Trick Dog Bar Announces The Salty Dog Menu
Award-Winning Team Introduces 20th Menu with Full Concept Change, Including
Revamped Tropical and Nautical-Themed Interior Décor, Vibe and Cocktails
Trick Dog, a two-time winner for “World’s Best Cocktail Menu” at the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards and multiple James Beard Foundation Award-nominee, kicks off its 11th year and 20th menu with The Salty Dog, a whimsical and fully reconceptualized tropical and nautically inspired interior décor and menu.
Under the creative and collaborative direction of Trick Dog’s acclaimed team – including Josh Harris, founder; Nick Amano-Dolan, general manager and beverage director; and bar manager Travis Howse – the bar’s interior has been reimagined as an eclectic tropical destination overrun by animals (including Harris’ bulldog, Louise The Tongue), pirates, and other oceanic and sea-worthy delights. The Salty Dog’s 17 original creations are each named after a famous pirate ship, draw inspiration from classic cocktails and tropical drinks you might find at a Tiki bar and are executed with Trick Dog’s signature culinary approach.
The Salty Dog’s lore informs every facet of the menu and design reconceptualization and reads as thus: “The Salty Dog has set sail for the San Francisco Bay. Under our captain, the dreaded pirate Louise the Tongue, we have landed in your city. Our crew of animals have come to these shores to pillage, plunder, and party. Luckily for you, we do not come empty handed. We bring to this land a collection of drinks and food, of music and revelry, of good times and warm welcomes. But be ye warned, we aim to take some things with us: your coin, your admiration, and any pictures of cute dogs that you have. So, join our crew for a time. Swab the decks, drink the grogs, eat the gruel, and partake in our plunder. Ye are a pirate now. Act accordingly.”
The Trick Dog team tapped long-time friends and collaborators Lily Therens and Matt Howse to bring this lore to life. Therens, a designer, illustrator & art director and celebrated tattoo artist Howse (and Travis’ father) each contributed original works for the 18×30 bifold menu and interior bar space. Proceeds from The Salty Dog menu ($30) will benefitThe Bon Vivants Scholarship.
“For the first time in our 11-year history, we are using a complete concept redefinition as the basis of the menu creation. The menu itself almost takes a backseat to the physicality of the space,” says Harris. “With The Salty Dog, the concept of the bar will change completely for six months – it’s like an ultra menu change. We pursued this concept knowing that Travis is a most capable and experienced guide.”
“By drawing on the Golden Age of piracy, our goal is to achieve escapism without artifacts or iconography and transport guests to a tropical destination with whimsical nautical-inspired décor, new uniforms and glassware, quirky design elements and, of course, thoughtful and delicious drinks,” says Travis Howse. “We celebrated my dad’s birthday every year at Trader Vic’s and I developed an even deeper personal affinity for tropical-style drinks during my time as the head bartender at The Polynesian. To help foster The Salty Dog’s creation and have my dad contribute art to the space is an incredible full-circle moment that I am remarkably proud of and something I have always wanted to be a part of.”
“Travis’ knowledge of tropical-inspired drinks was integral to The Salty Dog’s cocktail creation process,” says Amano-Dolan. “Our menus are always a collaborative process open to the entire team, regardless of their position, but Travis took a driver’s seat and guided the process using his experience at The Polynesian and years as an avid tropical bar devotee.”
Since its 2013 opening, Trick Dog continues to be on the cutting-edge of non-alcoholic inclusion on its menus through formatting, presentation, naming and ingredient selection. By seamlessly integrating non-alcoholic options throughout each of the 20 menus to-date, the team continues to make it clear that spirit-free beverages are just as important as the alcoholic options. Trick Dog creates an inclusive environment that supports the guest experience of those not imbibing as equally as those who are by not having unnecessary attention called to guests choosing non-alcoholic options.
The Salty Dog features 17 original cocktails, each hand illustrated by Therens (who also contributed original illustrations to the 19th menu, Tantrick Dog). Like all Trick Dog menus, The Salty Dog seamlessly integrates non-alcoholic and low-ABV cocktails with higher-octane options, highballs, boilermakers, sherry, beer wine and soda. Menu highlights include:
· The Royal Fortune (aka The Vod-POG, a non-dairy Clarified Milk Punch riff) with Grey Goose Vodka, clarified passion fruit / orange / guava, clarified Amaro Averna and fizzy water
· The Golden Hind (reminiscent of a Pearl Diver) with Jack Daniel’s Bonded Rye, Belem’s Madeira Doce, Galliano L’Autentico, cookie curd, vanilla and lemon
· Adventure Galley (a crushable green curry Pina Colada and Trick Dog’s first slushy cocktail) with Don Q Cristal Rum, Bacardi Ocho, green curry, coconut, avocado, makrut lime, more lime and pineapple
· The Wydah (akin to a spicy mango Suffering Bastard), a non-alcoholic drink with Tenneyson Black Ginger, Wilfred’s Aperitif, Caleño Dark & Spicy, Ritual Tequila Alternative, pickled mango, ginger beer and lime
· Red Flag Fleet, a large-format punch for 4 or more that’s based on an old recipe using Ambergris (to be clear, no Ambergris is used in this recipe) with Highland Park 12 Year Whisky, Laird’s Jersey Lightning, Meletti Amaro, BBQ sugar, lemon, lime and The Champagne of Beers
“For The Salty Dog menu, I was asked to put a painting together that really doesn’t look anything like my tattoo-related work. When I still lived in San Francisco and worked at Idle Hand, our entire crew painted pieces of flash for a Trick Dog menu, and that one was definitely epic and had that ‘thing’ for sure,” says Matt Howse. “This time, though, we put together a new take on the old idea and vibe of the Trader Vic’s menus of the 1960’s. Warm, almost flat and muted earth tones without anything too striking or intense. With movement and energy, but sitting happily behind the foreground text and cocktail images. The idea for the overall menu, and specifically the animals crewing the ship, came from the bar manager Travis (who happens to be my son), and luckily, I knew exactly the take I wanted to put on those creatures. I drew inspiration from the books I read as a kid; growing up in the 1970’s, there was an almost weird vibe to the animals in the illustrations and watercolors I’d always read those years ago. Simple, graphic illustrations. I’m super stoked and honored to have painted this for Trick Dog, and I hope it ages like the things that inspired me.”
“The world that the Trick Dog staff created with the Salty Dog lore and the array of beautiful drinks to illustrate, and the world that Matt created with the Salty Dog artwork, made my job feel a lot easier. It was almost as if I was filling in embellishing details to round out the concept,” says Therens. “With the entire style and vibe already existing, from the color palette to brushwork, I took that all as my source of inspiration and extrapolated. The result is a big departure for me stylistically; utilizing a rawer, by-hand approach that I usually steer away from, but was really an adventure for me creatively. And it’s pretty on the mark for this theme!”
In addition to the robust drinks menu, Trick Dog offers a concise food menu of greatest hits to round out the offerings, including Trick Dog’s Famous Kale Salad with curly kale, avocado, Parmesan, pepitas and slow-cooked egg yolk dressing; QD Mission Dog, a butterflied all-beef hot dog with strip of bacon, fire-roasted jalapeño spread, sautéed onion, mustard and “Doggie” sauce served on a hot dog bun; Quik Dog Burger, a 5 oz. house-ground chuck & brisket patty with lettuce, onion, pickles, American cheese; buttermilk-brined crispy chickenQuik Nuggets served with honey mustard and BBQ sauce; QD French Fries, thrice-cooked Kennebec potatoes; buttermilk-brined Crispy Chicken Sando; and plant-based options, including Veggie QD Mission Dog, a butterflied Field Roast vegetarian frankfurter with fire-roasted jalapeño spread, sautéed onion, mustard and “Doggie” sauce served on a hot dog bun and a ‘Beyond’ Quik Dog Burger served with lettuce, onion, pickles and American cheese.
Trick Dog is located at 3010 20th Street (at Florida Street), San Francisco, CA 94110; 415.471.2999. The bar is open 4pm – midnight, Sunday – Thursday; 4pm – 1am, Friday and Saturday and the kitchen is open daily from 4-10pm.
We look forward to getting out to CA and visiting the bar and the team!