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Four new dog park bars are coming to Raleigh—answering the call of local pup parents who feel guilty leaving their fur babies behind when going out on the town.
It wasn’t long ago—literally this year, actually—that dog owners washed away the guilt of leaving Fido home all day with a happy hour brew… or missed happy hour altogether to get home to their four-legged bestie. And oft overheard at the bar, pet-parent bar chatter musing of living in a city where we didn’t have to choose between pubs and pups. What would that be like?
After all, Texas saw its first dog park and bar in 2013 (the country’s oldest operating) and North Carolina got its first back in 2015 in (where else) Charlotte, according to Paula Dozier, co-founder of Doggos Dog Park & Pub, which opened its first location in Greensboro in 2019.
Now, finally—and all of a sudden—Raleigh will have not one, not two, but four dog park bars: West Street Dog, which opened in early August; Doggos, slated for spring; The Yard, anticipated for next year; and Pals, opening end of this year/beginning of next year.
So what changed? Believe it or not, Raleigh really doesn’t have that much public green space allotted solely for your furry friends. According to the 2018 City of Raleigh Dog Park Study, there are only five existing public dog parks in the city—and in the same year, one-third of Raleigh households had a dog.
But Raleigh’s population is only continuing to grow—and more humans means more dogs, with 100,000 dogs expected to live in Raleigh by 2023, according to that same study. And many Raleigh dog owners are living in (and are going to live in) apartments or other small living units with no backyard space to let their pooches run free—making these dog-inclusive spaces even more of a necessity.
“Just from the feedback I’ve gotten from the residents around here—there’s such a need,” says Laura Muntel, co-owner of West Street Dog. “All the apartments [around here] are dog-friendly, but there’s nowhere to take them, not even to go take them to the bathroom really.”
Local entrepreneur G Patel has long realized that need as well. He first started working on Pals (with a group of students at NC State at the time, and more recently Principal Operator Kunal Patel) about five years ago—and it’s finally coming to fruition. “One in every other person has a dog, especially in [Downtown Raleigh] and with the suburban area growing,” says Patel. With Pals’ location at the intersection of North West, Hillsborough and West Edenton streets—essentially the epicenter of DTR—it’s sure to be a hit with dogs and humans alike (because us humans could always use another Raleigh bar to belly up to too).
Also realizing that hole in the market for dog owners to be able to simultaneously meet their dog’s needs while also meeting their own—that, and the fact that dogs are like family (hence, “fur children”) and owners want what’s best for them—is local artist Taylor White, who came up with the idea for The Yard, a bar, cafe and off-leash dog park coming soon to Raleigh’s Boylan Heights neighborhood.
“I want to take my dog out and show her a great life and everything, but I’ve also got to live in the world,” says White.
Rounding out the group of hound hooch hot spots for you to have a pint with your pal will be Doggos, with 10,000-plus square feet of indoor/outdoor dog park space (plus full bar with doggie beer!), as well as doggy daycare, grooming and boarding, allowing dog owners to drop off their pups to play with fellow dogs when they’re at work for the day or going
out of town.
So now Raleighites will have plenty of ops to take their pups out with them to socialize with fellow dog owners and their dogs—guilt be gone. And just like their human bar predecessors, these four concepts will each feature distinct offerings for both humans and dogs.
“Dog friendliness is one of the hallmarks of a great city,” says Dozier. “So why not make Raleigh one of the most dog-friendly cities in the country?” And even if you don’t have a dog of your own, these dog park bars will be open to Raleigh dog lovers who just want to grab a cold one and spend time around other people’s dogs as well. Dog-bar-hopping, anyone?
West Street Dog
• Members-only indoor off-leash area with artificial turf and full-service bar
• Additional on-leash bar
• Doggy daycare, bathing, and overnight dog and cat boarding services
Doggos Dog Park & Pub
• 10,000+ square feet of indoor/outdoor turfed off-leash play space supervised
• Full bar (with doggie beer!)
• Separate small dog and family/kid-friendly areas
• Regular dogcentric community events
• 5,400-square-foot grass dog run
• Large covered patio
• Shipping container cafe/service window with local and organic cafe fare, beer, cocktails and wine
• Additional shipping container with restrooms and pet-washing station
• 8,000 square feet of exterior green
space with turf
• Shipping containers with coffee/bar concepts and restrooms
• Covered seating
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