Dear DC: A Letter from the Co-Founders

Dear DC,

Just like many of you, we like being outdoors, and socializing (with our dogs!). We think all of this should be in one place where dogs are free to roam. And because we love DC, we’re bringing our dream to you first. After traveling around the country researching similar concepts, we have designed an off-leash dog park and bar that is truly a best in class experience.

We’ve partnered with local badass and nationally recognized coffee roaster, Ceremony Coffee to offer you the best cup of coffee East of the Mississippi. Our dog treats are locally made and sourced from within 200 miles of our factory in Baltimore. And our beer menu will rotate with all of your favorite local brews.

Come relax with your kids, friends, and dog. Start your day outside with a cup of coffee, enjoy a mid-day break with some kombucha, or enjoy the happiest “Yappy Hour” in all the land with friends or colleagues.

We’re reinventing the neighborhood meeting spot and all are welcome.

Be safe, be strong, and see you soon,

Luke & Jeff, Co-Founders of Bark Social

Why Bark Social?

WE LOVE PEOPLE AND DOGS

We don’t like choosing between going to the dog park and going out with friends for happy hour. Also, we don’t like leaving our dogs at home while we work on our laptops at a coffee shop. So we combined our favorite activities into one badass offering.

DOGS NEED EXERCISE

Dogs are happier and healthier when they get regular exercise, and that will always be the case.

FOCUS ON LOCAL

We’ve partnered with a ton of local (Baltimore/DC) small businesses. For example, we’ve partnered with a local dog treat manufacturer, Union Kitchen’s food accelerator, Ceremony Coffee, and continue to reach out to local vendors for partnerships.

TRADITIONAL DOG PARKS SUCK!

  • They are hazardous because you don’t know if the other dogs are vaccinated.
  • They're typically puddles of mud.
  • They're self-monitored, and we know how that goes.
  • There’s no shelter for people.
  • No refreshments... so technically, the “refreshment” you have in your Yeti or Solo Cup is illegal.

BEER. COFFEE. WINE.

Who doesn’t love at least one of these three?

OUR NAME

We’re all about connections and dogs and people socializing...hence the name Bark Social. Dogs are happier when they interact with other dogs and people. People are happier when they spend more time with their dog and their friends.

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

We wanted to be outdoors more...and we think nearly everyone does!

“BIG BOX” PET STORES ARE LACKING

Sure, they have a huge selection of dog treats, toys, etc. but the experience is lacking to say the least. It’s simply not an enjoyable experience, and the sheer number of products for sale is overwhelming. We offer a more curated selection of top quality products. Now you can hang out with your friends, get your dog some exercise AND pick up your dog’s favorite treats and toys at the same time!

GIVE BACK

We’re entrepreneurs at heart and love all things business...but we believe that there’s enough love to go around. That’s why giving back to our local community and dog non-profits is a core part of Bark Social’s mission.

How it all began...

When Luke and Jeff met nearly 10 years ago, they both had come to the realization that they weren’t passionate about their current career paths. Luke was living in Austin, TX at the time and frequently took his dog to the local “dog bar” which was almost always packed with people and dogs. He loved the concept so much that he started thinking about starting his own.

Jeff, an entrepreneur at heart, had founded several businesses over the past 15+ years. He was itching to jump back into a startup...but was waiting for the next great idea to come along. Luke reached out to Jeff about his new idea. After doing some research, Jeff quickly realized how great the concept was. It was one of those ideas that made him think...why didn’t I think of this before? If people loved it in Austin they would love it in other cities. After digging in deeper they realized that there were 20+ dog bars in the US at the time, but there were zero dog bars in the entire Mid-Atlantic region. With Jeff living in the DC area, Luke and Jeff started exploring the idea of opening a dog bar in DC.

Shortly thereafter, Luke and Jeff made the commitment to each other that they were going to bring their dream to reality. They began developing a business plan, visited more dog bars, and started looking for potential sites for their first location. Luckily for them, one of Luke’s MBA colleagues (Paul Bartlett) was a commercial real estate broker with 30+ years of experience. Paul jumped in and provided the expertise they desperately needed. Shortly thereafter they met Arie Abecassis, a well known angel investor/entrepreneur in NYC. He quickly became a critical member of the team.

The rest is history...

Mission Statement

Bark Social celebrates the playful bond between people and dogs by combining a curated social experience with design-forward products.

Dream big and make it happen!