The Emerald Coast outpost of a Nashville outfit, the Red Door Saloon gives Destin its own all-out dive bar. The eats here are pretty darn good, the beer’s ice-cold, and the mixed drinks pack a punch—and you certainly won’t be paying an arm and a leg for any of it!
Don’t come here expecting a squeaky-clean, tourist-catering joint: The Red Door’s got a biker-bar vibe and serves plenty of locals, and things can get a bit rowdy among the late-night and weekend crowds. Some visitors find the bar service a bit unfriendly, but if you come with the right attitude and don’t expect a sugar-coated, super-doting treatment, you may just find the straight-shooting vibe refreshing.
This is a good place to catch a game, and the outdoor patio includes ocean views alongside the bar service. As you’d hope in a respectable dive bar, there’s shuffleboard and darts on hand as well.
The food’s better than your average dive-bar fare, we’d say—certainly a bit more varied—and it’s served nice and late. The beer-friendly appetizers range from wings and nachos to Fried Jalapeño Wheels. There’s quite the lineup of hot dogs and brats, including the Red Door Dog packing a quarter-pound wiener with spit mustard, chili, sauerkraut, onion, and cheese inside a steamed bun, and the build-your-own Destin Dog option. In the burger department, you’ve got the Bacon Cheddar, the Mushroom Swiss, and the colorfully named Pain in the Ass, which delivers its patty and fixings in a steamed pita.
You can also chow down on a Shrimp or Steamed Roast Beef Po’ Boy, or maybe a Mojo Pork Sandwich or Corned Beef Reuben. The baskets include (in a nod to the Red Door Saloon roots) some authentic Nashville Hot Chicken, plus catch-of-the-day fish presented blackened, grilled, or fried.
That’s not all: You can also get some tasty pizza here, from the veggie-friendly Virgin to the mildly intimidating Death by Meat (loaded up with pepperoni, sausage, ham, bacon, and ground beef, so it comes by its name honestly).
The Red Door Saloon also offers a small but sturdy brunch menu, including Chicken & Waffles (enhanced by some bourbon-infused syrup), a breakfast burrito, and French toast.
The drinks at the Red Door Saloon are nice and cheap: not always an easy thing to track down along the Destin waterfront. They include better than 20 craft beers, plus a mean lineup of well-mixed cocktails. There’s a weekday happy hour and hard-to-beat two-for-one drinks special on the weekends.
Let’s take a look at some specific standouts on the Red Door Saloon menu:
Chili Cheese Fries
Be forewarned: Order these appetizers—hand-cut fries well doused with beef chili and jack cheese—and they might just inspire an addiction.
As fun as the Red Door Saloon’s Cajun Brat is—and it’s mighty tasty, too—sometimes a more traditional approach is just what the doctor ordered, and we don’t reckon you’ll be disappointed with this spicy bratwurst flavored with sauerkraut and spicy brown mustard.
More than a few swear by the Red Door Saloon Bloody Mary, and whether it’s for brunch or a midnight libation it always hits the spot.
When you’re in the mood for an unpretentious dive bar, head on over to the Red Door Saloon, where you can rub shoulders with some Destin locals and enjoy a late night out.
– The patio bar at the Red Door Saloon is smoking-friendly, so if you’re sensitive to cigarette or cigar smoke you may want to steer clear. (If you’re a smoker, conversely, this is a prime Destin hangout.)
– Unlike many Destin bars, the Red Door Saloon doesn’t do live music: That may be a knock against it or a draw, depending on what you’re looking for in the evening.