Lauren Carter has a hard time talking without making a dog pun now.
That’ll happen to someone working with a team of canine-lovers who are planning to open a bar for dogs (and their people).
Carter’s mother and brother are two of the three founders of Unleashed Hounds & Hops, an indoor-outdoor dog park within a beer bar slated to open at 200 E. Lyndale Av. N., Mpls., this coming winter (unleashedhoundsandhops.com).
More than 10,000 square feet of space will be devoted to those furry friends, including a leash-only bar, an off-leash area, and an outdoor bar and a playspace with a water feature
Because a number of local breweries have been amenable to dog-loving drinkers, Unleashed will honor the connection between beer and bow-wows by featuring microbrews.
Food will be “a bit of a higher-end version of bar fare,” said Carter, who is the marketing representative of Unleashed. “Gourmet hot dogs” (really), “nice sandwiches,” plus vegetarian and vegan dishes. And a dog menu. Think matching bacon flight for you and your pooch. Rice bowls. Lots of protein. “No onions. No chocolate obviously,” Carter said.
And then there’s dog beer: a pup-safe, effervescent drink that’s “tasty to whatever their taste buds are desiring,” Carter said. “They aren’t the pickiest eaters, dogs.”
Co-owners Sam Carter and Kevin Knuston came up with the idea as dog-owners who would come home from work to tend to their pets, but who then felt guilty about going back out to socialize. Breweries that do allow dogs have limited food and drink options, and “dogs are all stuck on leashes and pushed under tables,” Lauren Carter said.
They teamed up with the Carter siblings’ mother, Dawn Uremovich, who oversaw franchise openings as a longtime president of Haagen-Dazs, and began looking into the barriers of opening a pub where dogs could roam freely.
“They just started digging. Get it? Digging?” Lauren Carter said, laughing.
Though dogs must be on their leashes, the owners of Stanley’s Northeast (2500 University Av. NE., Mpls., 612-788-2529, stanleysbarroom.com) blazed a trail with its dog-food menu. That restaurant, along with the Howe Daily Kitchen & Bar and Pub 819, have served a total of 20,000 meals of their “Turkey Muttloaf” and more. Two managers from those restaurants, Luke Derheim and David Benowitz, plan to open the dog-friendly pub the Block (7008 Hwy. 7, St. Louis Park) in 2020 or 2021.
At Unleashed Hounds & Hops, rules and regulations, such as vaccination requirements, are still being ironed out.
“It’s hard, because no one wants to say this place has lots of rules,” Carter said. “But it’s for everybody’s safety and enjoyment. It’s not a free-for-all bar game.”
There’s already been some swift backlash on social media since word got out about the concept of people drinking with lots of dogs around. But Carter isn’t too worried.
“It’s just the internet,” she said.
It can be ruff out there.