Kauffman and Boivin pose with their Pit Bull Boo mix, the namesake behind Boo’s Ice House and Dog Bar. Boo’s Ice House and Dog Bar brings a new place for puppies and their owners to play. Pho
“Every time I go to the dog park, I have a smile on my face from the moment I walk in to the moment I leave,” says Mindy Kauffman, Sarasota realtor and co-founder of Boo’s Ice House and Dog. . Bar. Yes, you read that right – it’s “Dog Bar” – because while dogs can’t drink beer, their owners certainly can and will in the presence of their four-legged friends this summer at New Dog- central meeting place.
Boo’s — named after Kauffman and her husband and co-founder Bobby Boivin’s Pitbull Rescue — was originally inspired by the couple’s frequent trips to the Dog Bar in St. Petersburg. For years they joked about setting one up in Sarasota. Eventually, that joke turned into reality when, after searching through eight or nine properties, the couple landed on the historic Ice House on 10th Street in Sarasota’s Rosemary neighborhood. “One of the main reasons we wanted to put it in the Rosemary district is that the ice house is between three newer apartment complexes, all of which are dog friendly. Anytime you walk through this area, you see people walking their dogs,” Kauffman says.
The ice house will house 5,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor dog play space – with separate areas for large and small dogs – as well as a small restaurant and bar where dog owners and non-dogs alike can enjoy themselves. owners will be able to enjoy good food and cold drinks while keeping an eye on their four-legged counterparts.
“The space has five raised doors and skylights. So when the weather is nice, we raise the doors and it will feel as outside as possible while still being inside. Ultimately, when the weather is really bad, we can also control the temperature,” adds Kauffman.In addition to offering dog daycare services, the Boo’s will have a non-exclusive membership program, for dogs, not for humans. “It’s really just a way for us to track the dogs and make sure they have all their shots and are social. We will have temperament tests to make sure the dogs are happy and sociable, but not large-scale temperament tests,” says Boivin.
Although the inclusion of a restaurant was not initially in the couple’s plans for the venue, Sarasota zoning restrictions dictated that in order to serve alcohol outdoors, Boo’s had to be either a restaurant or a hotel. This unexpected challenge, however, turned out to be a blessing in disguise. With the closure of Goodfellas Winery and Café, Kauffman and Boivin were able to recruit the owner, David Grammer and the rest of the staff at Boo’s. “The restaurant will be a simple kitchen with good burgers and good pizzas. David brings his wood-fired pizza oven and runs the restaurant. While it’s sad that Goodfellas has closed, Boo’s offers David the opportunity to have a restaurant downtown, which I believe he’s always wanted to do,” says Boivin.
With the community behind them, Kauffman and Boivin look forward to making Boo’s Ice House and Dog Bar a fun and welcoming place for everyone, whether you have two or four legs.