to Three Dots and Dash, it may not surprise you that Halloween is one of our favorite howl-idays. We're celebrating for five spooky nights — from Sunday, October 27th, to Thursday, October 31st — and transforming into a creepy tropical haunt. We'll cast a spell on the bar with nightmarish green, red, and blue light, and serve a blood-chilling menu of ominously named classic Tiki cocktails: 

Blood of the Kapu Tiki 

1998, Bosco Hrnjak
Amber Rum, Lime, Grapefruit, Curaçao, Grenadine, Angostura Bitters, Absinthe

Sidewinder’s Fang 
1960s Lanai Restaurant, San Mateo, California
Demerara Rum, Jamaican Rum, Passionfruit, Curaçao, Lime

1960s, Hawaii Kai Restaurant, New York City
Gold Puerto Rican Rum, Jamaican Overproof Rum, Demerara Rum, Honey, Lime, Peach, Papaya

Shrunken Skull
1950s, Unknown Origin
Demerara Rum, Gold Puerto Rican Rum, Grenadine, Lime

Pegleg Punch
2002, Beachbum Berry
Vodka, Aquavit, Orgeat, Grapefruit, Lemon

Polynesian Paralysis 
1960, H. Allen Smith
Bourbon, Orgeat, Curaçao, Lemon, Pineapple

Blackbeard’s Ghost 
1994, Beachbum Berry
Virgin Islands Rum, Demerara Rum, Apricot Brandy, Falernum, Lemon, Curaçao, Angostura Bitters

If the thought of going without your usual favorites is too frightening, don't worry! We'll still be serving our full cocktail and food menus. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Planter's Punch!

The first known print reference to Planter's Punch is in the August 8, 1908 edition of the New York Times:
This recipe I give to thee,  
Dear brother in the heat. 
Take two of sour (lime let it be) 
To one and a half of sweet, 
Of Old Jamaica pour three strong, 
And add four parts of weak. 
Then mix and drink. 
I do no wrong 
I know whereof I speak.
At Three Dots and a Dash, Paul McGee riffs on Dick Moano's 1950 version of the punch: Puerto Rican Rum, Haitian Rum, Jamaican Rum, Lime, Grapefruit, Grenadine, Angostura Bitters. 

Monday, September 9, 2013


Photo by Paul Octavious!
One of our favorite surprises after opening was just how many people found our mugs and decor Instagram-worthy. But, we also noticed a problem: while the bar’s darkness lends itself to great ambience, it isn’t so great for mobile phone photography! Enter Anjali Pinto, our resident photographer. She says doesn’t always need the big, professional photo set-up — and insists that you don’t, either! We asked her for some pro-tips on taking great photos in the low light of Three Dots and a Dash:
Photographing in a dark bar is a challenge, especially if you’ve already guzzled down a Zombie Punch and you want to Instagram your next drink of choice. Here’s a few tips and tricks to live by the next time you want to make a stand-out memory from a blurry evening.  
LIGHT THE WAY.There are multiple sources of interesting light already available to you in Three Dots and a Dash. Notice those adorable sandscape candles in the center of your table or the track lighting on the main wood wall that illuminates from below?  Position your cocktail near one of these sources of available light to create a photo that matches the atmosphere. 
CONTROL EXPOSURE.Download an app that lets you choose an exposure point. Camera + and VSCOcam both allow you to separate focal and exposure points on your iPhone when taking a picture. With this detail, you can click on the darkest part of your image and the iPhone will compensate by brightening up the overall picture.  
PHONE A FRIEND.On-camera flash is less than ideal for making a beautiful picture. When your flash is directed from the same angle as your lens, objects in photos tend to look one-dimensional. But, an indirect source of light can make all the difference. Have a friend sit next to you and use the flashlight feature on their phone to light your picture.  If you want a dramatic back-lit photo of your skull glass, have a friend’s phone pumped up to full brightness and rest its illuminated screen on the back of the glass.  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Our First Mug Release Party!

Tiki bars of past had a great history of collectable, site-specific tiki mugs. (Check out our posts on Mr. Bali Hai and Tiki Bob!) Three Dots and a Dash will join in the tradition with the release of our first custom mug on Monday, September 2nd, at 5pm. Designed in conjunction with and produced by Tiki Farm, this ceramic sea urchin is the first vessel created just for Three Dots and a Dash, and is only available for sale at the bar ($20).

To celebrate, Paul McGee will also be working his first bartending shift at Three Dots and a Dash that evening.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Bum

We owe much of our current tiki resurrection to the important work done by none other than cocktail scholar (great work, if you can get it) Jeff "Beachbum" Berry. Besides owning a most impressive collection of tropical shirts, he also has the honor of being one of Imbibe magazine's "25 Most Influential Cocktail Personalities of the Past Century."

Perhaps Berry's biggest contribution to tiki cocktail culture: decoding many of the historically secret recipes that allow us to enjoy vintage tiki cocktails as they were in their heyday. Don the Beachcomber wasn’t dropping any hints when he gave his syrups names like “Don’s Mix #2.” The Bum has also authored five books on vintage tiki drinks and cuisine, including Intoxica! and Grog Log.

Whipping up a Navy Grog at home? You’ll have to have one of these (which he re-
invented) on hand: Cocktail Kingdom's Navy Grog Ice Cone Kit.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mr. Lana Turner

Not all of our tiki forefathers have a colorful nickname. In comparison to the tiki’s other two heavy hitters, Stephen Crane was by far the most sophisticated and urbane of the bunch. While Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic established the tiki brand, Stephen Crane took tiki hospitality to a new level.

In 1939, Crane left Indiana for the hills of Hollywood and reinvented himself as an actor. He met and married Lana Turner in 1942, and realizing that was about as good as he was going to do in terms of the silver screen, he called it quits on his movie career. Even though Turner and Crane divorced two years later, he made the most of his red carpet status and went on to date other actresses, including Rita Hayworth and Ava Gardner.

Though it seems he may have been relegated to trophy husband status, Crane did eventually find his true calling in the faux-Polynesian world of Southern California Tiki when he purchased The Tropics. Using Trader Vic’s as inspiration, Crane set about quickly remodeling and renaming the restaurant, and in 1953, he opened The Luau. Crane added a fair amount of glamour to the tiki movement, and because of his own social circles and la-di-da tastes, The Luau was known for its innovative tropical decor and high profile customers.

While Trader Vic teamed up with Conrad Hilton for his expansion, Crane struck a deal with Sheraton Hotels in 1958 to create a chain of Polynesian themed restaurants across North America. Through this partnership, his chain of Kon Tiki Ports began popping up in Portland, Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Boston, Montreal, and Honolulu.

Crane sold The Luau in 1979, and when it was immediately razed, many took it as a signal that the tiki era had ended. Feel like taking a Chicago tiki tour? There ain’t much left, but you can visit the former Chicago location of Kon-Tiki Ports, which is now a Michael Jordan Steakhouse.

More than just a pretty face surrounded by other pretty faces, Stephen Crane did end up making a major cocktail contribution to the tiki world (and one that you’ll find on our opening menu): the Jet Pilot.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Hinky Dink's and the Wooden Leg

Victor Bergeron, or Trader Vic, was more of a talented trend spotter than a true originator—he introduced Mexican cuisine to the American public and considered sushi to be a delicacy well before the 1990s. After a visit to the original Don the Beachcomber's in 1937 he was inspired to head back to Oakland and change the food and decor at his own establishment, Hinky Dink’s. It wasn’t much longer before he put his nickname to good use and the pub's name was changed to Trader Vic's.

Within a few years, Trader Vic opened a second Trader Vic’s location in Seattle and a third in Hawaii. The chain grew quickly and is now credited as one of the first successful themed restaurant chains. (You’re welcome, Joe’s Crab Shack!) Depending upon your perspective, one might consider Trader Vic to be "more successful" than tiki’s originator, Don the Beachcomber. He certainly made tiki an option to the general public, particularly after teaming up with the Hilton empire, and, at one point, operating over 25 restaurants in the US. But “What is success, really?” is a conversation that will have to wait for another day.

Trader Vic knew the power of a compelling narrative and contributed to his own mythology. After losing his leg to tuberculosis, Vic often told people his wooden leg was a result of an encounter with a shark. In reality, Trader Vic was no seafarer; on his only trip to the South Pacific he became so violently seasick that, between barfs, he vowed never to return. 

Fictions aside, Trader Vic’s contributions to the first wave of tiki are incomparable. He invented the Mai Tai (arguably the most popular—and bastardized (What’s up, Wrigley Field!)—tiki cocktail ever to exist) and authored Trader Vic's Bartenders Guide in 1947, which is currently going for $125 on eBay (which is $1,308.88 in 1947-dollars!)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Diplomat and Beachcomber, Prince and Pirate

Donn Beach left his native Texas in 1926 and embarked on a solo-trip around the world, island-hopping all over the Caribbean and Polynesia. His travels eventually lead him to Hollywood, California, where Beach opened a bar called 'Don's Beachcomber Cafe' in 1934, and it was then and there that tiki culture was born.

A Polynesian-themed bar and restaurant, Don’s Beachcomber Cafe was the birthplace of many tiki classics, like Zombie Punch, Navy Grog, Shark's Tooth, Missionary’s Downfall, Three Dots and a Dash and others. Moreover, many of our modern cocktail practices can be attributed to Donn Beach; he created over 70 original cocktails during the 1930s using fresh juices, syrups, liqueurs, extracts, fruits and brandies, while other bartenders were foregoing quality ingredients. But perhaps our favorite contribution made by Don the Beachcomber is the practice of fortifying his recipes with more than one type of rum, and the quote: "What one rum can't do, three rums can."

And yes, at first, we, too, thought ‘Don the Beachcomber’ was pretty long for a nickname, but he was born Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt, so it turns out he was actually saving himself quite a few syllables.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Rum & Coca-Cola!

Three Dots and a Dash is a bar devoted to rum above any other spirit, and perhaps the handiest way to administer a little kill-devil is via a classic Rum & Coke.

Of course, the traditional name for a highball of rum and cola is a Cuba Libre. “Cuba Libre!” was the battle cry of the Cuban War of Independence, and though the years of the war are well documented, the Cuba Libre’s exact moment of existence is a mystery. The only certainty is that this cocktail was first sipped in Cuba in or around the year 1900—which is generally said to be the year that cola was first introduced to the island by American troops.

The cocktail gained popularity in the United States after The Andrews Sisters’ covered Lord Invador’s calypso song “Rum and Coca-Cola,” in 1945 and sent it straight to the top of the Billboard charts for ten weeks.

Here is how our own Paul McGee mixes himself a rum & coca-cola (without using Coke):
     Cuba Libre

     1.5 oz El Dorado 5 year
     3 oz Q Kola (lots of nutmeg flavor, and little bit dryer than Coca-Cola)
     2 dashes Angostura bitters
     0.25 oz fresh lime juice
     Fill glass with ice. Add rum, lime, bitters, top with cola. Garnish with lime wheel.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Bali Hai!

The original signature cocktail at San Diego’s Bali Hai restaurant had its own iconic tiki mug known as the Mr. Bali Hai. He was born in 1955 and immediately filled to the brim with white Puerto Rican rum, Myers rum, coffee brandy, pineapple juice, and sweet n' sour mix. Our menu will feature Paul McGee's riff on the classic Bali Hai cocktail: A Lonely Island Lost in the Middle of a Foggy Sea (black strap rum, rhum agricole, cold press coffee, pineapple, and lime.)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Tiki Bob!

Tiki Bob is the name used to refer to the tiki mug mascot/log of the old San Francisco restaurant Tiki Bob's. It was opened by Bob Bryant, a former Trader Vic's manager. It is thought that the Tiki Bob mug is possibly the first ever tiki mug — or mug to feature a tiki of some kind. (There were coconut and bamboo mugs prior). The place is long gone, but the support post out front that is carved in the shape of Bob is still there.