April 06, 2023
A new social club in Manayunk is preparing to offer all-day fun to customers of the two- and four-legged varieties.
Bark Social, a dog-friendly hangout spot with two locations in Maryland, is opening a new club at 3720 Main St. on Monday, April 17. The club will offer memberships for people (with or without canine companions) to enjoy amenities like a cafe, bar and boutique.
"Think the Soho House, but more accessible, and with a bunch of dogs running around," said Luke Silverman, founder and CEO of Bark Social. "Whatever you can do at a bar/restaurant, coffee shop or pet retailer, you can do at Bark Social. And really, it's just a place where everyone comes together and you know that you have at least one thing in common with everyone, that you love dogs. It's tough to not leave with a smile on your face."
The club, which has indoor and outdoor spaces, will be open throughout the morning, afternoon and evening. It offers food and drinks, a climate-controlled clubhouse, free WiFi, televisions and self-serve dog baths. Free parking is be available in a lot, so people don't have to wrangle with Manayunk street parking.
"At each of our locations, we really try to do the local partnerships," Bark Social COO Charlene Lee said. "We had a lot of people actually mention to us that because of our local partnerships, they really trust us. So we're super excited that Manayunk is such a close-knit community and up and down the Main Line as well."
Bark Social is partnering with local shelters to host adoption events and "tap takeover" fundraisers as part of its Frankie Cares nonprofit, inspired by Silverman's dog.
"I actually had a dog in my freshman dorm for a little while until I got caught," Silverman said. "But basically, I've always had dogs my entire life. I've always loved dogs."
Silverman quit his job and went to grad school amid a "quarter-life crisis," and he and his now-wife moved in together and adopted their dog. The trio frequented a place in Austin, Texas – where they lived at the time – that had a similar concept to Bark Social. After spending months visiting dog bars around the country, Silverman felt ready to launch his own dog-friendly social club.
"I just thought it would be great to bring it back to the mid-Atlantic region where I was born and raised," Silverman said. "And I think that the one thing that's very different for Bark Social than a lot of what's out there is that we're hyper-focused on our customer experience, like we are maniacal about our customer experience, and that's something that I didn't feel was as present in other locations."
For now, Manayunk felt like the perfect place for Silverman to lay down local roots.
"We spent about a year and a half looking for a site in Philly. ... Finding a lot of open space in Philadelphia is very difficult," Silverman said. "And so the timing was right; we also just absolutely love Manayunk. I mean, the downtown Main Street is awesome. ... So yeah, the timing was right, and just kind of like a needle in a haystack. And there's a little over 10,000 square feet of outdoor space, so plenty of room for your pups to run around."
The Manayunk club also has a coffee shop, a covered patio and an area with tables where people can watch TV. Dogs need to be spayed and neutered and up-to-date on their vaccinations to enter. They also aren't allowed in certain indoor areas due to health department restrictions.
Memberships for the Philly location, which grant access to a various exclusive deals and amenities, can be purchased online. Annual, monthly and daily memberships available. Bark Social currently is offering "founding" annual memberships for $325.
"Our big thing for us is you don't need a dog to enter," Silverman said. "So that's one of the big things is, you know, at the end of the day, we're just a place for dog lovers and dogs."
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