Nightlife: A dog walks into a bar

  • Article by: TOM HORGEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 30, 2008 - 9:29 AM

Talk about party animals -- a rowdy crowd of sloppy-faced, touchy-feely revelers regularly takes over the Nomad World Pub.

Guaranteed: You've never seen this much butt-sniffing in a bar in your entire life.

But what else would you expect? Every month or so, the Nomad World Pub literally goes to the dogs, with more than 50 canines and their owners invading the Minneapolis bar for a night unlike any other.

The parties are put on by K9-Connection, a company that brings dog lovers together through fun events such as speed-dating and singles mixers -- with their dogs, of course.

Last Thursday, the company hosted a social party at the Nomad called "Beer With Your Buddy," where dog owners sat back and sipped brews while their pooches ran around in the bar's gated patio. Off-leash, the dogs were free to greet each other in the best way they know how: the aforementioned all-out private-parts sniff fest. Just try doing that to someone at the club tonight.

No doggie bouncer was needed, however, as the pooches -- from giant Great Danes to little wiener dogs -- spent two hours running, jumping and wrestling as if their lives depended on it.

Dog owner Sarah Miller and her two friends stood in awe as they took in this chaotic scene. It was their first K9-Connection event.

The small ball of brown fur standing at Miller's feet, a Yorkshire terrier named Lacey Lou, looked equally in awe.

"I'm glad I got her hair done before I brought her to the party," said Miller, 25, of Shoreview.

K9-Connection's owner, Angie Gwiazdon, said she created the event to bring dog lovers together. By day, she is a licensed marriage and family therapist.

"Dog people tend to be kind, caring, compassionate and fun," Gwiazdon said. "Just like their canine counterparts."

Leslie Gross, of Minneapolis, said K9-Connection helped her meet new friends after she moved here from Atlanta last year.

"Being at the bar with your dog -- that rocks," she said, as her big, chocolate Labradoodle bounced around the bar's patio.

Normally city officials would frown on pooches in the pub, but in this case the event is essentially a private party, with attendees paying an entry fee to K9-Connection, said the Nomad's owner, Todd Smith. Plus, the dogs mostly stay outside on the patio.

One thing you'll quickly wonder: Where are the dudes? Gwiazdon isn't shy about wishing that her events attracted more men. She's a little baffled that single guys haven't picked up on this gold mine.

Adam Huskey, a tall, soft-spoken 32-year-old professional from Richfield, was one of the few men in the crowd last week. He and his golden retriever, Annabelle, had already gone to one of K9-Connection's speed-dating events and were just hanging out Thursday. He surveyed the crowd as I remarked that there sure were a lot of women.

"There are, indeed," he said.

K9-Connection also uses these events to raise awareness for dog-adoption groups such as Underdog Rescue, which brought a half-dozen pooches looking for homes to the Nomad. Miller, who has two other dogs besides Lacey Lou, said she'd love to bring one of those little guys home. But wasn't sure what she'd tell her boyfriend.

"Look what I found at happy hour!" she joked.

K9-Connection capped off the night with a raffle, giving out all sorts of dog prizes and people prizes, too. Waiting in the crowd was the diva of the night: a tiny white chihuahua named Coco -- as in Coco Chanel. Kristen Hall of St. Louis Park carried the 4-pound dog around all night, lest she mess up her beautiful coat by tussling with the mutts. If Coco could talk, Hall said, her pint-sized companion might say, "Let's go home where I can have you all to myself."

Oh, Coco.

But they couldn't leave yet. As the raffle neared its end, Hall and Coco heard their names called. Their prize: A brew and barbecue set (a few beers and some sauce).

Coco was only somewhat amused. "She prefers cosmopolitans," Hall said.

thorgen@startribune.com • 612-673-7909

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  • EVENTS TO CHECK OUT

    Beer With Your Buddy

    When: 6:30 - 9 p.m. June 26. $10 advance, $12 door. Reservations recommended. • Where: Nomad World Pub, 501 Cedar Av. S., Mpls.

    Speed-dating with your dog

    When: 7 p.m. June 22. • Where: Java J's, 700 Washington Av. N., Mpls.

    Cost: $34. Spots are generally reserved for 12 men and 12 women.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION

    612-501-2986 or www.k9-connection.com

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