Gone are the days in the neighborhood when you could go to the nearby Burnet Drive-in or the Putt-Putt Golf & Games to spend your leisure hours. All that is left of the Burnet Drive-in is the sign. And there is no telling what you might find at the abandoned Putt Putt course besides a mess of overgrown brush and perhaps fresh graffiti that has been painted on top of the paint used to cover the old graffiti.
Stick around though, something better is in the works; better that is if you are a dog lover –and what person reading the Allandale Neighbor isn’t? Yard Bar, a private dog park, is opening at the old Putt Putt site. Kristen Heaney, founder of Yard Bar, says “it will be a clean gated dog park where folks can hang out with their friends and their dogs and enjoy casual picnic-style food and refreshments.” Where better to have Austin’s first privately run dog park than in Allandale? We are a neighborhood of dog lovers! Know of any other Austin neighborhood newsletter with a dog column? Thank you Cheryl Silver.
Kristen has been working on Yard Bar for three years now. While there are similar operations in Dallas and Houston, it will be the first dog park hangout in Austin and it is generating some buzz. Yard Bar was one of 10 start-up ventures chosen for the RISE fast-pitch competition that took place here in Austin in May, a special opportunity for Yard Bar given the prevalence of tech companies selected for the competition.
If you have never walked around the old Putt Putt course, or if it has been a while since you last did, you may be surprised. It’s a big lot. According to Kristen, who fell in love with the place while doing her location search, it’s over 30,000 square feet, and that doesn’t include the 77-space parking lot in the back. That’s a lot of run and play room for dogs. The park will have an off-leash area at the front of the lot, which will take up about two-thirds of the space, and an adjacent leash area closer to the neighborhood facing Daugherty Street. The leash area will be for dog owners who want to hang out with friends and enjoy Yard Bar refreshments (wine, craft beer, or sodas) and food from the kitchen (chicken salad, BLT, hamburgers, etc.). And of course there will be dog treats. It will be all outdoor seating with plenty of shaded areas. Some of the amenities will include dog toys, misters for the hot days, and space
heaters for when it gets cold. Cost for entry will be three dollars per dog. She will also offer annual memberships for $150 and monthly memberships for $20 (squirrels get in free).
Kristen showed me a sketch of an early version of the plan (you can view it at yarbar.com), but says she has already changed it. She will not be adding any more buildings to the lot. The existing small three-building cluster on the site will be combined into one building and expanded slightly. It will house the kitchen, bar, and restrooms. The two large ash trees will remain. There will be no indoor seating. Food and refreshments will be ordered and picked up
at the walk-up counter. Naturally, there will be seating and picnic tables throughout with the area closest to the neighborhood fenced off for eating and socializing.
Kristen has a rescue mutt that’s mostly Pointer named Venkman and I am sure he is just as eager as the rest of us for Yard Bar to open. That will be in January, which gives dogless people time to get down to the animal shelter and adopt a dog.
Yard Bar: dogs, food, drink, and play. What’s not to like. It will be open weekdays from 7:00 a.m. through 10:00 p.m., and from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on weekends.