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Carol Emmas paints the town red at the popular barbecue and booze spot

Red Dog Saloon doesn’t profess to be fine dining. However what it does have is a traditional US-imported smoker with meat cooked to fall off the bone. Plus, stacked-up, all-killer, no-filler burgers ground in-house daily from the freshest beef steaks.

The continual hunt for the best quality meat is its modus operandi. The art and skill are to get the food (mainly USDA brisket, fat ribs, buffalo chicken wings, hickory-smoked pulled pork, and a great selection of burgers) directly from the smoker, straight to the table. 

You won’t find small portions either, Red Dog caters to a customer with a healthy appetite. Everything is cooked from scratch, and its burgers come in three sizes. The largest is definitely the US and not the UK definition of large. 

Another Red Dog boast is one of the best positions in Liverpool City centre; bang in the middle of Bold Street, in one of Liverpool’s most impressive 1920s bank buildings with its high ceilings and stunning mezzanine. The interior is a dark wood Americana wild-west theme with plenty of saloon-style pictures and a few complementary stag and deer-head adornments. In terms of authenticity, you might be missing the sawdust on the floor. 

The night I visited it was a Saturday night, the football was on and it was supposedly a bit quiet. I begged to differ; I felt the place was packed out and everyone seemed to be having a great time.

2026 06 18 Red Dog Starter

The menu is undoubtedly meat-heavy, and the brand concentrates on what it does best - carnivorous food that is going to hit the spot. Be sure, you won’t go home hungry.   

The starter offerings are varied, with lighter shellfish options on the menu, including Nashville-style fried oysters and scallops with béarnaise sauce and pancetta. The barbecue croquettes with smoked garlic aioli are a great start, deliciously gooey, and I’m a sucker for a good croquette with all those sealed-in, unctuous flavours. 

There are also Beyond Meat meat-free options. “You really, really can’t tell the difference," said my dining companion, who ordered one. If you don’t want to go full-on beef, the menu also offers Nashville Hot Chicken, which goes through an oil dredge at the end and is seasoned with cayenne pepper and brown sugar. 

2024 06 18 Red Dog Main And Sides

If customers do want to go full-on then there’s a whole brisket on the menu at £150.00 or a platter for £32.50 that is piled with everything a beefy appetite could want. Seeing some of those almost toppling tower-high burgers coming from the kitchen was interesting. You certainly couldn’t get your mouth around one. Plus, how do people ever fit in a side dish? That said, we managed. Highly recommended is the burnt-end mash. I wasn’t expecting three melt-off-the-bone burnt ends buried in the creaminess, even though the clue is in the name. They gave the mash a salty, beef-dripping, juicy hit. I’d return for a multiple serving of that dish alone. Then, if you can make it to dessert - I can’t believe we did - well, it’s on the house. 

Impressive is the well-stocked bar at the rear of the downstairs space. There are 23 different tequilas, 20 bourbons, and 15 mezcals. It means Red Dog is not just a restaurant; you can pop in for cocktails or for a pint of cold beer in a frosted glass. It was nice to see people doing just that, either while waiting for a table or purely for the craic. 

One thing the venue wants to get more serious about is providing Saturday late-night music and taking it into the early hours. You can also request a more intimate table upstairs. The aim of Red Dog is all-round hospitality, as owner Tom Brooke says: “I’d like it to be that visitors can come in for one thing and end up staying for another.”

2024 06 18 Red Dog Outside