Ever find yourself having to decide between spending a night on the town with your human friends or taking your furry one for an evening stroll at the park?
Starting this summer, you can do both, thanks to Boo's Ice House and Dog Bar. Opening in the historic Ice House building on 10th Street in the Rosemary District, Boo’s Ice House and Dog Bar hopes to provide dog-owners, dog-lovers and everyone in between with the ultimate social spot.
“This has probably been five years in the making for us,” says Mindy Kaufman, co-founder of Boo’s and the proud owner of two Pit Bull mixes—one of which is named Boo.
The idea to open a dog-centric hangout in Sarasota was inspired by Kaufman’s own experience going to one in St. Pete.
“We just had such a fabulous time,” she recalls. “We would go there periodically even without our dogs because it's so much fun. At some point, we started joking that we should bring one to Sarasota. Then that became reality.”
So what can our four-legged friends look forward to when Boo’s opens its doors this summer? Well, first of all, there will be 5,000 square feet of interior and exterior dog space, divided into gated indoor and outdoor puppy play areas where dogs can choose to lounge in the shade or chill in the air conditioning. There will also be a “puppy chow” menu, comprised of a collection of scratch-made, dog-friendly meals and treats, which will include ice cream, because “it's Florida—you have to have ice cream,” Kaufman says. Boo’s also hopes to add a small retail area offering fresh doggie baked goods like cakes for birthday parties.
And don’t worry, Boo’s hasn’t forgotten about the dogs' owners. Boo’s will offer human guests a selection of wine, beer and spirits, along with comfort foods and shareables—think pizza, burgers and poutine—with some vegan and gluten-free options.
Kaufman emphasizes that safety for both humans and dogs is paramount to making sure everyone has a good time. To do this, the bar will require that all visitors who want to bring their dogs complete a membership application and screening. This will ensure that all dogs have been properly vaccinated and are appropriate for group play. Each puppy play area will also be monitored by “wooferees” or “doggy bouncers”—the formal name has not been decided yet—to assure that pups are playing nicely.
With Boo’s, Kaufman also hopes to continue to uphold the social tradition of the ice house, a concept that began as a place to store ice and facilitate deliveries, then morphed into a saloon and convenience store.
“People would go there to socialize and gossip,” says Kaufman. “So we're going to take that concept and apply it to Boo’s. It'll be a community destination where people can come with their dogs, and socialize and grab a drink and gossip. And we're really looking forward to being part of the Rosemary District and the dog community.”