The Lucky Dog Bark and Brew is where everyone knows your dog’s name – that’s how they sell it in Cornelius, North Carolina. The idea is as appealing as it sounds.
The Lucky Dog at 19607 Statesville Road, isn’t a bar you can take your dog. It’s an indoor and outdoor dog park where your dog can take you – to sit with a beer while he frolics in the leash-free zone dog patio checking out the climbing toys and other buddies … when they are there.
Unfortunately, the Sunday night when Victor and I visited (it’s open until 10 pm), my 12-year-old schnoodle was the only dog there. But that didn’t stop me from ordering a local pear-flavoured brew on tap and saddling up to a bar table while Victor ran free, peeing in every corner of the mostly cement outdoor dog patio.
Despite our private initiation, it’s still one of my favourite dog-friendly spots we discovered on our Red Roof Road Trip with the dog, five states and counting. In Cornelius, we’re visiting friends so Victor gets to chill in a house for a few days. The Lucky Dog, serving the Lake Norman community, is known among dog owners so I didn’t need to look up directions.
A clever concept, The Lucky Dog grew out of dog parent guilt. “The owners Kelly and Randy Waugh are huge North Carolina Panther fans,” says manager Destiny Bonace who’s been the marketing and special events coordinator at the Cornelius location since it opened in August 2012.
“They’d go to a game, or go out to watch the game, but always ended up leaving early to go home and check on the dogs. That’s when it occurred to them, there needs to be a place you can watch the game with your dog.”
Lucky Dog Bark and Brew sports bar was born.
After the bar was open and established, a doggie daycare, overnight kennel and bath services were added. According to Bonace, there are 92 kennels on site and demand for daycare and overnight boarding is about equal.
“During the day,” she says, “the dogs are rotated out, some resting, and some playing in both the indoor and outdoor dog play areas.” The dogs are evaluated before they can be in playgroups. Daycare drop off starts at 7 am and ends as late as 9 pm. Dogs are grouped into big and little and there’s about ten at a time per group.
Because the entire facility is used during the day for regular customers, the bar doesn’t open until after 5 pm on weekdays and is open Saturday and Sunday, noon to 10 pm.
Visiting the area? You can drop by and hang out when the bar is open – sign in as a guest at the door, head to the outdoor bar (unless it’s raining then stay inside, but it’s a little stinky when I was there. However, they’ve assured me renovations have since changed that). You can get a beer, watch the game on screens behind the bar and keep an eye on your dog from either spot. Or sit outside at a picnic table among the dogs.
Only fixed and vaccinated dogs allowed, of course.
Also, it’s a bar for fur babies but not human ones – no one under the age of 21 is allowed (a bonus in my world). There’s also no food prepared on site for obvious reasons, but food trucks pull up in the parking lot every Friday.
If you’re in the neighbourhood, checkout the newest location in Charlotte, North Carolina at 2220 Thrift Road that opened on April, 2016. They’re working on franchising too, if you’re interested.