Episode 38 - Interview with Fred Metzler, Owner of Dog Bar

The Furriest, Funnest Place Around

SHOW NOTES

Episode 38 - Interview with Fred Metzler, music by Whitney Drive

by Kyle Sasser | Great Things Tampa Bay

Show Notes

Hear is straight from the dog’s mouth!  In this episode of Great Things Tampa Bay, I interview Fred Metzler, the owner of Dog Bar who I spoke about in depth and featured in Episode 21.

Also featuring music by Whitney Drive

Transcript at the bottom of this page!

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DogBar

http://www.dogbarstpete.com

2300 Central Ave St. Petersburg FL 33712

  • All pooches must check in first.
  • Multiple adults can accompany a Dog Member.
  • No dog required.
  • Great place to see a bunch of breeds.
  • Sorry, no children.

DogBar

OUTRO

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Great Things Tampa Bay is hosted and produced by Kyle Sasser.

There was no paid advertising in this episode.  All recommendations are given based on personal experiences.

TRANSCRIPT

Male: Dog Bar is an awesome experience to just hang out and chill with the dogs and watch the dogs be dogs.

Kyle: Hey, everybody. This is Kyle Sasser. This is Great Things Tampa Bay and today we have an interview with Fred Meltzer, owner of Dog Bar in St. Petersburg. Many of y’all have been to Dog Bar, I know. I know that I definitely love promoting and talking about the place and going to the place. Just to give you the rundown, it’s basically a bar that dogs go to. No. So really, it’s basically a place that serves adult beverages with an attached private dog park. And the dogs are able to run around free and, you know, yap and play and jump on things, jump off things.

And I did a full review on episode 21. So, you know, if you’d like the full scoop, it’ll be in the show notes, a link to episode 21. But today is the interview with Fred, the owner. And I did this interview a long time ago, to be honest. And my apologies for taking this long to get it out but better late than never, right? So without further ado, here we go.

Hey, everybody. This is Kyle Sasser and I am here with Fred Metzler. Fred is the owner of Dog Bar here in St. Petersburg and we appreciate you coming on down. Could you give us a little rundown on Dog Bar, what it is, well?

Fred: Essentially, we are a membership club for dogs. We’re a bar with a private dog park, I guess. Between those two, it kind of sums it up, you know, 4000 plus square feet of off-leash area for the dogs to run around. But kind of the key of the concept is the fact that we are a membership club and that we vet all the dogs that come in.

Kyle: So you’re not just letting any riffraff?

Fred: Besides good cold beer and a lot of cocktails, that’s one of the things that differentiates us from a regular dog park.

Kyle: Those of Y’all with pooches, this is definitely a great place to go. We’re sitting here out front right now having some beers and cocktails. There’s some people over in the actual dog park area. Their dogs are running around and everyone’s enjoying some adult beverages. It’s definitely a good time.

Fred: Jumping ahead a little, if you were one of the coolest residuals of this whole concept is the fact that we don’t allow the aggressive idiot dog. Pretty much eliminates the aggressive idiot people. Yeah.

Kyle: Yeah. It’s a win in both categories.

Fred: You know, let’s say, the other end of the leash it’s crazy how that works. But typically the other end of the leash is the problem. So if there’s a problem dog, generally that’s the case.

Kyle: That’s true.

Fred: Kind of makes it fun.

Kyle: So one of the main things here you serve alcohol and it’s a fun atmosphere. There’s also games for adults and things like that, like some entertainments to do. When you vet the dogs, what’s your criteria?

Fred: Great question. We have three hard fast rules, basically. All dogs that come in the door have to be up to date on their shots. The ones that we require are rabies and parvo. Although, we prefer if dogs have had Bordetella. Number two, all dogs that come in after a year old have to be spayed or neutered. We’re fine with puppies growing up to be puppies, but once they reach a year old they have to be fixed. People are, “What do you mean? He’s a nice dog.” The problem is the other dogs will react to that dog.

Kyle: Yeah. The hormones. Personally, my wife and I we just went through this. Our dog is only 9 or 10 months old and it just went through heat.

Fred: Yeah. So you get it. It changes how the whole world, particularly, the dog world reacts.

Kyle: Yes. She went from a very sweet docile pup to she wanted to get out there and just, you know, pee every five feet and…

Fred: And look for any male dog.

Kyle: Yeah. Put the calling card on.

Fred: Yeah. That’s, yes. Years ago, my female Great Dane, we were planning to have her fixed before, same kind of thing. She went into heat before we got her fixed. Anything that was male didn’t matter, dog, cat, person.

Kyle: Our poor cat.

Fred: Oh, yeah. And then to finish off, the third criteria is non-aggressive. Pretty easy to tell usually if a dog is excited or different energy of an excitement than there is in aggression.

Kyle: I can say personally that we’ve brought our dogs here on numerous occasions. My wife has put on events here. This place has been packed full of dogs and we’ve never really seen one problem at all. Of course, they get excited.

Fred: They do get excited. We have the occasional, I guess what we call discussion which sounds awful loud more often than not. We’re up to over 2,400 members which we’re really proud of, 2,472 I think up to this morning.

Kyle: And Y’all have been open for how long?

Fred: About quite a year and a half.

Kyle: Yeah. That’s crazy. It’s definitely not like a Jack London novel. There’s no call of the wild going on here.

Fred: No. And that’s where I was just going with that. We have not had a single incident on either dog or person that has required a stitch of any kind.

Kyle: What’s the biggest challenge at Dog Bar with keeping the pooches happy and the people happy?

Fred: And the patrons happy. I guess trying to explain to people that there are different levels of play for dogs. One of the lines that we use. Some dogs play badminton, some dogs play rugby. The doggy parents whose dogs play rugby get it because they know their dog, even though high-energy and run around and mouthing, they’re playing. The dog parents that dogs play badminton often think that’s aggressive behavior and they get nervous and scared.

So I, more than occasionally, kind of have to talk them off the ledge and explain to them. And it’s like I am no animal behaviorist but have done enough research to understand the definition of play is balance back and forth with the occasional pause. So even if they’re just going at it and looks like they’re trying to kill each other, as long as they’re going back and forth, there’s no squealing noises, they’re playing. You know, and they do their occasional stop, take a break, drink some water, go right back at it.

Kyle: Yeah. It’s relatively rare to find a Cujo.

Fred: Yeah. This is true. It really is. And I think in general, the people who have that dog that they know is aggressive and wants to injure other dogs, they know better. They don’t even try to come here. I’ve literally only had to ask a few people not to come in.

Kyle: Which is good. Well, like out of 2,400. That’s pretty good.

Fred: Been less than a handful of times that, you know, but… Okay. The guy who comes in with that dog and we won’t call out a breed because we love all breeds. We just don’t like the dogs that are aggressive or idiots, but he’s got that dog that’s an idiot. It’s usually an intact male. It’s usually three or four years old and one of the breeds that people consider an aggressive breed which they’re wrong. But Pitbull, Rottweiler, Doberman, German Shepherd, which are all amazing dogs as long as they’re raised amazingly.

But he brings in that dog, the dog’s intact, and the dogs an idiot. And we talk about it around here. The only reason he’s got that dog is because he can’t afford the red Corvette that he’s gonna end up with down the road sometimes. You know, and we all know why he has to buy that red Corvette. We’re sorry for your physical…your shortcomings.

Kyle: Do you see the people react that way to like pinchers as well?

Fred: Dobermans, yeah, on occasion. But it’s usually a Rotty or Pitty, okay, and we love both of them. We do.

Kyle: Shout out to Abel out there with Bart. I know Bart’s gone, but he was the sweetest Doberman I’d ever seen.

Fred: We have some amazing Dobermans. We have some Belgian Malinois who are absolutely known. They’re military canine police dogs. That’s what they’re used for.

Kyle: So you don’t really have like Life Guards per se for the dog park area, but you do kind of keep an eye out there just to make sure everything’s going on.

Fred: Well, generally it was me. For the first year we were open I was the sheriff.

Kyle: And that sounds horrible. You gotta be out there and play with all the dogs.

Fred: Well, that’s what I said. This is what I get to do for a living. I would [inaudible 00:07:28] standing holding a water bottle, but pretty much, you know, loving on and making out with dogs. We’ve gotten to the point where I’ve actually recently hired what we call a wooferee. Nicky is her name. She’s amazing with dogs, a vet tech for 20 years. She’s dealt in the whole kennel boarding daycare world so…

Kyle: She does the whole set?

Fred: She’s way better than I am. So I’ve learned many things from her, but it’s kind of fun because she comes dressed in her referee outfit and she is literally our referee.

Kyle: The puns go deep here [inaudible 00:07:56]

Fred: It’s either wooferee or bark ranger. And I thought the outfit seemed to work better with the wooferee.

Kyle: I don’t know. You get the old smokey hat…

Fred: I think she would have probably not liked the old smokey hat, to be totally honest.

Kyle: What’s the biggest dog you’ve ever had in here?

Fred: We have had a Neapolitan Mastiff that was just north of 230 pounds. We have a number of Danes that are in the one-seven. My personal Dane that just passed a few months ago was a little north of 180.

Kyle: In the dog park here, most of the dogs all play together.

Fred: I don’t believe that dogs see size. I don’t think they even understand size. They see energy.

Kyle: Yes. And I can attest to that. Well, she was three pounds, well, two pounds when we got her. But our now nine pound Pomeranian just does not give two shits how big the dog is. She will go up there and jump on its face and…because that’s their energy. She’s high-energy and, you know…

Fred: And she looks for energy dogs. One of my fun stories, we’d been open a few months. Two dogs came in to join on the same day. As it turned out as their parents were talking, they were born on the same day. Both dogs were seven months old that particular day. Went out in the dog park, the two of them just fell in love immediately. The thing that made it interesting was one dog was a Great Dane. The other dog was a Chiweenie that weighed about four-and-a-half pounds.

Kyle: Interesting.

Fred: The Dane was probably on just north of 90 pounds, already a big boy at that. To watch the Dane chase that Chiweenie was kind of fun. To watch the Chiweenie chase the Dane was absolutely a riot.

Kyle: Because they did. They had that back-and-forth play like I said…

Fred: Exactly. Back to the back and forth. By the end of the day, both of them were laying on their side just trying to bite each other’s faces because they were too tired to stand up anymore. They weren’t done playing. They wanted to keep playing. So it was fun.

Kyle: That’s adorable. So what’s the five-year goal at the Dog Bar?

Fred: You know what? It took a couple years to get this thing off the ground. I don’t think I’ve even looked at a five-year goal yet.

Kyle: Let’s talk about a little bit of the challenges here.

Fred: More than a few. Yes. Absolutely.

Kyle: So obviously insurance is an issue.

Fred: Challenges were many.

Kyle: Was there any like permitting issues or anything like that?

Fred: More permitting issues than we have time to cover. Things like we had to qualify as a restaurant because some of the doggy dining permits in the state of Florida require that you sell food, even though we had no desire to sell food. It’s still technically a food product. There’s an old law on the books that I understand from somewhere in the 60s that ice and beer are foods. But yet if you serve ice and beer they don’t count as food. But for health purposes, they count as food.

Kyle: Which is hilarious. So what’s the most popular beer here at Dog Bar?

Fred: My Great Bay reps will scream at me if I don’t tell them it’s Bud Light because Bud Light’s the number one beer. But we are a craft beer place. Honestly, a lot of the IPAs and surprisingly, probably our number one is an IPA out of Washington State called Elysian Space Dust.

Kyle: Interesting.

Fred: Yeah. It’s kind of a crazy name and a cool thing. But honestly, my general manager’s boyfriend liked it. So we brought it in as a rotating tap and everybody’s falling in love with it.

Kyle: And it’s boom. It’s been booming.

Fred: It has boomed. Yes. We’re certainly a unique bar. There’s not another one like us. They’re good for us.

Kyle: They bring people.

Fred: They bring people. It’s a good little push of business for 20 minutes and the exposure’s been wonderful. I can’t tell you how many people have come in and go, “This is cool. I’ll be back tomorrow with my dog.”

Kyle: That’s what we did. So shout out the Pedal Pub on the Dog Bar podcast.

Fred: Thank you, Jay. I appreciate that. Perfect.

Kyle: So are there actual like, not necessarily alcoholic, but…

Fred: No. We do what we call doggy daiquiris in really hot summer months and they’re just a mixture of yogurt and peanut butter that we freeze.

Kyle: That sounds dog delicious.

Fred: Yeah. It is dog delicious. In fact, we do have to monitor that a little bit. We gotta make them pretty small because if one hits the ground, I mean…

Kyle: It’s pandemonium.

Fred: Everybody wants it. Yeah. Absolutely. And we’ve tried pupsicles, which are basically snow cones but made with beef or chicken bouillon instead of strawberry or grape syrup. And the dogs do love them.

Kyle: They’re easy to please.

Fred: Yeah. Let’s face it. Dogs are not that difficult. It’s, the only thing that they want is whatever you have in your hand. Whether that’s a beer or a treat.

Kyle: I mean, obviously the entire concept is awesome. And Y’all are open late too?

Fred: Until midnight during the week and 1:00 on the weekends.

Kyle: Is there any particular like touch or section of Dog Bar that you’re particularly proud of?

Fred: Obviously, our crown jewel is the off-leash area. There are a thousand bars and restaurants anywhere you can go to with your dog on a leash, which is about half of our establishment is on leash.

Kyle: Just as an example, could you run through what sort of dog activities can we get upto [inaudible 00:12:26]?

Fred: Okay, well out in the off-leash area, first of all, it’s all astroturfed. So that makes it much easier on their paws. It lets them, you know, relieve themselves whenever they want to. We use vet grade chemicals to disinfect every night, but out there in the off-leash area, we’ve got a couple three now swimming pools. There’s some doggy sort of exercise equipment if you will that they…ramps and tunnels that they go up and over with. Generally though, most of it is interaction, dog on dog and dog to people.

Kyle: One dog goes up the ramp and three other chasing up there and…

Fred: Oh, yeah. Absolutely.

Kyle: …round and round and round. So if your dog is very high-energy, this is a great place to bring it.

Fred: A tired dog is a happy dog. Probably at the end of the day, that’s the biggest service we provide is your dog goes home tired and happy. And you as well because you’ve met some nice people and you’ve had some good cocktails, hopefully. And then everybody gets to sleep in the next day.

Kyle: So is there any charge to come here to Dog Bar?

Fred: Because we are a membership club, we do have a membership fee. That’s correct and I’m glad you brought that up. Our annual fee is $40 for 12 months, but we also understand a lot of people are either transient travelers or live far. So we don’t try and soak anybody for $40 out of the box. We have a one-week pass that’s five bucks. We actually always recommend people start with the one week pass, $5. If you don’t have that to spend on your dog then you’re not one of us. You don’t belong here.

Kyle: And you probably shouldn’t be buying a beer anyway.

Fred: Yeah. You probably shouldn’t. You’re exactly right. But one of the little things we do offer is if you buy the week pass and you do fall in love during that week that the pass is active you actually get the $5 off the membership. So it’s sort of a risk-free five is how we look at it. I’d say a good third of our people upgrade to an annual on their way out the door before they even leave. Not everybody’s dog people. I do get people who come pretty often and say, “Hey, am I allowed to come in? I don’t have a dog.” Fine. As long as you love dogs, but if you don’t…

Kyle: Because the first few months we came here we actually didn’t have a dog. We would just show up and just kind of hang out, watch the dogs run around.

Fred: We have couples coming on date night. You can’t do that at Chuck E. Cheese, but you can do that at the Dog Bar.

Kyle: Changing gears a little bit here. You personally, is there anyone professionally that you take inspiration from?

Fred: I think I try and take bits and pieces from any successful people, from a Caesar Milan type thing on the dog side. And I believe in a lot of his ideas and concepts. People like Richard Branson who do it differently because I do believe we do it differently. The one line I’ve always tried to steal from customers aren’t the most important people. If your employees are taken care of, the customers will do just fine.

Kyle: That is true.

Fred: Here we don’t really worry about the people. If we take care of the dogs and we serve a decent drink and try and do it in a timely fashion…

Kyle: The people will come back.

Fred: …the people will come back and they’ll have had a good time.

Kyle: There’s a book I read it’s called “Exceeding Customer Expectations.” It was by the guy that found the Enterprise Rent-a-car.

Fred: Rental car and I haven’t read the book.

Kyle: Somewhere things. Go above and beyond. Don’t settle, you know, the main thing is to take care of your people and reward them.

Fred: Reward them in kind for what they do for you. We get pretty busy fairly often. Of course, I’m sure a lot of people assume that I’m driving around in my brand new Mercedes-Benz and live over by the water and looking at which plane I might buy down there. It’s not about the money, I mean, it’s nice to be able to pay the bills and everything. I drive an ’01 Suburban with almost 200,000 miles on it and I’m fine with that, you know. At the end of the day, I get to come here and pet puppies every single day.

Kyle: Yeah. What one problem do you wish you could solve right now?

Fred: You know what? Probably one of our biggest troubles is because we don’t open till 4:00 during the week, is dealing with the liquor suppliers and getting them to wait till that late in the day because most places are open before. I think we’ve really honed in our processes on everything from dog check in to how the membership thing works and what our requirements and rules are.

Kyle: And that’s like with 2,400 dogs on file in a year and a half, that’s crazy.

Fred: And those are the annual members. I mean, we probably have three or four times that many people who come in and just on the week pass come and go.

Kyle: Yeah. That one’s thumb everywhere.

Fred: That one’s… Yeah. I get that. I don’t, you know, I had an issue up until recently with the whole introductory and check-in process because it does take a few minutes. And now, that we’ve gotten busy it was taking away from my bartenders. Who at the end of the day, let’s face it, they’re bartender’s. I need them to be pouring drinks. They had to spend their five, six, eight minutes introducing people to it.

Kyle: Giving the spiel and all that.

Fred: But now I’ve brought in a membership individual for the busy times who happens to be my girlfriend, so that’s not a bad thing. So, you know, I’m pretty sure she has our best interests at heart.

Kyle: That’s good.

Fred: But that frees up the [inaudible 00:17:02] along with the wooferee we were discussing before. Now, my bartenders get to still pet puppies but be bartenders.

Kyle: And the dogs definitely don’t bring any cash with them, so we need to make sure that people are served.

Fred: Yeah. Maybe that’s the problem. I need to figure out how to give dogs opposing thumbs so they can open the tab…

Kyle: And a credit card.

Fred: …and spend the money. And a credit card, because at the end of the day, the dogs are the members, not the people. Which did take some people aback in the beginning. Like, “Why would the dog be the member and not the person?”

Kyle: Any particular success here that you’re especially proud of?

Fred: There’ve been so many, at the risk of sounding all, “Oh, my God.” But one little story. In the beginning, once we started going and people started to really enjoy it, I’d have a number of people come tell me that this is their happy place, you know. And whenever they’re in a bad mood or they need to get a smile, they would come here and it was always successful for them, which that felt great. That morphed into people coming up to me and literally touching me on the arm and saying, “I really hope this is what heaven looks like.” I still get chills when I say that because, you know, that’s…my wife and I just bought a house right over there down the street so we can come here three, four, five days a week.

Kyle: So I’m gonna start using this in my real estate, my buyers’ pitches like, “Hey, this house is right up the road from Dog Bar.”

Fred: The minute you find they have a dog, because of this podcast I want a stack of your cards. So when people say do you know of any houses around here, Kyle, I’m sending them your way. That’s, I mean…

Kyle: So there’s been a lot of businesses that have closed recently just due to leases increasing. Like, you know, The Artist Store. Do you have any feeling on like what the next five years is going to be like?

Fred: I’ll tell you what, this Grand Central is just blowing up. As we mentioned, it took quite a while. We’ve been here a year and a half open. It was over a year and a half before that going through the permitting build-out, you know, renovation process.

Kyle: So we’re actually on year three here.

Fred: Yeah. I’m well into year three in the Grand Central. To see the growth in the area and the rejuvenation if you will. There have been a couple closings, you’re right. The majority of them directly across the street were the landlord issue. And we won’t even go into that.

Kyle: I’m sure people can imagine.

Fred: And I believe that came down to the fact that the particular landlord felt like his property value had increased so much that he ran out his tenants so he could re-lease out the properties for a higher rate.

Kyle: Yeah. Like I’m not as familiar with commercial as residential but I noticed residential’s up 20% just in the last year.

Fred: The Kenwood neighborhood behind us has just gone through the roof. And now the other side of First Avenue South, you know, it’s always sketchy. I guess is a…

Kyle: It’s more warehouse-y and arts district down there.

Fred: Absolutely, but I’m fully aware of a number of people that feel like that’s the next up-and-coming neighborhood.

Kyle: And there’s some cool stuff. They redid the train depot down there and it’s now the pottery and…

Fred: Which is very cool. Exactly. This place was a repurposed auto repair store and we certainly did quite a bit in the build-out. But it’s been really, really fun and healthy to watch the business owners and it, you know, there’s no chains up and down in this little 10 block area. It’s mostly mom and pops and…

Kyle: Taco Bus closed down.

Fred: Yeah. Okay. Well.

Kyle: I have my opinion on Taco Bus.

Fred: Well, I’m gonna throw my opinion out there because I’m sure the business people over there would tell you they closed down from lack of performance. I don’t think it was due to lack of opportunity and we’ll just kind of go there, you know, it’s…

Kyle: I’ll take a swing at it. Personally, I don’t recommend people go to Taco Bus at all. So, and that is the undercurrent among most people in St. Petersburg in Tampa.

Fred: And I think the thing that breaks so many people’s heart is a few years ago it was 180 degrees the other way. It was the coolest little, you know…

Kyle: Yeah. And it was one of the first…

Fred: It was the food truck that was in place and you knew you were gonna get good food, you’re gonna get it fast, get all the…it was consistent.

Kyle: Yeah. Like my wife and I whenever we have kind of that hankering, we’ll go to Taco Sun, which is like the original…

Fred: [crosstalk 00:20:57] say things about that place. Yeah.

Kyle: So have you heard anything about what’s might be going on…

Fred: A number of rumblings, of course. A bunch of people are asking me if I’m gonna buy it so we can expand our dog park.

Kyle: Is that gonna be a Cat Bar?

Fred: Good luck with that, absolutely. You know, everybody thinks they’re a comedian, “Hey, I know it’s a Dog Bar, can I bring my cat?” And anymore I just tell him, “Only if you don’t like it.”

Kyle: I’m sorry. I feel like I let you down with that.

Fred: Yeah. You brought the puns earlier. I brought the puns earlier. We haven’t mixed a metaphor yet. So that’s fine.

Kyle: All right. Is there any plans for like Dog Bar 2?

Fred: You know, at this moment I’m not personally looking. I’m sure there are people looking to copy it. The originator of the concept I believe may be looking at expanding. I hope she does it quickly and efficiently because I’m afraid the bad copycats are gonna come.

Kyle: Yeah. So it’s a special place, to be honest, like you said. It’s…and I mean, some of that is the concept. But most of that is the people that are here and the people that run it. A great concept with bad people is gonna turn out bad.

Fred: And thank you very much. When people say, “The place is so amazing,” I generally respond with, “A lot of people work really hard to make that happen.”

Kyle: And Lydia is also…

Fred: Lydia’s our GM. Jersey, for those of you from the Northeast. That’s her nickname.

Kyle: My wife, she scheduled some events with her for her business.

Fred: Which brings up a great point, you know, we’re really proud of a lot of the events that we put on with organizations like Friends of Strays and…

Kyle: Yes. Stephen at, um….what was that? SOAR, I think?

Fred: SOAR. Yeah. South East Animal Rescue.

Kyle: He’s another person I’m gonna be interviewing soon. He’s working on a couple things to put together and…

Fred: We’re doing an event here with him in three weeks. Actually, three weeks from tomorrow.

Kyle: He’s a cool guy.

Fred: A couple of the rescues we work with Rough Beginnings and Passion for Pits. I mean, these are people who lay it out on the line, put their life on the line every day and help save dogs and other animals.

Kyle: It’s admirable.

Fred: It is admirable. You know what? If we’re here doing well and we’re not giving back to that part of the community, then shame on us.

Kyle: All right. So, everybody, this is Fred Metzler at Dog Bar. That wasn’t too bad, right?

Fred: No, Kyle, this was really pretty painless. I’m not gonna lie.

Kyle: Some great information for everybody. So if you’re interested in bringing your dog or sans dog…

Fred: A lot of people come to check us out without their dog.

Kyle: And it’s a great place to see a wide variety of dogs to be like, “Hey, like what kind of breed is that? Maybe that’s one I would want.”

Fred: One of the things we love to say. We feel like we’re a great opportunity. If you already have a dog or…and are looking to add another or looking to get a dog, we often have adoptables here, foster dogs that are looking for a home. And if you already have one, you can see how your dog and that dog interact in a neutral space. If you’re looking for a particular type of dog, come talk to me or my staff. We can probably, you know, we know enough rescue people. We can help you find one.

Kyle: They’re very friendly here. So give us a rundown. This Dog Bar, what’s the address?

Fred: 2300 Central Avenue.

Kyle: They’re a big lime green building.

Fred: Lime green.

Kyle: Lime and blue. And parking, where would you recommend people to park?

Fred: Street parking all over, no meters. It’s pretty simple to do. Actually, at the moment with Taco Bus closed down.

Kyle: Oh, nice. You didn’t hear it from us.

Fred: You didn’t hear it from us [inaudible 00:24:02] about that, but there’s no ownership over there to monitor it. So that’s fine. All right. Absolutely.

Kyle: All right. Perfect. Well, thank you so much, Fred.

Fred: Kyle, thank you. It was a pleasure having you here.

Kyle: Hey, everybody. Kyle Sasser here and we’re doing a…sort of a live event here at Dog Bar. And I’m going around and interviewing people, seeing what they think of Dog Bar. I’m here with Stephen Bennett. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Stephen: I am here today at the Dog Bar. Thank You, Kyle, to actually, Passion for Pitbulls is actually doing a fundraiser, a food drive to bring down food for puppies. So I wanted to stop down today and bring a few bags of food and a couple cases of canned food to help them out for these 12 puppies they just took in, pit bull puppies.

Kyle: And so tell us in a few words what you think of Dog Bar.

Stephen: I’m here often. So I must like it. Actually, I had a nonprofit organization myself and we’ve done several events here. And Lydia, the manager, and Fred, the co-owner, have been awesome to us. We’ve been here many times and hope to be here many more times. And they just can’t do enough for the animals. And they truly love the animals and it shows. So what more can you ask for?

Kyle: And you actually have your own charity that I’ll be interviewing you soon on. Tell us about that in a couple sentences.

Stephen: Okay. Quickly, it’s SOAR, S-O-A-R, Sun Coast Organized Animal Relief. We don’t take in the live animals. We actually raise food and supplies and money for rescue organizations as well as doing beach cleanups for our sea life. And we’re putting programs into schools to educate children about animal abuse. We’ll be opening our first Pet Food Bank in St. Petersburg in the next few months. So we hope you’ll follow us on Sun Coast, two words on Facebook. Sun Coast Organized Animal Relief. Our cool logo will show up and follow us and that helps the animals as well.

Kyle: All right. Sweet. Let’s go see what some other people have to say. All right. Just a name and what you think of Dog Bar.

Kevin: Oh, the name’s Kevin. This place is a great place, honestly. I mean, a lot of friendly people, the dogs have a good time, a good selection of beer. A good way to spend a few hours on a Saturday, I mean.

Kyle: What’s your favorite dog here at Dog Bar?

Kevin: The pit bulls. It’s always the pit bulls.

Kyle: And actually, I just met a guy that he runs a pit bull rescue. One of the wooferees here, so the guys that monitor the dogs and make sure that they don’t like hurt the other dogs and all that stuff, make sure that to keep them in line. He actually runs a pit bull rescue.

Kevin: That’s pretty cool.

Kyle: So do you have a pitbull or…

Kevin: Yes. I do. It’s the grey one running around here somewhere or it’s probably sitting behind me. Oh, there he is.

Kyle: So I’m currently looking at this very beautiful and also stout grey pit bull. And stout in a good way like, you know, because a pit bull is supposed to be muscular. So anything else you want to add?

Kevin: [inaudible 00:27:04]

Woman: I mean, I love it here. I love that they make sure that all the dogs are safe and the wooferees are great keeping everyone from fighting. It’s clean, which is amazing. The dogs are having fun. There’s fun for the humans with the games, the drinks. It’s awesome.

Kyle: It’s all-around good time, right?

Kevin: Oh, yeah. Definitely.

Kyle: All right. Looking at the most beautiful King Charles Cavalier now and just a name and what you think about Dog Bar.

Chris: My name is Chris and the Dog Bar is the best place ever. And don’t worry if your dog is a pit bull or a big dog because they love them here. Even though I have a small one, I understand.

Kyle: So this King Charles Cavalier, he’s mostly white, got some really long floppy black ears with some brown eyes. So they actually have, you know, the wooferees here, the police, and make sure that the dogs keep in line.

Chris: So yeah. That’s part of the reason why I thought that was the thing to say is because I’ve had numerous friends that have pits that say, “Well, I can’t bring my dog there. I’ll come up, but I can’t bring my dog because he’s a pit and people are afraid of pits.” There’s nobody afraid of pits here.

Kyle: Yeah. Absolutely. And actually one of the wooferees, like the bigger gentleman, he actually runs a pit bull rescue and so he’s…

Chris: That’s exactly what I tell them. That’s exactly what I tell them is that Passion for Pits, the owner is here.

Kyle: So I’m here with my good friend Nick, the dentist.

Nick: It’s gonna be…

Kyle: So we play on the same soccer team. We’ve known each other for some years. Yes. The nearly 40’s, but not the oldest. Yeah. Stuart’s definitely the oldest. He’s what? Like 47 or something like that?

Nick: I don’t know how old.

Kyle: Yeah. He’s gray. He’s the silver fox at least, conservatively. So, all right. In a few sentences, Nick and Tracy, tell us about your experience at Dog Bar here.

Nick: Well, it is our first time here.

Tracy: We’re having a blast.

Nick: And it’s definitely a great place to have a drink and let your dog get out some energy.

Tracy: The drinks are strong, so come on by.

Kyle: And be sure to eat before you come here.

Nick: They’re all reasonably priced, but if you don’t eat you can order UberEats.

Kyle: Thanks for coming out, guys. So I’m here with my lovely wife, Abby, here at the Dog Bar. So besides our own dog, which dog would you say was your favorite?

Abby: Today, I would have to say there was a gorgeous gray Frenchy here earlier that I loved. She was like she was my dog. She was actually protecting me from our own dog. She is so cute and so sweet.

Kyle: And she was very beautiful. That was very beautiful. All right. Name and what you think about Dog Bar?

Carrie: I’m Carrie from Tampa and Dog Bar is an awesome experience to just hang out and chill with the dogs and watch the dogs be dogs.

Kyle: That’s exactly right. Do you all want to say some things too? Or are you…all right. So we have one bold operator and two very shy people. Yeah. So y’all came all the way from Tampa to come experience Dog Bar?

Carrie: It’s a beautiful dog day.

Kyle: And what’s the name of your dog?

Carrie: Bentley.

Kyle: What kind of dog is it?

Carrie: She’s an Australian Labradoodle.

Kyle: Yeah. She’s very pretty. She’s got all the curly hair and a very beautiful collar, very well-behaved. She’s hanging out over here away from all the other dogs but give her a few minutes, she’ll get in there. So that’s good, boy. Okay. Well, let me ask you this, what’s your favorite thing about Tampa?

Carrie: Being close to St. Pete.

Kyle: Oh, sounds like you’re ready for a move. All right. Thank you, guys. All right, Fred. I’m getting out of here. As the owner of Dog Bar, what’s your favorite part?

Fred: Playing with the dogs, clearly. You know, the people are manageable, the dogs are perfect. They really are.

Kyle: Yeah. They just do what dogs do.

Fred: They do what dogs do and they love it. I have to manage the people, I rarely have to manage the dogs. I really don’t.

Kyle: Thank you so much for having us today.

Fred: Kyle, thank you, always.

Kyle: Thank you for tuning in to Great Things Tampa Bay. My name again is Kyle Sasser and I am a local Tampa Bay native and realtor. If you would like to find your own great place in Tampa Bay–great home, that is–I’d love to help you find it. I also do another show called Great Homes Tampa Bay. If you are actually in the market to buy a house you can flip over to that show and learn about what the market’s doing, learn about what a title company actually does, and, you know, lots of other fun, interesting things. You might actually learn what a realtor does and we do a lot more than just opening a door and pointing in the living room.

Great Things Tampa Bay, we also do some events out and about. And you can find those out at our website, greatthingstb.com. Or at our mobile app which you can download at Apple iTunes or Google Play and just download that. It’s got kind of a fun little feature. It has a map which allows you to see what great things are close to you, which is a lot of fun and you can also find and sign up for the events there as well. Today, playing us out, we have “Whitney Drive”, and the title of this one is “Forever”.

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