Ever wanted to sip a cold beer under a canopy of large trees — surrounded by all sorts of cute, spunky pups?
Now you can in Tampa, thanks to Hair of the Dog Park owners Todd Goldfarb and Mara Balda.
The husband-and-wife team, who’ve lived in Seminole Heights for a decade, quietly launched their 30,000-square-foot off-leash, 21-and-older dog park at 4211 N Nebraska Ave. in February. A big draw is the concession-stand bar pouring craft beers and house wines.
“It’s kind of just like a giant beer garden, but you really do have to love dogs,” Goldfarb said, “because they’re everywhere.”
Keeping the bar’s footprint small was an important design decision to Hair of the Dog, which has incorporated areas for little and big canines alike. Goldfarb said he and Balda wanted to give the dogs as much room as possible to roam.
The park is intentionally minimalist, because, well, it’s a dog park, showcasing picnic tables, Adirondack chairs and lots of shade. You won’t find liquor or food (not that scoring a meal close by is a problem). Live music isn’t featured, either.
The rotating tap list reflects the hyper-local vibe of Seminole Heights. It’s dedicated to eight Tampa Bay drafts from breweries like Angry Chair, Brew Bus, Coppertail and Hidden Springs.
“We’re limited with our selection, but I did pick and choose from local breweries, and I tried to hit every [style],” Goldfarb said, adding that a porter and a red ale are a couple of available brews.
On the wine side, Hair of the Dog serves cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot grigio and chardonnay. The owners hope to add more in the future.
Poochless guests may enter at no cost. But if you come with a furry friend or two, you’ll have to purchase a $5 day pass, a $50 annual membership for one dog or a $75 annual membership for two dogs from a park ranger at the front.
And there are a few key rules: Dogs must be at least 6 months old and spayed or neutered, and their parents must bring a paper copy of three vaccinations (rabies, DHLPP and bordetella). Children are not permitted.
Although it took more than four years to open Hair of the Dog, and it wasn’t just one thing that slowed them down, Goldfarb said he and Balda put their heart and soul into the park. Visitors seem to be enjoying it so far.
“A lot of people walk their dogs here like we had in mind. We’re hopeful the neighborhood will embrace it,” Goldfarb said. “You’d have to be a crazy dog person to do this. Our dogs are our lives.”
(813) 850-4038. hairofthedogparkandbar.com.