Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Bars & Spirits

Bar review: Dog Bar in St. Petersburg serves you while pups play

If you have kids, I'm sure you've noticed that theme parks and amusements centers invariably serve alcohol. Have you ever had a pitcher of beer at Chuck E. Cheese's? I have, and I don't have kids. Long story.

My girlfriend and I do have a dog, though. Every once in a while we drag him out to a bar, which is exciting to him for approximately 10 minutes, after which he remains in a near-comatose state of boredom for the duration. It reminds me of a particularly dreadful bring-your-kid-to-work-day that I went to with my dad, which — if my childhood memory is accurate — involved him soldering something in silence for 16 hours straight.

Dexter would rather be in a dog park, but I'd rather be drinking beer that doesn't have to be wrapped in a paper bag. Lo and behold, a solution has come to St. Petersburg, unambiguously named: The Dog Bar.

If, like me, you assumed The Dog Bar was just a particularly dog-friendly bar, you'd be half-correct. The Dog Bar is dog-friendly in the way that Chuck E. Cheese's is kid-friendly — it's really for them, but there's booze to fuel the adults while the little ones run wild.

The Dog Bar has done one better by making its bar substantially pleasant, with enough amenities to make it appealing even to the dogless.

The Dog Bar is huge — much bigger than it looks from the street. Built into an old auto-body shop, the orange and green interior of the Dog Bar has a very open feel, thanks to a row of open roller shutters that keep things nice and airy. Around the central bar is what amounts to a large playplace for dogs. There are paintings everywhere; can you guess what they depict?

The entrance and exit to The Dog Bar is a two-stage, dog park kind of deal, which seems like a fanciful touch until you realize that no, this is actually serious. The main front patio, interior, and under-construction back patio are all strict leash zones; if you want to let your dog run free in the leash-free zone — which includes artificial turf, ramps and small bone-shaped swimming pools, if you can believe it — you'll need a copy of your dog's vaccination records and a membership ($40 a year for the first dog; $20 each for the rest).

The entire thing is on a 5,000-square-foot plot. I mentioned it before, but it's darn big, which is kind of a necessity when the plan is to fill the place with dogs and people alike. There's enough handmade wooden furniture (including a really cool booth/lounge area in the back) to seat dozens, and that doesn't even include the carabiners at the foot of the bar for hooking up a leash while you work on a pint.

Speaking of which, the drinking part of The Dog Bar is given the equal attention implied in the name. There are 24 beers on tap, including many local brews. For example, there's a tap for rotating "brewer's choice" selections from Clearwater's Sea Dog brewery. It was a honeydew Kölsch when I visited, though the selection changes, based on availability. Two additional taps hold cold-brew coffee on nitro from Tampa's Commune + Co., as well as a house-made Tito's Moscow Mule.

There are a couple of house wines, as well as a modest selection of spirits. Placards on the bar advertise house cocktails, but they're just the basic cocktail cards sent out by liquor distributors and not actual house drinks. I ordered one anyway: the Washington Apple, which differs from the classic shot in that it uses Crown Royal Apple instead of Crown plus DeKuyper, as well as being served on the rocks. Pretty tasty, actually, if you don't mind sweet drinks.

I've got to say, this is a brilliant concept. Next time we take the dog to a bar, why not make it a place where he can play with other dogs instead of just moping at the base of our bar stools? At $40 a year it's about $40 more expensive than just going to the regular dog park, but there's lots of beer at this one — and TVs and board games and … just sign me up already.

[email protected]; @WordsWithJG.

     
 
Comments
Review: Platt Street Borough is casual Tampa dining with high standards

Review: Platt Street Borough is casual Tampa dining with high standards

TAMPAIt wasn’t that long ago that Platt Street was a bit of a conundrum for restaurateurs: Not exactly downtown, without the dense auto traffic of Kennedy, and far enough off the South Howard main drag that it didn’t entirely qualify as part of SoHo....
Published: 02/19/18
The Reading Room’s Lauren Macellaro and Columbia’s Richard Gonzmart are James Beard semifinalists

The Reading Room’s Lauren Macellaro and Columbia’s Richard Gonzmart are James Beard semifinalists

It’s almost a sick joke. On the morning after Valentine’s Day, the second-busiest restaurant day of the year, chefs all over the country are hauling themselves out of bed early to find out: Did I make it onto this year’s James Beard Foundation list o...
Published: 02/15/18
Put Alaskan king crab leg shells to work in a creamy, dreamy bisque

Put Alaskan king crab leg shells to work in a creamy, dreamy bisque

Nothing says indulgence like noshing on some seriously giant Alaskan king crab legs. They’re not just tasty, they’re a low-fat source of protein: One leg has about 25 grams of protein and a host of vitamins and minerals (including sodium, incidentall...
Published: 02/15/18
Avocado toast gets a persimmon twist

Avocado toast gets a persimmon twist

You’ve likely seen persimmon in the grocery store and then shied away from it, not quite sure what to do with it. The most common variety in the United States is the fuyu persimmon, also called Japanese persimmon, and it looks similar to a slightly f...
Published: 02/15/18
Bar review: Valenty’s Lounge, part of Pasadena Liquors in St. Pete — who knew?

Bar review: Valenty’s Lounge, part of Pasadena Liquors in St. Pete — who knew?

Once, if I’d received a recommendation to check out a lounge attached to a liquor store near the beach, I wouldn’t have been in much of a hurry to check it out. But I’ve learned that there’s frequently magic in these places. ...
Published: 02/15/18
Local craft beer of the week: Process IPA, Calusa Brewing

Local craft beer of the week: Process IPA, Calusa Brewing

Not long ago, it was all about the West Coast IPA. California breweries like Stone, Russian River and Bear Republic built empires on the style, favoring a dry IPA base and mountains of resiny, intensely bitter hops to craft aggressive brews that laug...
Published: 02/15/18
New CoffeeHouse and Eatery comes to South Tampa

New CoffeeHouse and Eatery comes to South Tampa

Daily Dose Coffeehouse & Eatery opened earlier this month and offers South Tampa unique smoked coffee and a number of fresh, homemade breakfast items.Located in Fair Oaks Plaza at 3324 W Gandy Blvd., Daily Dose serves a different chef special everyda...
Published: 02/15/18
Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar has opened at International Plaza

Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar has opened at International Plaza

INTERNATIONAL PLAZA—After a long wait, the highly anticipated Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila bar is finally open for business at International Plaza’s Bay Street on Monday (Feb 12).Originally expected to open last September, owner Rocco Mangel said they g...
Published: 02/15/18
Blind Tiger Coffee Roasters opens in South Tampa, plus learn how to roll sushi at Kelp

Blind Tiger Coffee Roasters opens in South Tampa, plus learn how to roll sushi at Kelp

LOVE STUNT: SUSHI ROLLSIf you dropped the ball Wednesday and did bubkes for your sweetie, here’s a tip: Through Sunday at Kelp in South Tampa, couples can dive into a reservations-only chef-led art of sushi rolling class that comes with bottomless sa...
Published: 02/14/18
Global flavors: Celebrate the Olympics with creative nacho recipes

Global flavors: Celebrate the Olympics with creative nacho recipes

The global experience that is the Olympics has returned, and that gives us a fun opportunity to learn about different countries and parts of the world while watching the triple axels and halfpipes.Food is one way to bring far-off places a little clos...
Published: 02/14/18