The concept may sound new, but the setting is familiar to South Sound’s first self-service bar.
Equipped with highlands, long communal tables, Sixth Avenue views and a shuffleboard, The Redd Dog is as much a neighborhood bar as a regional destination, thanks to a cool wood paneled wall of over two dozen. from taps, most regional breweries including 7 Seas, Bale Breaker and Fort George.
Each is decorated with a tablet above that explains the beer – or cider, wine, kombucha – inside. You pour what you want, at your own pace.
Order to eat is also a digital experience. Tackle a tower of onion rings or maybe a cup of âredâ pepper smoked tomato soup. Homemade items – potato crisps and tortillas, three-day fermented pizza – propel the everyday menu to befitting your cold beer pouring skills. It is also well designed for take out; Park at one of the private lot booths near Pine for quick and easy pickup.
On Boulart bakery ciabatta rolls, seven sandwiches include a vegetarian option, a Beyond burger and Club Redd with pulled pork, bacon and cheddar jack. Everyone enjoys a side of these addicting homemade chips, skinned on and finely shaved, fried daily and sprinkled with sea salt.
Share a large Italian salad with olives, pepperoni and roasted yellow tomatoes – a punchy ingredient found in many 12-inch pies, baked in a deck oven inherited from former tenant The Pizza Press. Owner Lane Scelzi and his Ministro Management Co., also behind The Melting Pot in Tacoma and Bellevue, spent a year tweaking recipes with 13 Coins veteran Celester Gray of Sysco and Zachary Oakes, whose full resume includes chef positions at Nordstrom, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and Cutters Crabhouse in Seattle.
âThe goal is always to create a menu with minimal food waste,â Scelzi said. âWe wanted the menu to be pub favorites with a little something for everyone, including little puppies. “
Hopefully they will fine-tune the dough, baking time and temperature, as it has the makings of a thin pizza. We tried the Rad Dog with pesto, mozz, and kalamata olives – a tasty combo, but the weight of the ingredients resulted in a moist central crust.
Nonetheless, the novelty of the whole experience quickly felt normal: digital menus and on-site online orders only became more ubiquitous during the pandemic. I used to be a bartender, and it always seemed oddly stimulating to serve your own beer – in a brand new, state-of-the-art bar, nothing less.
The Redd Dog was quiet on a recent Sunday afternoon, but the weekends have raised expectations, according to the beerista.
What it lacks in normal interactions with bar stools, it makes up for in terms of cost and experience. You might end up with a lower bill than ordering pints in a typical pub because you are paying precisely for the amount of liquid that goes into your glass. Technology – this one from Chicago Pour my beer – minimizes waste, say its creators, and empowers the customer.
But first, getting to know Redd, the bar’s mascot and namesake – and Scelzi’s favorite puppy, is essential. Designed by the Bozeman-based firm Insight, this cute English lab’s mug is everywhere, from key chains and growlers to staff t-shirts and all signage. The beers? Well, these are Redd’s top picks. The dish pit (where guests carry their glasses and aluminum trays) implores you to be “a good guy”.
As Scelzi joked, “There are a lot of ways to get creative with beer and dogs.”
With a roll-up garage door and large windows, the space benefits from natural light and modern accents. It’s a bar where you can hang out on your own in the corner or share food with friends, all easily paying your own way. Children are welcome – they can even pour their own soda.
Upon entering, check in with the ‘beerista’ and begin your beer pouring adventure.
Get your card
It’s like starting a tab at the bar, only here you get a branded RFID card, connected to your credit card.
Fancy a quick visit? The beerista will walk you through the process, but you’ll get used to it after a pour or two.
Have a drink
Under the beer wall are shelves full of pints, along with stemless wine glasses and smaller glasses for small pourings.
Ability to spin your glass in the built-in rinser for a super legit feel.
Choose your beer
The Beer Wall features 25 rotating taps, including wine, Tacoma’s own Incline Cider, and JuneShine’s hard kombucha in Washington.
Note that there are fewer shelves than handles, so many screens show information for two beers. Each handle is clearly labeled with a numbered nameplate (of course!), But the layout makes sense when you stand in front of it.
You will see the brewery logo, the name and style of the beer, as well as the alcohol content.
Pour your beer!
Place the RFID card in the slot under the shelf of the beer of your choice – no slipping or squeezing, just adjust.
Tilt your glass at a 45 degree angle under the faucet. Pull on the handle and don’t be shy: half a pull won’t give a good cast.
On the right side of the screen, you’ll see your name and price, scrolling through ounces and dollars in real time, like a gas pump.
Find a seat and order food
Bring your beer to a table and relax. On the silver caddies, write down your table number, which you will need to enter when ordering food from the online system.
Scan the QR code to display the menu on your phone. The process mirrors most online takeout platforms. You will need to enter your credit card here, as this transaction is separate from the taps and your RFID card.
The staff will deliver the dishes – served simply on aluminum trays – directly to your table. The pizzas arrive on a wooden paddle, set on table stands to leave room underneath for more food and beers.
When you’re done, put your own dishes in the back: throw out the trash, put the dishes in the trash can, and the glasses in the shelves above. Ask staff for take out boxes.
Pour more beer
The beauty, it seems, of the U-Pour system is the autonomy. Head back to the Beer Wall for a refill or to try something new. Intrigued by the tough kombucha? Take one of the smaller glasses and pour a taste.
One important caveat: The Redd Dog automatically sets a limit of 24 ounces per customer. Once reached, the faucets will no longer work for you. Check with the beerista who can “top up” your card – assuming you are in good standing.
Remember, there is still an invoice to sign! Check with the beerista at the counter to sign your digital receipt and leave a tip.
Branded growlers are also available.
THE RED DOG TACOMA
âª 2805 6th avenue, Tacoma, 253-212-1174, theredddog.com
âª Monday-Thursday 3 p.m.-10 p.m., Friday 3 p.m.-11 p.m., Saturday noon-11 p.m., Sunday noon-9 p.m. (extended closure if crowds)
âª Details: Pub U Pour It with 25 taps and menu of pizzas, sandwiches, salads and apps; children welcome, dogs only at outdoor sidewalk tables