Plans to open a dog-friendly bar in a vacant church in downtown Little Rock are padding forward, co-founder Elizabeth Michael tells us. Bark Bar, to be located at 1201 Spring St., has been approved by the Department of Health for plumbing, and landlord/architect Adam Day has created drawings for the hound-lover hangout. Michael said she and co-owner Cara Fowler are hoping for an April opening.
Michael and Fowler, whose idea it was to open a place where dogs and their people could have a good time (and alleviate owners’ guilt for leaving their dogs alone), bring various talents to the enterprise. Michael
works previously worked with her father’s furniture and design company, the Paul Michael Co., and now works for ad firm CJRW; Fowler is an event planner. They’re consulting with food supplier Ben E. Keith, and in addition to the human bar menu are working up a doggie drink menu that might include, Michael said merrily, bacon-flavored, toilet-flavored and minnow-flavored waters (her dog likes to drink out of the minnow bucket when she fishes, she said).
Startup funds that would have gone to the accompanying dog play area have been eaten up by the red tape the two have had to untangle with the health department, Alcohol Beverage Control and the city, so they started a Kickstarter crowdfunding account. They want the play area to include a water feature and agility courses. (The building — which formerly held the Dreamweavers Outlet — has a side yard.) Those who donate will receive rewards, such as T-shirts, memberships, koozies and photos of their pets on the wall, depending on size of the gift (for $1,000, the bar will name a drink after your dog). So far, $3,916 has been raised toward a goal of $5,000.
Dogs will require a membership — proof of vaccinations, etc. People will not. Bark Bar is partnering with CARE for Animals to have “rescue mixers,” so folks can play with rescued dogs and, perhaps, adopt them.