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New Bar Dad’s Ratchets Up the Nostalgia in Virginia-Highland

Expect mezcal Last Word cocktails, disco fries, and sacks of sliders when Dad’s opens in the former Diesel Filling Station

Dad’s opens this summer in the building once home to sports bar and restaurant Diesel Filling Station.
Dad’s opens this summer in the building once home to sports bar and restaurant Diesel Filling Station.
Diesel Filling Station
Beth McKibben is the editor and staff reporter for Eater Atlanta and has been covering food and cocktails locally and regionally for 12 years.

The former Diesel Filling Station space in Virginia-Highland is set to become another neighborhood bar and restaurant this summer, allaying fears the property at the corner of North Highland Avenue and Drewry Street might be up for redevelopment.

Randy Pechin, the owner of popular cocktail bar Little Spirit in Inman Park, purchased the building in February and plans to open Dad’s, a nostalgic spot with “good vibes” serving cocktails and comfort food inspired by “cool dads” from the 1960s to the 1990s.

The premise behind Dad’s, Pechin says, was created specifically for this space, and with the neighborhood in mind. Seating just over 100 people between the dining room, bar, and patio, Pechin says to expect “some kitsch” throughout Dad’s, but nothing over the top in terms of design.

Pechin tapped Atlanta chefs Maximilian Hines (the Lawrence) and Jason McClure (formerly of Wade’s) to consult on the food for Dad’s, which should include an all-day bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich, sacks of steamed square sliders (think White Castle), a fried bologna sandwich, and disco waffle fries.

“Their creative approach to food mirrors our approach to cocktails,” says Pechin. “Max and Jason are consulting and will be helping hire our permanent kitchen staff. While we will definitely be featuring some kitsch throughout the space, the drinks and menu items will keep their classic names.”

Look for classic and modern takes on cocktails, including a nitro espresso martini on draft, a mezcal Last Word, and an Old Fashioned made with 14-year, barrel-aged George Dickel bourbon, from Little Spirit beverage director Ryan Dickey and Evan Hawkins (formerly of Broken Shaker in New York). Hawkins, an Atlanta native, first met Pechin while working at Opera nightclub in Midtown. He’s also worked behind the bars at Mother’s Ruin in New York and at Bodega South Beach and Craft Social Club in Miami.

“I have always been drawn to this neighborhood since moving to Atlanta in the early 90’s,” Pechin tells Eater. “Virginia-Highland has so many great staples in the restaurant and bar scene, and I was excited to see this space become available.”

Diesel Filling Station closed at the end of 2021 after 13 years in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood. The building was listed for sale last fall. Rumors circulated that the property, once home to an old gas station, was up for redevelopment. The distinctive building even appeared on an episode of the TV series The Walking Dead, which was shot at various locations in and around Atlanta.

870 North Highland Avenue, Atlanta.

Little Spirit

299 North Highland Avenue Northeast, , GA 30307 (404) 600-5895 Visit Website

Diesel Filling Station

870 North Highland Avenue Northeast, , GA 30306 (404) 815-1820 Visit Website

The Lawrence

905 Juniper Street Northeast, , GA 30309 (404) 961-7178 Visit Website