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Barkside, Detroit's first dog bar, celebrates at ribbon-cutting ceremony

Posted at 9:25 PM, Jul 10, 2024

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Detroit's first-ever dog park and bar is enjoying a successful start since opening its doors back in November.

Mala, Marshall and Sumi are running the show at Barkside. They are the house dogs for the place, and what they bark goes.

“It’s fully off-leash everywhere” Barkside co-owner David Oh said.

And what that means is as long as your pet is neutered and their vaccinations are up to date, you can bring your four-legged friend to the bar with you.

Oh says his dog Mala is the inspiration behind the city's only dog-friendly, off-leash spot.

The space is located in the West Village neighborhood on the city’s east side. And you don’t even have to have a dog to go. But if you do, it is all hands off for you.

“You take your dog off the leash, they go, they play,” Barkside co-owner Cody Williams said. “Our referees watch the dogs, so that we make sure they are playing well together. We clean up after the dogs, we refresh water bowls, so you can just sit with your friends and enjoy a beverage.”

The business received a $55,000 grant from Motor City Match. They first opened their doors in November, but Monday was their official ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Detroit City Council President Mary Sheffield awarded the establishment a Spirit of Detroit award at the ceremony.

Sheffield says she is excited about how Barkside has impacted the neighborhood, and you may find her as one of those non-dog owners visiting the doggie bar too.

“I might come and chill out and get my little dog vibes in if I want to have fun with other neighbors' dogs," she said.

Sumi’s dad, Josh Rzeppa, is a regular at Barkside. He says that the doggie lounge has helped his 1-year-old Dalmatian open to socializing.

“She was very skiddish before we started coming here,” Rzeppa said. “Like she wouldn’t leave us and as soon as we start walking here, she gets all excited and sees all her friends.”