Bark Park & Patio Will Welcome Beer and Dog Lovers in Florence
A place for lovers of beer and dogs is coming to Florence.
Bark Park and Patio is currently under construction at 7544 Burlington Pike, an idea from Lee Cahill, 31, who has been kicking around the idea for more than a decade.
Florence city council recently gave approval to a zoning map amendment for the property changing it from suburban residential zoning to commercial, and also approved Cahill's concept development plan to allow for the drinking establishment, dog park, and parking for food trucks.
Though from Verona originally, Cahill moved to Cincinnati after college.
"I looked around in Cincinnati, because I really wanted the business to be in Cincinnati," Cahill explained. "But I just couldn't find anything that fit what I had in mind. I could find decent sized buildings, but the yard was almost always too small. Then I saw the property in Florence, and I fell in love with it. It was just what I wanted."
The existing building's bones will remain with an office staying for that purpose and the three-car garage transformed into a tap room with twenty taps for craft beers.
Cahill hopes that construction work is begun by the end of September with the business opening towards the end of the year or at the beginning of next year.
"I want to feature different beers and be as local as possible, so it should be regional, and beers that are requested," Cahill said.
There will be plenty of parking and room for three food trucks, he said, with hopes of having at least one on site each day. Fillmore's Dairy Hut is also nearby.
Bark Park and Patio expects to be open Tuesday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
There will, naturally, be a patio with about 1,000 square feet for patrons to sit, eat, and drink. Dog visitors will have to be on a leash in the tap room and patio. But special just for them there will be a fenced-in area of about 1.5 acres where dogs can frolic and play.
Cahill adopted a puppy of his own while in college, and currently has a dog named Banjo. His girlfriend has one, too, and they like to take the dogs when they go out.
Ultimately, Cahill's entrepreneurial instincts led him to create a place that specifically wants dogs.
"People can open a tab, and then we link it to an RFID card," said Cahill. "Then you can put the card into the wall beside the tap, and pour your own beer. It is charged by the ounce. There will be people on staff if you don't understand how to pour the beer. We wouldn't want you to get a lot of foam. There are also info graphics on the wall."
Cahill has partnered with a company called Responsible Products, which provides plastic cups and doggie bags that are compostable. The bags will be out in the dog area, where owners are required to pick up after their dog. Cahill said there will be people out in the yard who will monitor the animals to make sure everyone plays nicely. Animal owners will have to sign a liability waiver.
As is common in dog parks, the owner has to provide proof of shots, as well as being spayed or neutered.
Cahill said the business will have the right to refuse membership to any dog that is overly aggressive. Anyone who uses the dog park will have to be a member, and they daily passes, or monthly and yearly memberships will be available.
Keeping grass is a problem in dog parks, but Cahill said he has a cousin in landscaping, and he has contingency plans for keeping it from becoming a sea of mud.
Furlong Construction, of Erlanger, is handling construction work, while M+A Architects, of Cincinnati, worked on the design.
Cahill is excited about the progress.
"I was working a 9 to 5 job last year that I had been in for five years," he said. "I found that I was waking up on Sundays dreading Monday because I had to work in a job I didn't love. I love the whole craft beer thing, and I am a dog enthusiast. Frankly, I am a little surprised things have progressed so far, and I am so close to seeing my dream come true.
"I am very grateful for the support of my family and friends, and from the city. They have been helpful and supportive. I am excited to see my dream come into reality."