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.
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.
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.