Campari One To Watch Award 2022

Campari One To Watch Award 2022

In an intimate backroom of Three Dots and a Dash – one of Chicago’s top drinking spots – you’ll find The Bamboo Room. Filled with unusual rums and rum agricoles, this bar-within-a-bar attracts a steady stream of thirsty patrons despite its hidden location. As one of the most exciting cocktail venues in the continent, The Bamboo Room clinches the inaugural Campari One To Watch Award at North America’s 50 Best Bars 2022.

Beverage director Kevin Beary is at the helm, spearheading the menu development with his search for single-barrel rums. Before the pandemic, he travelled to countries such as Guyana and Jamaica, learning about the nations’ cocktail heritage and the origins of different rums. He brings his mental rolodex to the fore with progressive flavour combinations and unusual techniques.

The Bamboo Room’s menu boasts some eccentric and mouth-watering signatures, such as the Lower Wacker with bourbon, rum, cherry liqueur, vermouth, honey and grapefruit, as well as a selection of customised Mai Tais. The Trader Vic, which has a base of aged rum and dry curaçao, delights tastebuds when combined with lime and almond orgeat. Leaning into the Caribbean-inspired nautical theme, Beary has also introduced playful cocktails to share, such as the Treasure Chest that serves up to eight people – a libation of Venezuelan rum, passionfruit, guava, lemon and tangerine – and the Port Royale of Jamaican rum, mango, lime, pineapple and honey.

Before The Bamboo Room took shape in Three Dots and a Dash, the room was designated as a private dining room. The 22-seat space allows the bartenders to get up close and personal and the guests to watch as cocktails are poured tableside.

In the months since the Campari One To Watch winner opened in 2019, it’s clear that it has retained vestiges of its origin as a dining space. Accompanying its refined cocktails is a selection of small bites characterised as ‘island fare’: lightly battered coconut shrimp features alongside blue crab with cream cheese, and pimentos and kalua pulled pork sliders with guava barbecue sauce. With its winning combination, The Bamboo Room is a nascent star already making waves on the continent’s bar stage.