Next time you're walking up Clark Street in River North, turn right on Hubbard and make a left into the alley. There's a doorway on the left side with a sign above it. Going inside will lead to what feels like a parallel dimension filled with skulls, shrunken heads, pirate ships, giant clamshells, a vast set of rum cocktails, straw hut-covered bars, and Paul McGee's likeness on swizzle sticks.
Like the beginning of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney World, the stairway entrance feels like a Hollywood dream sequence where you're greeted with a hazy blue wall of skulls and clandestine drum music. At the bottom is a forties-esque island-themed tiki bar straight out of a Hollywood set—McGee and Lettuce Entertain You's new concept: Three Dots and a Dash.
15 booths line the walls of the main room, with seven tables and a 18-stool bar. With capacity set at 240 people, it feels intimate. In the back is Paul McGee's custom service bar fit with an opposite counter to watch mixologists, including Erin Hayes, apply their trade.
McGee's menu, which literally has his cartoon image on the back, features a variety of whimsical cocktails served in custom made mugs and glasses, some of which are for sale. The "For Sharing" section includes the "Treasure Chest No. 1," made with a bounty of rum, juices, Dom Perrignon, and served in a wooden treasure chest for $385. The food menu is tidy, made up of "Polynesian-inspired small bites."
Three Dots and a Dash, morse code for the letter "V," feels like the Hollywood portrayal of a 1940s sailor's wet dream. The River North crowd can step into the portal starting tonight.