Sit, Stay, Drink
This is less a restaurant review and more a call to action. Any pubs in the Rehoboth area want to adopt a fantastic business model? I’ll explain.
Anyone who knows me understands that two of my favorite things are Schnauzers and Vodka. Not to be combined, of course. A tipsy Schnauzer is not a pretty sight.
But imagine my surprise at finding a place in Florida where Schnauzers and spirits really do mix. I can have my Schnauzer and drink vodka too. It’s a dog bar! And it’s hugely successful.
Seriously, there’s a pub in St. Pete where canines have memberships and humans are invited to join them for happy hour, yappy hour, and even late night crawling at the pub. By last call, I imagine everybody in the place might be on all fours.
From the street it looks like a regular bar, although the traditional neon beer signs are augmented by colorful pooch murals. There’s a sign that says, “Sit, Stay, Drink.”
Windsor and I entered the dog-park style double safety gate and walked up to the hostess stand. People and their dogs milled about in this on-leash area, as we newbies got the lowdown.
Windsor needed to register (they have over 2000 canine members!). He brought his vaccination records along (I saw this requirement online), and he used his allowance to pay the annual fee to become a club member. He even got a little dog-bone shaped tag for his collar or my key ring. I’d rather he wear it, as I’d hate to accidently hand it over instead of my Super G card.
Windsor also had to have me sign his contract, agreeing to play by the rules of courtesy, clean-up, and club membership.
The on-leash area had tables and chairs, humans ordering drinks at the bar and canines and humans watching big screen TVs—one screen had ESPN, the other, Animal Planet. Human customers are offered Ping Pong, Skee Ball, or Corn Hole, and there is often live music. Perhaps Three Dog Night?
Then it was off-leash for Windsor in the large doggie playground (again, double safety-gated), complete with swimming pools, ramps, tunnels, and cots for lounging—plus lots of water bowls, toys, and a fully equipped bar for the dogs’ human companions. Along with the hard liquor, beer, and wine, there are non-alcoholic beverages as well.
As Windsor was going to the dogs, I bellied up to the bar and ordered Tito’s and Tonic, while offering belly rubs to any number of pups surrounding the mixologist.
I got my libation, took a seat at a high top, and watched the shenanigans in the large canopy-covered, astro-turf play area.
A Great Dane puppy raced after two Greyhounds, several Shitsu’s, a baby Pittie, lots of happy mutts, and the lone Schnauzer. They ran, dunked in the two little pools, chased up and down on the steps and ramps, exhausting themselves.
And while there’s the occasional doggie-style assignation (Oy, I mean just the pups!), safer sex is the rule as spaying and neutering is required for membership.
A lumbering Bull Dog got a twinkle in his eye for Windsor, but alas the gay crush was unrequited. After one sniff too many, Windsor leapt into my lap. Luckily I had a tight grip on my sippy cup.
Then an enormous Golden Retriever plunged into the pool, and upon exit ran directly to me to shake himself off. It brought new meaning to the term golden shower.
And we were all delighted to see that the bar provides monitors to make sure everyone plays nice and stays safe.
Naturally, human companions are asked to keep an eye on their pups, as it’s occasionally necessary for a drinker to get off his or her stool to go take care of his or her pup’s stool. Baggies are provided and everyone is quite responsible.
It’s a happy place, made happier still by well-made cocktails, romping dogs, and friendly people.
Although, one wonders, if you visit the next day for the hair of the dog, might your drink actually come with some hair of the dog?
But no, all is separate, sanitary, and fun, fun, fun. I sat, I stayed, I drank. Hadn’t had so much fun in a dog’s age.
So, locally, any creative bar owner want to get into the canine cocktail lounge business? I have a feeling it would win best in show around here.