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Pet Crazy Night Clubs

By: Rebecca K. O’Connor

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The number of households in the United States with at least one dog has jumped by three million since 2002 according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. Not only do we have more dogs in our homes, but were spending more money on them and more time with them. So what's a single nightlife lover to do when they don't want to leave their furry half at home? Well, take them to the doggie bar, of course!

The pet crazy night club scene is just getting started. The first venture is doggie night clubs started in Los Angeles at SkyBark. In August 2005 the dog lovers at PETaPOTTY, a company that produces a portable box of grass for the apartment pooch, decided that dogs need a night life too. More importantly, dog lovers were asking, "Why can't I bring my dog to the bar?" So the folks at PETaPOTTY decided to create a bar atop their offices. The location has a 360 degree view of downtown Los Angeles.

The creation of the club was spurred by Brandon Hochman and Ralph Diaz. Hochman is the inventor of PETaPOTTY and the marketing wiz behind the club's success. Diaz is a well known artist in metalworking. His benches and signage give SkyBark a modern flair and hip feel.

SkyBark isn't open every night, but the events that they put on have been very well received. There is a full bar and live music for the humans to enjoy as well as a 50-by-50 foot grass-covered play area for dogs, which they call the "doggie dance floor." There is also a bone-shaped kiddie pool available for a quick slurp in case any of the canine revelers works up a thirst. Special doggie cocktails of vitamin-infused doggie spring water are served in canine-friendly martini glasses and chicken broth in champagne glasses are also available.

Tickets to events are generally $20 per person and $10 per dog. There has been a six events so far including a Howl-a-ween party and a Fourth of July barbeque. The events are always attended by local dog services and product distributors so there's extra treats for the dogs. Not to mention goodie bags full of doggie products, typical Hollywood swank. This is not surprising when you note the attendees, which include relatives of Lassie, sitcom dogs and Pet Psychic Patrice Ryan.

It wasn't enough for Hochman and Diaz to create a special place for dogs to frolic along with their human friends, however. They wanted to make their events more significant. So at each of the events put on by SkyBark there is a silent auction that benefits an animal charity. Their first event raised $4,000 for New Leash on Life, a Southern California animal shelter.

Hochman hopes to someday get the permanent liquor license and health requirements that running SkyBark full time would require. In the meantime, the SkyBark concept is spreading across the country. A Boston version, dubbed SkyBark East opened in August and another is scheduled to open soon in Las Vegas. So put on your party clothes... and leash. The city nightlife is going to the dogs.

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