Bar K opens in The Grove: Initial Impressions

Bar K opens in The Grove: Initial Impressions

Bar K welcomed members to a soft opening at its St. Louis location on Sunday. The complex is impressive. It spans several acres and includes a variety of spaces from a groomer to a restaurant to a few different bars. There is no question this will become a very popular space for dog owners throughout the region.

When I first heard about the concept, I decided it would be worth it to splurge on a membership for my two dogs. The ability to grab a beer or food while they ran around the field sounded nice. So did having an indoor space for my dogs to socialize during the peak of winter. My fiancé and I took our dogs down to Bar K today to see the finished product.

It was beyond my expectations.

The indoor space is industrial and large

The Space

For an amenity like this to exist within a city, the central location is perfect and also avoids interrupting the street grid backing up against the railroad tracks. Located in an old warehouse on a large lot, the space could not be better.

This is a great adaptive reuse of an old building that adds something for St. Louis residents to enjoy. You enter into a big open warehouse that has a groomer/kennel to the right and an indoor off leash area, restaurant, and bar to the left. The restaurant is nice and open, contributing to the expansive feel of the whole complex. A couple projectors were showing sports games (there is also one outside).

The indoor space opens out to the field in the back, which has another bar, a patio space, and plenty of room for dogs to roam. It is all synthetic turf, which may be a relief to dog owners whose pups love to get muddy when it rains. Bar K did a great job creating a multitude of areas in the outdoor space so that dogs can climb hills or play in a doggy pool among other things. So many dog parks are a small fenced-in yard, so the variety is welcome.

The main building and a bar are shown in the background

The Concept

There is nothing like this in St. Louis. And I am willing to bet that St. Louis is ahead of most cities in the nation in offering a dog bar/park concept like this. The menu is good, offering snacks, salads, sandwiches, and burgers. We were able to leave our dogs to play with others for a bit and head into the restaurant for some fries and a drink.

I was impressed by the extensive list of beers on tap (before going with a Bud Light) and the unique cocktail offerings (all with themed names). And for those who really wanted to spoil their dogs, there was an entire food and drink menu for dogs, as well. In terms of price, it is in line with City Foundry at about $12-15 a plate. My reason for making that comparison is that it seems like this part of town is ushering in a new scene with many innovative social concepts.

Back outside, there are employees who monitor the dogs ensuring safe and healthy play. I don’t think I saw any dogs get into it, but there were a couple times I noticed an employee distract two dogs that may have been playing a bit rougher than Bar K liked. Even though it was the first day, the Bar K system is well organized and easy to follow. This creates a lot of comfort for dog owners that their dogs will be safe and have fun.

A hill sits in the middle of the outdoor field

The Community

There were probably over one hundred dogs there today. Clearly, there is a lot of demand from the local dog community for this business concept. People were laughing, taking pictures, and socializing. In attracting so much demand for membership, Bar K will likely create a stronger community of dog owners in the region. Having a kennel and groomer offers another service to many dog owners and may be more convenient to some than taking the dog to separate and unfamiliar spaces. Bar K will also host adoption events, connecting dogs with families.

The restaurant is in the background and opens out to the field

Final Thoughts

This is a fantastic addition to St. Louis and one I will use frequently. My dogs loved it and it’s clear we were not alone in that experience. It is on the expensive side, but should be popular among dog lovers. Home to Purina and one of the top dog-friendly cities in the country, Bar K is a natural fit for this city. St. Louis could use more innovative concepts like this to create more offerings in our neighborhoods.


NextSTL is committed to providing original stories and unique perspectives on a variety of urban topics such as architecture, development, transportation, historic preservation, urban planning and design and public policy in St. Louis. We're always looking to add new, diverse voices to the mix. We accept anonymous tips, pitches for story ideas, and completed stories.

Learn More