A Private, Monitored Dog Park/Beer Garden/Coffee BarA private, professionally monitored, off-leash dog park with a beer garden and coffee bar, Bark Social combines three of the things you love—your favorite bar, your favorite coffee shop, and your favorite child-slash-friend—to become a great place not just for you but also for your dog. If you’re wondering where the idea came from, Luke Silverman, Bark Social’s CEO and co-founder, had this to say,
“I started going to similar concepts that were ‘dog bars’, and I just felt that they were great businesses, they were great people, they had an awesome community, and I could take them to areas in which I grew up.”
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“For me, it’s about creating great returns for my investors and my shareholders and creating a great experience for my four-legged and two-legged customers, but also doing it the right way,”Luke added.
An Experience Like No OtherAside from its top management being socially responsible, what makes this 25,000-square-foot complex unique is that it houses one of the few coffee shops where you will see a toy poodle or a Shih Tzu—or any other breed, really—likely cut in line in front of you just to order their first beer. Located in North Bethesda, Maryland, Bark Social features an indoor space and outdoor space that are welcome to all humans, whether you have a furry friend or are just a dog enthusiast. Its outdoor venue is lined with a mulch dog run that is supervised by professional “bark rangers”, who help make the gated Disney World safe for canines and canine lovers alike. It also has a bunch of Adirondack chairs, where people can sit with their friends and still adhere to the current social distancing restrictions. Luke described the sprawling recreational space:
“Basically, what it is, is it’s just a great place for hanging out, having a beer or a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, you know…hanging out with your friends or your significant other… Really, it’s all about elevating the dog park experience and creating that cool, cohesive group of responsible dog owners.”Its indoor setup includes a fancy, climate-controlled “clubhouse” that has free, high-speed WiFi and is surrounded by comfortable, Italian leather sofas and TV sets. There are also charging ports for your gadgets, as well as dog water stations that are self-filling and self-emptying to ensure that water stays fresh and clean. If you ever need to give your pup a bath after running around the dog park, Bark Social also has self-serve dog baths that you can use. You don’t even have to worry about not bringing your fur baby’s bathroom essentials—Bark Social has a one-stop dog shop from which you can select what you need. From high-quality dog treats and chews to dog beds and leashes (and more), the dog park’s got you covered!
Registering with Bark SocialBut while guests without canine companions do not need any reservation to enter the park for free, the management checks all dogs for vaccines before they can enjoy their happy hour destination. For this reason, Luke and his team strongly advise that you register your dog online to ensure a quick and seamless entry when you show up for the first time at Bark Social. If you prefer to register your dog at the site, on the other hand, that’s also fine. Just be sure to bring your Fido’s proof of vaccination with you. Bark Social charges $9.99 for a day pass during weekdays and $14.99 for a day pass during weekends. But if you see yourself visiting the dog park regularly and becoming part of their exclusive community, you might find their annual and monthly membership plans worth the price of the exercise and pleasure that your pooch will have on a regular basis. Staying at the dog park for hours is also not an issue at all since they offer an all-day menu for both humans and canines. If you’re looking for a venue to celebrate your pup’s birthday, the dog park also holds regular and private events, including ‘80s nights, dog birthday parties, fundraisers, and dog yoga on weekends. Bark Social is open from 7 am to 10 pm on Mondays to Thursdays. They are also open for the rest of the week, but their office hours may vary on those days. When asked about their future plans, Luke shared the four ways they envision the dog park to grow:
- To be a great place to work and be a thriving business where they bring jobs to the local economy;
- To foster a sense of community in all human and canine customers;
- To be a place for healing and encourage human customers to engender genuine enthusiasm for each other; and
- To be mission-driven and always give back to the causes that they believe in.