In the first two weeks since Catherine Peters opened The Bark Bar in the Highlands (4132 West 38th Avenue), she has garnered a huge dog-loving clientele and established one of the largest craft beer can selections in Denver, and maybe even the state. Sure, the focus is the fenced-in dog yard, where our furry friends can run around and tackle each other, while we sip our brews at the picnic tables or on the patio under heat lamps, but the indoor bar area is where it’s at. Unfortunately, doggies are not allowed inside (neither are non-furry kids).
In a city full of beetle kill wood bars, The Bark Bar sets itself apart with a cozy industrial theme. The bar, made out of concrete and sealed so it’s smooth and durable, is the perfect height at 42 inches. The bar stools? Fashioned out of old semi-truck springs and topped with brown leather cushions, making for a cozy (and bouncy) spot to sit your bum for a couple brewskis. Even better, there are strategically placed coat hooks every two bar stools.
The beer selection is top-notch, with 12 seasonally rotating taps featuring mostly local breweries and a current can selection of 68, which Peters expects to grow with the help of co-owner and General Manager Mike Faber, who helped open Park & Co. in Uptown. The cans are uniquely displayed in three little nooks on the wall behind the bar, cached only by small glass sliding doors.
“We love love love craft beer, and are particularly loyal to Colorado craft beer because, first of all, it’s awesome, and second of all, part of our mission is to support local business. ” says Peters. “However, there are some fantastic craft beers in the rest of the country that we can’t ignore so we do carry a few selections from outside Colorado. We scoured the state and the country for the best craft beer in cans and I think we can safely say that we have the best selection of canned craft beer in Denver.”
Why cans and not a bigger draft system? Glass isn’t allowed out in the dog yard, plus cans are more environmentally friendly.
In addition to a great line-up of craft beer, The Bark Bar caters to cocktail and whiskey lovers with a full bar, stocked with both higher-end and approachable spirits. Don’t see your favorite? Faber, who manages most of the bar selection, says he will only buy liquor that his customers will like and will not hesitate to order a bottle per special request.
The drink menu is creative, listing aptly named cocktails like “The Bark Bar Salty Dog” with grapefruit infused vodka and fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, served on the rocks with a salted rim. Then there’s The Bloodhound, concocted with bloody mix and roasted chili infused vodka. All infused liquors are made in-house by Faber himself.
Faber says that since opening, his hot toddies have been some of the most popular orders. From the Hot Buttered Rump with Kraken spiced rum, brown sugar, nutmeg, and cloves, to the Irish Wolfhound with Bailey’s, Tullamore Dew, and your choice of daily brewed coffee.
Yes, you heard it right, house-brewed coffee. The Bark Bar has a full espresso bar with beans from Vail Mountain Coffee and trained baristas to make you a latte, macchiato, or cappuccino – maybe someday they can enter a contest for dog-themed foam art.
Opening at 10 a.m. every day, The Bark Bar is not only the perfect place to booze it up with your furry friend, but telecommuters can enjoy free WiFi with their morning (or afternoon) coffee while the dogs get their energy out in the yard. Worried about watching your dog? Don’t. Huge glass garage doors provide a clear view outside, while on busy days, a yard attendant will keep a close eye on your little monsters.
There are even talks about partnering with local doggie daycares to have someone on hand if there is a big sports game so dog parents (again The Bark Bar is a kid-free zone) can take a break and watch the action on a projector inside the bar.
As for events, Peters already has some tricks up her sleeve. On Thursday, January 16, 4-7 p.m., The Bark Bar will host the release party for the DoggieGone app featuring beer from Renegade Brewing Company and free gift bags with Kong toys for the first 75 guests. Plus, Billy’s Gourmet Hot Dogs will be catering the event.
Peters says she also plans to host regular events with local rescue and dog advocate groups. Be sure to visit The Bark Bar’s website and sign up for event announcements.