2018 Chicago Rising Star Bartender Kevin Beary of Three Dots and a Dash

2018 Chicago Rising Star Bartender Kevin Beary of Three Dots and a Dash
May 2018

Three Dots and a Dash
435 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60654



Kevin Beary (almost) got his first taste of bartending while shaking and pouring colorless liquid as a minor. His first official gig was aboard a Delaware River cruise in Philadelphia, where 500 thirsty passengers would board the ship most nights and drink tickets would start flying. Beary worked in restaurants while attending La Salle University and rose to beverage director of Hyatt at the Bellevue, whose Library Lounge is the home of the Clover Club cocktail.
In 2012, he transferred to Chicago’s Park Hyatt to oversee the property’s beverage program and open its cocktail bar, NoMi Lounge, until he took over the juggernaut tiki program that is Three Dots and a Dash. Beary revamped every aspect of prep, installing industrial cold press juice machines and centrifuges to ensure consistency and quality in every one of the 2,000-plus cocktails his team serves on Saturday nights. Beary is a great lover of rum, so much so that he led his 16 bartenders through an 11-week rum course, and he’s working on a master’s degree in brewing and distilling. He has also won major cocktail competitions, notably the World Mai Tai Competition in 2017 and the Diplomatico North American World Tournament.


Interview with 2018 Chicago Rising Star Bartender Kevin Beary

Caroline Hatchett: How did you get your start?

Kevin Beary: In 2002, I attended the New York State Bartenders Academy in Long Island during my senior year of high school. We were all minors and learned how to bartend by tasting; we were working with colorless liquid instead of actual spirits. I eventually went to Philadelphia and worked on a dinner boat cruise that would serve 500 people at once.

CH: What are your favorite bartending resources?

KB: I have a deep library of wine, spirits and cocktail books. I most often refer to Intoxica by Beach Bum Berry, Liquid Intelligence by Dave Arnold, and The Flavor Bible and the Curious Bartender’s Guide to Rum by Tristan Stephenson.

CH: What’s your favorite tool?

KB: We use a fair amount of the modern gadgets—a centrifuge, liquid nitrogen, etc. But my favorite tool in the arsenal is the cold press equipment. I take produce processing and juice production very seriously. It starts with working closely with our purveyors to source the best available citrus and fruit for our needs. The cold press gear gives us the ability to produce top quality fresh juice without heat degradation.

CH: Tell me about your staff education.

KB: I just completed an 11-week rum course with my staff. We tasted 260 rums from every major producer in the world and had a blind tasting competition. The winner will go on a distillery trip and field tour, and will assist in building a barrel for the bar.

CH: What’s your favorite cocktail to drink?

KB: A Jamaican pot still over-proof Mai Tai.                       

CH: What do you think is the most underrated cocktail ingredient?

KB: Armagnac. Rum is still number one, but I have a soft spot for Armagnac.

CH: What cocktail trend you would most like to see?

KB: I would like to see the continued growth of rum as a contemporary spirit. We are constantly blending rum and other spirits to best suit a cocktail. I look forward to bartenders pushing the boundaries of traditional cocktail recipes with unique blends of base spirits. In other words, split base is not just for tiki.