Bark Social, the popular North Bethesda beer garden and coffee house that doubles as an off leash dog park, plans to open a new location in Canton at the end of 2021.
Today, the vacant space at 3822 Boston Street may seem like 15,000 unremarkable square-feet, but Bark Social founders Jeff Kurtzman and Luke Silverman are eager to transform the space into the second iteration of their bar and dog park. According to the owners, the location has been vacant for some time.
Both founders have roots near Baltimore with Kurtzman’s hometown of Ellicott City and Silverman’s roots in Pikesville. Now the entrepreneurs hope to expand their community of dog lovers into the Canton neighborhood.
Like in North Bethesda, the Boston Street location will be open rain or shine. Off-leash dogs can roam and socialize under the supervision of “bark rangers,” employees who monitor the dogs. It is this customer service, coupled with good food and drinks that keep the regulars coming back. “I love that I’m able to spend time with my dog Cholula at a place that’s meant for the both of us,” said Carli Otero, a Bark Social regular. “Being relatively new to the area, it makes it easy and fun to meet dog owners (and dogs!) over great local beers and delicious food. It’s just like being at your favorite bar, but this time you don’t have to feel guilty about leaving your dog at home.”
From their dog-treat-makers near Patterson Park, to their merchandise manufacturers in Moravia Park, it is almost like Bark Social was already a Baltimore based business — they are just on their way home.
“We want to be as vocal as possible in the region as well as the nation when we say that our second location is in Baltimore, but we are really a Baltimore based company,” said Silverman. “We want to talk about Baltimore and Bark Social in the same breath.”
The duo have partnered with a local dog community and resource center, Dogs of Charm City, to create a ‘Give Back’ T-shirt promotion. A $4 donation from every shirt sale will go directly to the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter the largest animal shelter and pet adoption center in Baltimore.
“We are so excited for Bark Social to open in Baltimore. It’s a great resource for friendly city dogs to get their daily exercise, work on their social skills and spend quality time with their owners,” said Bailey Deacon, the BARCS Director of Community Engagement: Fundraising, Outreach and Communications.
Bark Social’s Baltimore doors will open toward the end of this year, almost two full years after the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, a time where many Americans made the decision to get new pets due to the increased time spent at home and the need for a companion amid the isolation. According to a COVID-19 Pulse Study by the American Pet Products Association, approximately 12.6 million U.S. households got a new pet in 2020 after the pandemic was declared in March but as restrictions lessen and businesses begin to open and operate at full capacity, Silverman and Kurtzman have seen changes in their business that they hope follow them to Canton and future Bark Social locations.
“What we are seeing in Bethesda is this beautiful experience of people getting back out into society, meeting people again, talking to people, engaging with people, and I think the fundamental commonality that brings everyone together and neutralizes things are dogs,” said Silverman. “Let’s continue that streak where people can have a really good time discovering their best friends, both human and canine. That’s what we’re all about. Good times, good drinks, and good dogs.”