Picture this: It’s a bluebird 78˚F Colorado afternoon, a perfect day to be outside with your furry friend, so you go to the dog park. After the small talk with other dog owners has subsided, you find yourself alone on a bench watching Fido and his friends revel in the sunshine – suddenly you are jealous and find yourself longing for a beer that is against the rules of the dog park (not like the dogs will care if you’re sipping a refreshing pint).
Starting this summer, Denver dog owners will no longer have this dilemma, thanks to Bark Bar, a new concept created by Catherine Peters, a dog owner who, while sitting beer-less in her lawn chair last summer, decided (with the help of her husband) it was no longer cool to be sitting beer-less in a park watching the dogs have all the fun.
“For me, my best Zen moments are at the dog park. I just get such a sense of peace and relaxation when I’m watching dogs play. They have no egos, no agenda, no mental noise,” says Peters. “I wanted to create a place where people could feel that regularly. That laid back, no worries, just enjoying the moment kind of feel.”
Currently, there is no place where Denver’s dog-loving community can come together socially and not worry about having their dog on-leash. “How many people have to rush home from work to let the dog out and then go meet their friends for a drink? Now they can do both,” says Peters.
Bark Bar, set to open in the Highlands (4138 West 38th Avenue) on June 1, will feature a 1,200 square foot bar (dog-free to comply with health and safety regulations) plus on-leash patio with 12 rotating taps of Colorado craft beer, an extensive craft can list, as well as coffee drinks, baked goods, and snacks for the daytime crowd – of course there will be food trucks on the weekends and during events.
But the best part? The 4,000 square-foot yard where your dog can roam and play off-leash with other dogs. There will be shaded benches to sit on so you can comfortably chat beer-in-hand with other dog-owners (or other dogs depending on what brew you’re on), as well as basic doggie amenities like water bowls, poop bags, and receptacles.
Bark Bar will have the same rules as all Denver dog parks, meaning your dog must be spayed/neutered, must be current on its shots, must be well behaved (this goes for owners too), and owners must maintain visual control of their dogs at all times – oh and pick up poop!
Peters adds that Bark Bar will uphold the City’s ban on certain breeds. “It really rankles me, I love the bully breeds,” she says. “But I couldn’t bear it if someone had their dog confiscated at our establishment.”
While Bark Bar is not set to open until June, Peters has many plans up her sleeves including weekly events with local rescue organizations, fun seasonal events (think Halloween costume contests and pictures with Santa), dog/owner look-a-like contests, and book signings. There is also word of multiple locations, pending the success of the Highlands Bark Bar.