A favorite hotspot of ours, The Thirsty Dog, is branching out, and changing its name as well. The once neighborhood favorite bar is now called the Dog Pub and is reaching out to the suburban population.
They decided to branch out by adding a new location in the Columbia area. Called Pub Dog, this little establishment lacks the flair and uniqueness that made us love The Thirsty Dog so much. (Though we hope that with time this one will find its legs and deliver us the goods.)
The overall atmosphere is a little overwhelming, though this may be due to the fact that it is a newer establishment and hasn’t yet found the right kind of music or specials to make the atmosphere the kind you want when you venture out on a Friday evening. The set-up led to a loud volume, where we had to shout at the person right next to us just to hear what they were saying. And forget about hearing any of the music. We’d be lucky to know if the person singing was a male or female. (And we’re all for a loud concert, or boisterous friendly crowd, but when everyone around you is shouting and not in a “woo hoo this band is great!” way, it can leave you feeling annoyed.) The beer prices were deceiving as it said 2 for $4, but the 2 that come are half what you’d normally expect out of a beer glass. In all honesty, $4 for a quality beer isn’t a bad price these days, we just wish they wouldn’t advertise it as something it isn’t.
Though the set-up suggests that there is a dining area and a bar area, the two quickly merge together and so the diners are more a part of the bar scene then they may have desired. (We think this will work itself out as the place grows, as diners will know what to expect and when the bar patrons will make their way over to this section.) Service also left something to be desired as once the evening rush came in I never saw my waitress again. There was one girl who managed to take over the entire top half of the restaurant, and all with a smile on her face (she seriously deserves a raise) but we had to wait an extremely long time between drink orders. This made the rowdy people around us more rowdy and irritated, which made them get even louder.
There were, however, some definite bright spots in the evening. The food was delicious and had generous portion sizes. Even the salads are enough for a meal, and come with fancy garlic bread that is yummy. And the pizzas, just like in its original Thirsty Dog, were excellent. The beer selection was huge, and with many original creations there is something for everyone, even your friend who doesn’t like beer. The decor was cute and kitschy, with paw prints painted on the tables and the classic bar staple jukebox in the corner. And with the rumored addition of chairs and tables on the patio that would allow our four-legged friends to visit with us, the Pub Dog shows promise.
Though we weren’t impressed on our first visit, we have enough faith in the original establishment that we think this one will eventually find its way and be able to compete with some of the other suburban bars popping up in the area. Time will help them work out their service issues, and the food already makes us smile. We hope it can work on its atmosphere and try to get its late night scene more established. Only time will tell, but we’ll be willing to give them another shot. (In the meantime, we’ll also frequent the original Dog Pub – still a great neighborhood favorite.)