Dog-friendly bars are nothing new, but a people-friendly dog park?
That’s kind of the idea behind Barkology, a new indoor-outdoor dog park and doggy daycare in Cheektowaga – with a bar.
Yeah, the concept behind Barkology is a bit crazy, to the point it actually got joked on by Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon:
However, for dog owners, the chance to get out of your house with your furry friend is no laughing matter. To be fair, Barkology is mostly a doggy daycare during the day, with the bar opening in the evenings and on weekends. Co-owners Megan Sitarek and Steve Morlock also made the point on Facebook that; Barkology is less a place for people to come and get loaded, more a place to have a drink and be social while your dog plays.
Sitarek told us about three years ago, she was looking for indoor dog parks around Buffalo when she stumbled upon several dog park-with-a-bar concepts operating down south: “We were like: What!? What is this!?“
“So we started thinking about this concept and asking around to see if people would go to it. Then, we would take our dogs to a brewery and sit out on the patio, we would look around and realize that, yes, these dogs like being outside with their owners, but they’d rather be playing at the same time.”
Typically, a customer will check in at the front desk and sign both a waiver saying their dog is vaccinated, and a release saying Barkology is allowed to post photos of their dog to social media. Up to two dogs per customer can then be released to the leash-free indoor or outdoor areas. Employees are stationed inside and outside to maintain order, but owners are expected to be present and keep an eye on their pet(s).
“You can’t just bring the dog in, drop them off and be negligent,” Sitarek said. “It’s a place where people and dogs can have fun, but they are still dogs, and anything can happen. So, we want to stay ahead of it and recognize any warning signs of trouble.”
Drink options include (mostly local) craft beer, wine and hard seltzers. The modest food menu was partly developed to adhere to COVID restrictions around drinking. So, there are simple appetizers like a charcuterie board and hummus. There are also paninis, including a Buffalo chicken and a caprese option.
We learned there are plans to expand service for grooming and dog training. Sitarek told us they would start with occasional appearances by a mobile groomer. The goal is to eventually establish semi-regular classes for both obedience and agility.
On the official website, Barkology notes that a dog isn’t mandatory for entrance. So, feel free to meet up with your dog owner friends for a craft beer, bite to eat and dog lover vibes.
“We have a friend who was here the other day, and he said, you don’t really go to a bar and see people having a good time and mingling with each other,” Sitarek told us. “It’s definitely a different experience where dog lovers unite and become one happy community.”
Dogs are so great at bringing people together, in fact, Barkology sees their concept as a great, low-key way for single people to bond over a shared love of all things dog. They do plan to hold occasional Singles Nights and other special events.
“It’s like when a guy goes to the park with a baby, all the girls come and flock around him,” Sitarek laughed. “It’s the same way with a puppy, right?”
Suddenly… this dog-park-with-a-bar idea doesn’t… seem… so… crazy… after all.
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- Bar & Dog Park Hours: Monday to Thursday 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m., Friday 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. – 10 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- Doggy Daycare Hours: Drop-off 7 a.m., Pick-up 5:30 p.m.