November 17, 2022
Those who don't like to leave their furry friends home alone will soon have a new dog-friendly hangout in the city.
The Boozy Mutt, an indoor-outdoor bar and grill that doubles as an off-leash dog park, is set to open in Fairmount in late spring 2023. Local newlywed entrepreneurs Sam and Allison Mattiola are behind the 7,500 square-foot facility, which will feature 140 seats.
Once the venue opens, patrons can let their canine friends run freely through the facility as they enjoy craft cocktails, beer and elevated bar food at Boozy Mutt. Meanwhile, dogs can enjoy socialization with fellow pups within the two-story building or in the outdoor turf yard, plus a dog-friendly menu full of treats.
"It's kind of like your place away from home that you can bring your dog when you don't feel like cooking," Allison Mattiola told PhillyVoice.
Other features of Boozy Mutt include large flat-screen TVs, weekend brunch service, a self-service dog bath station and a private event space.
The Mattiolas are working closely with the Philadelphia Health Department to ensure their business is up to code and fully operational, allowing dogs to be off-leash both indoors and outdoors.
To ensure the safety of patrons and their pets, Boozy Mutt will have rules in place similar to those at a doggie daycare. Those bringing dogs to the bar will be required to either purchase a daily pass or a membership option, which gives members higher-end amenities and special offerings. The memberships will help monitor the dogs' vaccinations and behavior. There will also be trained "Rufferees" stationed throughout the venue, to replenish water bowls, maintain cleanliness and ensure dogs are playing safely.
The Mattiolas, who live in Philly's Olde Kensington neighborhood, dreamed up the idea for Boozy Mutt while quarantining during the COVID-19 pandemic. They had added a dog, Buda, to their family during the pandemic and were faced with the challenges of exercising and socializing a dog in the city.
Allison and Sam started bringing Buda to a nearby field for pandemic-style happy hours with friends, when they started to realize how much people enjoyed happy hours with their pets.
"Sam and I have always wanted to be entrepreneurs," Mattiola said. "And clearly, having happy hour with your dogs is something that a lot of people enjoy. We just started outlining what we would love in this type of concept. And when we started doing research, we actually saw that there were some other similar concepts in the south, which just solidified the fact that there really could be a need for this in the Philadelphia market ... It kind of started from just an idea and a side project to keep us busy in the pandemic, to hiring consultants and trying to make this dream a reality and recognizing that people would be really excited about it."
Despite modeling the initial concept of a dog bar off venues that exist elsewhere in the country, Allison notes that Boozy Mutt will have a Philly-centric vibe.
"This is our only location, in Philly," Mattiola said. "So kind of like, made by Philly, for Philly. So there's definitely going to be an emphasis on Philadelphia sports and other Philadelphia community based events."
Boozy Mutt hopes to ingratiate itself into the Fairmount neighborhood by getting involved with community service projects, such as neighborhood functions and pet adoption events.
The bar and grill will inhabit 2639 Poplar Street, which once housed North Star Bar, a former staple of the local music scene that closed down in 2015. Demolition and redevelopment to the venue began in 2019, and the Mattiolas signed their lease in July 2022.