The Red Dog, the Saloon that Once Served Trigger right at the Bar

When I first went to Pioneertown in 2014 with my dad, we wondered through a desolate western town where the only activity was dirt blowing across the street. Completely devoid of people, we peeked through the windows here and there, windows of legitimate businesses, though closed, and faux ones with pun based names such as “Undertaker Will Berry.” One of the legitimate looking businesses was the Red Dog Saloon, but there was no sign of life. In the years that followed, Patrick and I visited Pioneertown many times, and each time the Red Dog Saloon remained closed. Then last year I heard they were finally reopening! It was a dream come true! But due to COVID, I didn’t exactly feel up for the drive to Pioneertown, or to do dining, even outside. But now that we’re vaccinated, we finally made the trek! We even brought along a few friends who had never been to Pioneertown before.

Myself, wearing a black cowboy hat, black tee reading "Bounty Law" and jean shorts, leaning against a large sign reading "The Red Dog" in large red letters.

Front of the Red Dog, a dark red saloon with a full wrap around porch, with outdoor seating. Old wagon wheels flank the stairs up to the front door. A sandwich board out front displays their menu.

Originally opening in 1946, the Red Dog Saloon was a watering hole for the locals who called Pioneertown home, as well the perfect saloon for the variety of western films and television shows that filmed there. Word has it that Roy Rogers frequented the bar, with Trigger along too, at the bar. After the western fell out of favor the Red Dog served as a Hell’s Angel’s biker bar for a period, before suffering a fire. In an interview co-owner Adam Weisblatt of Los Angeles admitted the re-opening has been two years in the making, and mentioned that the establishment still has its original bar top and back bar. Today you’ll find cocktails (including to-go ones in adorable cans) along with delicious house made lemonade and for food, Tex-Mex flavors are served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Due to COVID, our visit was mostly limited to outside, with the exception of going inside to use the restroom and snapping a quick pic of the bar.

A red hexagon shaped sign reads "It's Your Decision" and a seafoam sign below reads "Red Dog Rd."

Front of the Red Dog, a dark red saloon with a full wrap around porch, with outdoor seating. Old wagon wheels flank the stairs up to the front door. A sandwich board out front displays their menu.

Myself, wearing a black cowboy hat, black tee reading "Bounty Law" and jean shorts, leaning against a large sign reading "The Red Dog" in large red letters.

Exterior back of the Red Dog, a dark red building with a covered porch that has windows facing the outside to pick up food. The back wall reads "Saloon" in yellow letters and features an arrow below.

A small metal sign featuring an image of a dog and text reading "Red Dog Saloon"

Inside the Red Dog Saloon, wagon wheel lamps hang above a long wooden bar. The bar back is mirror with a variety of liquor bottles on the shelves.

Myself, wearing a black cowboy hat, black tee reading "Bounty Law" and jean shorts, leaning against a large sign reading "The Red Dog" in large red letters.

Front of the Red Dog, a dark red saloon with a full wrap around porch, with outdoor seating. Old wagon wheels flank the stairs up to the front door. A sandwich board out front displays their menu.

An old piano sits on the porch, painted on it reads "Red Dog"

Pick-up window, with their soft drink menu above the window.

House made lemonade in a cup, and a pair of matchbooks. The closed matchbook reads "The Red Dog Pioneertown, California" the other is open and features an image of cowboys seated on horses at the bar. Text reads "Est'd 1946 Est'd Again 2020"

Close-up of above the entrance, which reads "The Red Dog" in red letters outlined in white.

Covered outdoor patio seating, including a weather beaten piano.

Adobe bricks make up a small wall, at the top the bricks form a zig-zag pattern.

An old piano sits on the porch, painted on it reads "Red Dog" A small can reads "Red Dog" and a small check list below indicates which to-go cocktail is inside.

Back wall of the outside of the Red Dog, large yellow letters reads "Saloon" with a black arrow below.

Myself, wearing a black cowboy hat, black tee reading "Bounty Law" and jean shorts, leaning against a large sign reading "The Red Dog" in large red letters.

Along with the re-opening of the Red Dog Saloon, a very small museum has also opened, as well as few new shops. There’s even Pioneertown merchandise now, including t-shirts (yeah, I bought one), patches, magnets, and even shot glasses. Red Dog also has merch, and myself and a few friends each bought a tee.

Ride on into Pioneertown and visit the Red Dog Saloon, just a few miles north of Yucca Valley, makes for the perfect day trip if you’re in LA, but especially if you’re in Palm Springs.

Want more Pioneertown? Check out the posts below!
A 2014 Visit
A 2016 Visit
A Stay at the Pioneertown Motel
Grabbing a bite at Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

Outfit
Hat & Shorts: Buffalo Exchange
Mask: Made by me
Undermask: RZ Masks
Shirt: Red Bubble
Belt: Belonged to my grandfather
Jewelry: Here and there
Shoes: Minnetonka

Sources
Elliot, Farley, “In California’s High Desert, One Restaurant Group Rethinks Its Business Model.” Eater Los Angeles, 25 September 2020
The Red Dog” Pioneertown Motel

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