City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Front Burner: Dog-friendly Italian pub, anyone?

Thirsty Dog LogoThirsty Dog Tavern – a reboot of the Vita space on Peachtree Road in South Buckhead — has opened. Dave Heany,  formerly of Star Community Bar in Little Five Points and Vita’s Tony LaRocco have combined their points of view into this hybrid entity.

Think: Games, flat screens galore, great beers out the wazoo.

Now think: Veal marsala, eggplant parmesan, linguine with sausage and peppers.

And dogs! The pet-friendly lower level has a “kibble menu” and a “Milk Bone Happy Hour.”

Tessa, my yellow lab mix, and I might just have to check it out.

30 comments Add your comment

Carrie Neal Walden

March 30th, 2010
5:31 pm

I can’t wait!!! Neither can Mr. Big! He *might* have snuck into Vita, but now he will be out in his finest attire and we’re both looking forward to it!!!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Melissa Libby, Mark Dvorak. Mark Dvorak said: Hooray! RT @AJCFoodandMore: Front Burner: Dog-friendly Italian pub, anyone? (via @MelissaL) [...]

Grammar Queen

March 30th, 2010
6:47 pm

Don’t you mean Star Bar, not Start Bar?

Owned by 3 huge dogs

March 30th, 2010
8:39 pm

Love the name, and the dog friendly aspect…now if it were only closer to Grant park. Hint hint;)


March 30th, 2010
9:06 pm

Good luck. Sounds like it is trying to be too many things.


March 30th, 2010
9:20 pm

S Buckhead? More like n or central bhead for the old location. Def not south


March 30th, 2010
9:44 pm

I stopped in the other day to check it out – they weren’t open at that time of day but got a tour of the dog-friendly space. Love the concept and definitely will be taking my Bogie to check it out. Menu looks great, too (in addition to the Italian food John mentioned, they have typical bar food and more.

Don't want to eat with dogs

March 30th, 2010
10:10 pm

I won’t eat anywhere dogs are allowed. I have no desire to have animals in the same space where I eat.


March 30th, 2010
10:31 pm

Vita has been one of the most schizophrenic restaurants I can think of. First it’s a class joint with a great room, spacious bar, great bartenders/waiters and good food, then morphs into a small back room with lousy service and the same fairly ambitious menu, but only so-so execution. Access to the main dining room is for large parties only. Very odd vibe.

Now it’s a dog-friendly place on the “lower level”? Is the main room still only for large parties? It’s the only attractive space there, and it’s not accessible.

I miss Harrison’s. Hell, I miss Mick’s.


March 30th, 2010
11:39 pm

Vita’s gone but Tony and Dave are back! (Remember Fratelli’s? That was originally Tony’s brainchild.) This is what we have wanted in this neighborhood for a long time! Good food, relaxed atmosphere, neighborhood friendly, lots of beer on tap and in bottles, great bar, open for lunch, dinner and in between! And a place to take our dogs! (And expect great service, too!)


March 30th, 2010
11:58 pm

I’ve been playing on Bennett Street since Uncle Sam’s was there in the 60’s. Drank at Steve Fuller’s Harrison’s, dined at Steve Nigren’s Mick’s, watched Tony LaRocco do well at Fratelli de Napoli (further down Bennett St but always upstairs, watched Tony struggle with leukemia, beat it, but tried to make his come back with Vita too soon. Now he and David have created The Thirsty Dog Tavern? I can’t wait! I hope it is as cool as Harrison’s and lasts as long as Micks! It has a great pedigree. :) I’ll be there often!

Open Minded

March 31st, 2010
12:04 am

I think the dogs are on the patio, “Don’t want to eat with dogs” and also suggest you avoid France.


March 31st, 2010
6:29 am

………..and my house


March 31st, 2010
8:06 am

I think you mean star community bar not “start community bar”

Hungry Gringo

March 31st, 2010
8:06 am

I’m still waiting for a restaurant that is kitty friendly.


March 31st, 2010
8:08 am

Vote out the incumbents and start over

Beelzebubba - Demon of the South

March 31st, 2010
8:37 am

I recently went there with my girlfriend. The waiter told my girlfriend the restaurant was dog friendly. I insisted he appologize to her immediately and then we left.

Carrie Neal Walden

March 31st, 2010
9:31 am

@OpenMinded and sageboy – my thoughts exactly!!! Well-said.

And, I am glad that Tony’s history and illness was pointed out- the comment about Vita’s evolvement bugged me.

[...] noticed a little back and forth on the subject of dogs in restaurants yesterday on this blog in the post about the new Thirsty Dog Tavern, which will be dog [...]

John Kessler

March 31st, 2010
12:04 pm

Thanks, Steph…thought I had fixed that!


March 31st, 2010
2:58 pm

Didn’t they try this same thing at that bar down around 5th Street? Sports bar with Italian food? That’s okay but when you are at a sports bar you need burgers and wings.


March 31st, 2010
4:21 pm

Hey you “don’t want to eat with dogs” D O N ‘ T G O! Nobody wants you there anyway! Life is about choices!


March 31st, 2010
5:27 pm

They have Italian food as well as regular bar food.
The patio is dog friendly, there are no dogs actually allowed in the restaurant. I think its a great combination and am excited to see how it does.

[...] Thirsty Dog Tavern opened only this week, but it is already the talk of the town. Some applaud the dog-friendly patio with its special kibble menu. In fact, the balmy weather lured a number of dogs and their owners to the outdoor seats last night, and both species chowed down on burgers. [...]


April 3rd, 2010
5:01 pm

WAY TO GO ATL!!!!! We’ve had DOG FRIENDLY establishments in SARASOTA for a while now and it works GREAT!!!!! You’ll have to do some adjusting in the winter as we don’t really deal with that here (except for the two months this year).

You’re going to have your nay sayers, but that’s with everything. Just sit back and enjoy it!!


Atlanta Pet Sitting Service

April 8th, 2010
6:55 am

We checked out the Thirsty Dog Tavern opening weekend and our tails were a-wagging. It has a nice dog patio and small walk area plus free Wi-Fi AND electrical outlets. “Your Best Friend’s Menu” items range from Milk Bones, kibble, hot dogs, and a burger, to the $13.95 filet. The two-legged members of our party also enjoyed experimenting at the build-your-own Bloody Mary bar.

[...] noticed a little back and forth on the subject of dogs in restaurants yesterday on this blog in the post about the new Thirsty Dog Tavern, which will be dog [...]

A restaurant owner

April 12th, 2010
3:43 pm

How on earth did this place get a health permit? For those of you who whine about restaurants that don’t let dogs on the patio it is because of the health dept not the owners and managers. And for the places that do allow dogs on their patios just think for a minute about all the other health codes they don’t care about. Dogs = don’t eat there!

[...] the previous restaurant.  That is no surprise when you consider that Vita’s Tony LaRocco, as noted by John Kessler, is one of the proprietors.  Along with Dave Heany, formerly of Star Bar, LaRocco has driven [...]


June 26th, 2010
11:22 pm

Have gone several times but tonight was the last. Left my cell phone on the table and when I got to my car and realized I went back. The table was already cleared and the staff looked at me like I had 3 heads. I firmly believe the person who cleared the table (not the waiter) has it and would not admit to it. That indicates that there are staff there that would steal from you and never admit it to your face. I would say that if the staff has to go to this level one only wonders what else they do to decent customers. This is not a good place to go with personnel like that. Stay away.