Bark Social, a dog bar and recreation area, is set to open this weekend at 935 Prose St. in North Bethesda’s Pike & Rose retail development.
The concept features a café with coffees, teas, sandwiches, empanadas and other foods for dogs. There is also a self-serve bar offering 20 beers on tap.
There is a covered patio that is more than 2,000 square feet, as well as an adjacent indoor lounge with seating and TVs.
Humans may enter Bark Social for free if they come alone, but must pay a membership fee if they are accompanied by their dog. The bar’s website advertises a yearly membership for $284.99, a monthly membership for $39.99 and a day pass for $9.99.
Bark Social co-founder Luke Silverman explained during a media tour on Wednesday that customers purchasing beer give their credit card to an employee, who gives them a green Bark Social card.
The customer then places the green card in a slot above one of 20 self-serve beer taps. The placement of the card unlocks the tap, and the customer can then pour the desired amount of beer.
Silverman said the green cards are synched to the customers’ credit cards, and when a customer starts pouring beer, a tab is started.
“When you want to close out, we give the credit card back and charge the card,” he said.
Silverman said that initially, Bark Social will be a credit-only operation due to concerns about COVID transmission, but that could change after the pandemic.
Half of the 20 beers on tap are from local breweries in Montgomery County, Silverman said.
Bark Social sells merchandise in a small retail area, such as shirts, onesies and Bark Social’s own line shampoo for dogs. It sells its own line of dog treats, such as beef treats, chicken strips and sweet potato chips.
Silverman said supporting local businesses is particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re all about supporting the small business community. If the small business community fails or is disrupted, then it hurts everyone,” he said.
Montgomery County businesses with products sold at Bark Social include:
- Lil’ Cakes and Creamery
- Rhino Dog Leashes
- Denizens Brewing Co.
- Waredaca Brewing Company
- Astro Lab Brewing
- Fresh Baguette
- True Respite Brewing Company
- Elder Pine Brewing & Blending Co.
At full capacity, Bark Social can serve around 95 people and 50 dogs, Silverman said. Indoor dining restrictions in the county, however, limit capacity to 25%, and at least six feet of distance must be maintained between tables, both inside and outside.
The opening of the dog bar has been delayed, largely due to shipping delays stemming from the pandemic, Silverman said. And inclement weather this month delayed the painting of a colorful mural toward the front.
“This is, like, the second good painting day in six weeks,” he said.
Despite the challenges, Silverman and his fellow co-founders are excited for the dog bar’s opening. He said more than 30 investors, advisers and other strategic partners have helped the business launch.
“While COVID has been super challenging in terms of logistics, people are just over the top supportive to see a new retail venture open during a pandemic, which is unusual,” co-founder Arie Abecassis said.
Bark Social will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Silverman said the 10 p.m. close time is because alcohol can’t be served past that time under Montgomery County’s current executive order. When restrictions are lifted, the bar might stay open later, he said.
Dan Schere can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org