Cowbell has figured out my system:
When I grab her leash and my house keys,
it means we’re going on a walk, so she gets excited.
When I grab her leash, my house keys, and my car keys,
it means we’re going on an adventure, so she utterly freaks out.
She loves adventures.
One of our most frequent adventure destinations is Aardwolf Brewing Company, which is not only one of the best breweries in our area; it’s also one of several dog-friendly breweries around town. In addition to their outstanding stouts and sours, Aardwolf’s hospitality toward dogs of all sizes is a major selling point. The bartenders frequently hand out dog treats, and there are easily accessed water bowls around the space. In addition to the usual bar merchandise (koozies, t-shirts, etc.), Aardwolf sells leashes and collars so your dog can represent your favorite hangout. It’s a great setup and a very loving atmosphere.
Whenever I bring the Cow to Aardwolf, I can usually count on there being half a dozen other dogs there for her to meet, but more than that, I’ve found her to be an automatic conversation starter with human patrons as well. People without dogs of their own will often stop and give her a good scratch behind the ears, and when they do, it gives me a chance to get to know them. This is how some of my best Bar Chaplain conversations begin; people are looking for a way to connect with each other, and dogs, by their curious and hospitable nature, create instant connection. Even the rare rowdy dog is no trouble since the bar is large enough for us to keep our distance if needed. Cowbell is pretty mellow after all, and she’s not looking to start any trouble. She loves it at Aardwolf, and whenever she realizes we’re going there, her smile gets even bigger than usual.
Of course, Aardwolf isn’t the only dog-friendly bar in town. If a bar has outdoor seating or if there’s no food preparation taking place in the facility, the management can choose to open their doors to dogs. Bold City, River City, Beer:30, Veterans United, Poe’s, Green Room, and Hyperion have all made the move to be dog-friendly, and the canine presence helps those spaces feel a little more relaxed. Of course, not every bar in town welcomes dogs, so make sure to do your research before throwing your pooch in the backseat and driving to the nearest brewery.
Even if you don’t have a dog of your own, there’s something about a dog-friendly bar that exudes hospitality, and hospitality is every good bartender’s ultimate goal. So if you’re ever out having a beer with friends, and you look over and see a dog at the next table, that bar is probably doing something right.
With all the political and denominational shakeups happening lately, this piece was a fun break. Dogs just have a way of taking the tension out of any situation (even blogging). And speaking of dogs and bars, watch for Cowbell at Bold City Beer & Hymns next week, and of course Jessi and I will be there too!