Expect Food, Fun and Fur at Boo's Ice House and Dog Bar
Imagine a place where you can commune with pups, their humans and other like-minded dog lovers, all while enjoying a beer and a meal. That dream is about to become a reality at the new Boo’s Ice House and Dog Bar.
Months ago, a huge dog-themed mural by Indiana artist Jeff Pilkinton tipped off locals that something was brewing in the Rosemary District on the corner of 10th Street and Florida Avenue. Boo’s is located in an old icehouse where residents would receive ice for their iceboxes before modern refrigeration.
“Icehouses were placed in the middle of neighborhoods to make it easier to deliver ice,” says Boo’s co-owner Mindy Kauffman. “As time passed and icehouses weren’t needed, they were often turned into open-air beer joints—like a community center. I loved that idea. That’s what we’re envisioning for Boo’s: a community center and an asset for dogs and dog lovers.”
Kauffman and her husband, Bobby Boivin, were inspired to make their open-air bar a canine watering hole after a visit to The Dog Bar in St. Petersburg. That establishment functions as an off-leash dog park with a full-service bar.
“We had so much fun there,” says Kauffman. “If I go into a bar with my friends, I’m going to just talk to my friends. But the dogs do the magic and make it easy for people to be social. It almost started as a joke, like, ‘We should have one of these in Sarasota,’ but now it’s going to be a reality.”
Kauffman and Boivin are taking the concept to a new level by offering a full food menu. They have partnered with David Grammer, of the former Goodfellas Café, to develop a human-friendly menu with options like burgers, sandwiches and Grammer’s renowned pizzas. According to Kauffman, Grammer also makes a mean poutine that will be a highlight of the menu.
Food will be available inside and outside, with a doggie dining option outside, but service animals are the only furry friends invited into the indoor dining area. However, the nearly 10,000-square-foot building will also house an indoor off-leash area for pups that will be separate from the dining room. That means that even on a hot summer day, there will be plenty of space for dogs to play. As for drinks, Boo’s will have a full liquor license, with craft cocktails dreamed up by Rafael Sanders Del Melo, the former bar manager at Made.
A membership is required to bring your dog to Boo’s, but it’s your dog that’s the member, not you. Day passes, 30-day memberships and annual memberships will be available for purchase, but the final details of the pricing structure are still being ironed out. “Members” will need to be spayed or neutered, fully vaccinated and amenable to safe play with other dogs before being permitted to join. If you’re hound-free but want to join in the fun, it’s free to enter. But, for safety purposes, the bar and off-leash areas at Boo’s will be 21 and up.
Sounds great. But one nagging question remains: Who is Boo?
“Boo is a rescue pit bull,” says Kauffman. “He came to us when he had been re-rescued at six months old. He’s a bull in a china shop, big and goofy and does not know his size and strength. He makes you smile.”
Given her love for dogs, it’s easy to see how Kauffman will curate full-service fun at Boo’s. “Every time we go to a dog bar, we have a smile pasted on our faces,” she says. “To be in a place where dogs are running around and happy, it just brings joy to our lives.”
Boo's Ice House and Dog Bar, 1314 10th St., Sarasota, boosdogbar.com