New England’s First “Dog Bar” (!) Comes to Everett
Park-9 unleashes a fetching venue for canines and their humans—and it even features cocktails with dog treat pairings.
When Park-9 opens in Everett with a leash-cutting ceremony on April 13, it’s definitely a place you’ll want to bring the whole pack. Of dogs, that is. As New England’s first “dog bar”—a combination dog park and drinking establishment that’s a best-in-show-worthy brainchild of spouses Emily Gusse and Tess Kohanski, along with Tess’s brother Chris Kohanski—the landmark space combines two of the greatest things in life: animals and alcohol.
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Once home to the Coleman Manufacturing Company, the entirely pooch-friendly space on Waters Ave. is a 10,000-square-foot industrial-inflected doggie dream, with two bars and multiple lounge areas. Bouncing around the premises is Tess and Emily’s golden retriever, Nora, who serves as Park-9’s “chief happiness officer.” The drink menu pairs cleverly named cocktails—like the Snoop D-O-GG or the Bob Barker—with canine treats. And perhaps most amusing of all, Park-9 even sells “dog beer” by the can. (I can confirm that my husky, Ruby, enjoyed her can of Good Girl Tail Chasin’ Blonde dog beer, which is actually chicken broth with herbs and spices.)
With Park-9 in the works since 2021, the team visited dog bars in the warmer southern states while researching the concept. “They really just felt like a dog park and some basic alcohol attached to it,” Tess Kohanski says of these other spots. “Our vision for this was, ‘No, we want to have a more elevated experience.’ We’re still definitely a dog park. We definitely want to celebrate that. But we want to make sure it’s a comfortable and really inviting place to be.”
From the giant ceilings to the reclaimed industrial treasures throughout—gander the gears all around, the lathe by the door, and the giant safe that until about four months ago actually stored cash for Coleman—the design highlights the building’s past. The layout essentially divides Park-9 into two: a more traditional bar area and a warehouse pup playland. From the front door, the original wide-plank American pinewood floors lead past a 30-foot-long bar to a lounge, where pet parents and their on-leash pups can take a break with some brews and TV time. Seats and dog-friendly banquettes—do check out the mini armchair on a platform that’s perfect for petite pooches—create a space where you’ll want to sit (and stay, good dog!) for a while, at tables crafted of reclaimed industrial spools.
Open entryways lead to the giant warehouse-like space that boasts a backyard vibe. String lights hang from the wood canopy over the second bar, and stadium seating and a raised platform with tables and Adirondack chairs look out onto the 5,000-square-foot off-leash indoor park. On pleasant days, a sliding garage door opens the fully air-conditioned space to an outdoor run, while fake fire hydrants, picnic tables, and other obstacles dot the indoor area. Keeping with the “bring the outdoors in” vibe, custom-designed trees with faux leaves and real wood trunks camouflage architectural poles.
Regarding the whole “indoor dog park” concept—the owners have thought that through too: accidents will happen, but the staff will quickly clean up; the sealed epoxy floors feature drains and will be washed daily, with the entire area deep-cleaned once a week.
Also inside, a mural by Rhode Island artist Gregory Pennisten incorporates the logo designed by Jonny Snow. The artwork is one of many colorful (and canine-themed) touches throughout. The cofounders designed the space themselves, brandishing their sense of humor with whimsically patterned dog wallpaper by the bathrooms. The bathrooms also harken back to the brand’s inclusive mission—a must for the family-owned, LGBTQ- and women-led business—with a gender-neutral bathroom alongside the women’s and men’s rooms.
While the pups stick to readily available water, the real treat for the humans is a bar within the fenced-in dog area—a feature the trio decided on after visiting a dog bar in Kansas City. “What [the bar owners] found there was that people would drop their dog into the dog park and then go inside into the bar,” says Chris Kohanski. “We really didn’t want to do that. Here people can get a drink, watch TV, but still watch their dogs.” Which is to say, while trained dog behavioralists—called “park rangers” and supervised by dog care manager Carly Beckwith—monitor dogs within the park, owners remain responsible for their pets. It’s one of many safeguards, including how all dogs must be registered on an app called Gingr, either beforehand or upon arrival, and current vaccination records are required.
As for the beverages, manager Michelle Gitschier describes the cocktail program as matching the space’s outdoor vibe. “You feel like you’re on a picnic,” she says. Take the Pup-Loma, a spin on the usual Paloma, with Espolon Reposado tequila and fresh grapefruit. The Bob Barker, meanwhile, features Tito’s vodka, fresh lemon, blueberry, mint, and a spritz of soda. (For each Bob Barker ordered, Park-9 and Tito’s will donate a dollar to Sweet Paws Rescue.) The brews, meanwhile, are mostly New England offerings.
For wines, Andrea Bergner—the former beverage director at City Winery Boston and once the chief wine buyer for the Vinodivino wine, beer, and liquor brand—curated a list that celebrates woman-made and -owned wines, plus sustainable and organic offerings. The certified sommelier selected wines you might not find at every bar in the area (say, a fruity Mariana Rosé by Portuguese purveyor Herdade do Rocim), though you can expect crowd pleasers like a California chardonnay and a New Zealand sauv blanc by the glass and bottle, without breaking the bank.
But perhaps what best sums up the whole Park-9 concept? “I’ve done a lot of food and wine pairing in my life. I’ve never thought as a somm I’d be pairing dog treats with cocktails,” Bergner says with a laugh. “But I did and it was really fun.”
Try to hold a straight face while you order a Bark Side of the Moon boozy coffee drink and the recommended peanut butter cannoli for your dog (which, to be fair, sounds delish enough for a human). West Wareham-based Preppy Puppy Bakery crafts cute confections like a taco-shaped treat for your pup to scarf as you sip the spicy margarita riff called Double Dog Dare. Or if you’re spoiling your fur baby (they deserve it!), order up a doggie dessert flight, which features a mini doughnut, a mini cupcake, and a cannoli. Plus, there’s a flight of seafood treats by Boston-based Polkadog.
While there’s no kitchen onsite, customers can order grub from local vendors like Village Bar & Grill—food trucks are on the way, too. Unsurprisingly, no outside food, treats, or toys are allowed into the fenced play area, since those things might spark some territorial behavior in dogs. Explains Gusse, “We really want to contain this environment to the play of dogs without adding in those stimuli that can cause potential problems.”
The vibe is tail-or-made for events (sorry, last pun!). You can expect to book things like dog birthday parties and other private shindigs in the future. On deck, too, is a doggie daycare program. With those golden months of patio season just around the corner, one thing’s for sure: Fetch your friends and high-tail it to Park-9, because things are even better with a drink in your hand and your dog at your side.
48 Waters Ave. #1, Everett, (617) 294-8048, park9dogbar.com.