TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Two college friends are working to open an indoor and outdoor dog park, with a bar, in Tampa for pets and their owners to enjoy any time of year.
Ross O’Bryan and Patrick Verdugo attended the University of South Florida and were in the rock climbing club together. Now, they’re owners of a business.
They plan to open Two Shepherd’s Taproom near Raymond James Stadium this year.
It’s an idea O’Bryan got during a stereotypical Tampa week.
“It was raining every single day and my German Shepherd, Hobbes, he was just a little under a year back then, so just crazy amounts of energy nonstop. So we were going stir crazy inside and I just couldn’t find anything to take him to do to get his energy out,” he said.
“I Googled to try and find indoor dog parks, indoor anything, something we could go and do for him off-leash to get exercise and get energy out,” O’Bryan added. “There was nothing.”
That’s when he came up with the idea that Tampa needs an indoor dog park.
“Then we came up with, what do people love just as much as dogs? Beer! We kind of combined the concept and went dog park and bar. So we have the indoor dog park where it’s fully air conditioning and we also have the large outdoor dog park as well,” O’Bryan said.
O’Bryan and Verdugo purchased an acre of land near the stadium. They say it will feature a 5,000 square foot warehouse and over 10,000 square feet of dog play areas, both outside and inside.
They are hoping to begin construction on the building very soon.
“We’re just finishing up a final few details and get the final approvals from the city, then we’re going to be ready to move forward. So it should be here pretty soon,” said O’Bryan.
“We are looking to open toward the end of the year. That’s what our projections have been told to us, at least. And that’s what we’re hoping for. We’re hoping to just stick to that timeline. So end of the year,” Verdugo confirmed.
Looking for your fur-ever friend to take with you to Two Shepherds Taproom and all other fun, dog-friendly events throughout the Tampa Bay area? Don’t forget about our “Clear the Shelters” event this Saturday! Click here for more information.
To enter the bar, dog owners will have to upload proof that their dog’s vaccines and flea medications are up-to-date to an app called “Gingr.”
The process is entirely digital and employees can search for a dog when guests enter the bar. All breeds of all sizes will be welcome.
There will be multiple memberships to Two Shepherds Taproom available, including day, month and yearly memberships, only for the dogs.
“If you just want to come with your friends, maybe your friend has a dog, you’re obviously welcome to come in for free,” said Verdugo.
Special events will be held for members. O’Bryan said other big events will be held for everybody in Tampa to enjoy but Two Shepherd Taproom members will get into those events for free.
They say dogs will have so much to enjoy when the taproom opens.
“So inside we’ll have some little agility equipment, a bunch of toys. Same thing outside, we’re going to have all the little different pieces of agility equipment. Just plenty of space for them to run around,” said O’Bryan.
“During the hot summer months, we’re going to have pools set up, like little above ground pools for them to hang out, play in, splash around,” he added. “We’re going to have hoses for them to play in. Just a lot of different things like that to try and keep them cool.”
The duo is really trying to bring the dog-friendly vibes of St. Petersburg to Tampa.
“St. Pete is a great spot. We love St. Pete but there’s really nowhere here that has a dog-friendly location to go and have a beer, to hang out. There are a few little spots here and there, but everything is on-leash,” said Verdugo. “So our concept really caters to those who want to come and spend time with their dogs, not just have a beer and sit down with their dog. We want to make sure the dogs can play and enjoy their time as well.”