The Canine Capital of Kansas City: Bar K Dog Bar
Mine eyes hath never beheld a more cheerful location for humanity’s best friend than Bar K! Freshly located at 501 Berkley Parkway, near Berkley Riverfront Park and down the street from the River Market, Bar K celebrated their grand opening on August 14th. It offers a variety of activities and amenities for both human and dog alike. Gazing over its acreage you see glorious beasts of all shapes, sizes, and breeds exuberantly experiencing life together.
The main building is made up entirely of repurposed shipping containers adorned in welcoming oranges and blues. As you enter you see a veritable cornucopia of options for your pooch to explore. There’s a Doggie Jungle Gym, a rock-climbing wall designed by RoKC, and a wading pool, which was nearly overrun by hounds every time we walked by. Sadly, the one thing Bar K does not provide are towels. So be prepared for potential soggy, yet satisfied pups. They also have endless balls for fetching, expansive grounds, and sections for small dogs and puppies, three to nine months old, who are overwhelmed by the main area. All are watched over by Bar K Dogtenders, there to help monitor, address any potential issues between dogs, and assist with cleaning up the grounds. Don’t be lazy though: Clean up after your own! The Dogtenders are merely a final line of defense.
Additionally, there are several shaded sections, picnic tables, and balconies also available to the dogs. Of particular note were the patios and balconies, which offered both shade, fans, and couches for your fur baby to relax on when getting over-heated. There is water and drinking stations throughout as well to ensure they remain hydrated. Cleaning stations are also available within and as you exit the park for any muddier days.
For the humans, Bar K has a small beach to sit at looking over the Doggie Jungle Gym; Adirondack chairs are positioned throughout, along with several additional open shipping containers, sponsored by Messenger Coffee and J. Rieger and Co., that offer seating and shade. There is also giant Connect Four, and Doggie Guess Who for those wanting to play games while imbibing in tasty beverages. The basic picnic tables are off leash, but the dining area and balconies require you leash your pet. There are bars you can walk up to that have several canned beers and cocktails available, and in the leashed areas you have access to the wait staff to order from the main bar and restaurant, where you can also enjoy live music.
The indoor portion of the park is for humans only. It includes a full bar and restaurant, with around twenty different beers on tap and cocktails designed by Ryan Maybee, owner of Manifesto and co-founder of J. Rieger and Co. They describe their menu as healthy casual. Additionally, they have conference and meeting spaces, as well as private event spaces available to rent.
We had the opportunity to speak with Dave Hensley, one of the two co-owners of Bar K. He was charming to talk to and was familiar with his regulars- the dogs frequenting the bar, as evidenced by the fact that they continuously bounded up to him throughout our conversation. He spoke about how their goal was just to make a haven, or “joyous experience,” for people and their dogs. He stated, “It seems like such a natural thing to want to go out and grab a drink with friends, but there isn’t any reason to exclude your canine companion from that opportunity.” David also spoke about some unique collaborations they were excited to include in the future with their Petfinder Park, to socialize adoptable dogs and help them find a home.
Membership to the park is $225 per year for your first dog and an additional $25 for any other dog in your pack. Single day entry is $10 for you first dog and $5 a piece for any other canine in your household. You can find all information on their website at https://www.barkdogbar.com. Non-dog owners are also welcome to attend, with no initial cost to enter and be part of this outgoing and engaging community. It was an extremely friendly and welcoming place. Everyone we spoke to was eager to share their positive experiences and stories about their dog. “Dogs,” as David Hensley told us, “are the perfect icebreaker.” I can personally attest that my dog, Bodhi, had a total blast and crashed the moment he got in the car to leave. A must for any dog and its owner to check out. It is truly a sight to be seen!