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Two dog bars set to open in Lincoln | Dining

Did you hear the one about the dog walking into a bar?

It’s not a joke, it’s a new business concept in Lincoln.

There are plans for not one, but two dog bars in the Capital City, both with similar names and both hoping to be open sometime this fall.

Unleash Dog Park and Bar is the brainchild of Penny LeDuc of Lincoln, who said she’s always been a dog lover and has always wanted to open a dog-related business.

LeDuc, who has been a nurse for 38 years, said she settled on a dog bar after seeing a trend of them opening in many cities across the US

She scouted around for the right location for two years before finding what she considers to be the perfect spot in a former Sprint wireless store in the Van Dorn Plaza shopping center at 48th and Van Dorn streets.

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The bar will have about 1,500 square feet of indoor space and a 4,500-4,800-square-foot outdoor space that will be fenced in and have turf.

LeDuc said she doesn’t have to do a lot of remodeling to the building, mostly adding a bar and doing some improvements to the bathroom areas.

In terms of opening, she said “the sooner the better.”

“I’m hoping October, but I’m not sure yet.”

LeDuc said she plans to require patrons to unleash their dogs while in the bar and will have staff members to keep an eye on pups to ensure they are drinking.

There will be a fee to bring dogs, and pets will have to be registered to ensure they’re licensed, up to date on shots, and spayed or neutered if they are older than 1 year, LeDuc said. She also will offer memberships for those who want to use the bar regularly.

The other dog bar has a similar name and a somewhat similar concept.

Brandon Akert, who co-owns the Railyard bar Gate 25, plans to open Off Leash Dog Bar in the Telegraph District just east of downtown.

Akert said dog bars are not new — they’ve existed on the coasts for years — but they became a lot more popular during the pandemic, with one opening in Omaha.

He’s leasing a building at 1975 M St. that used to be home to shuttle service OmaLink.

That will provide a large indoor area, about 8,000 square feet. A little more than a quarter of the space will be an on-leash area, while the rest will be an off-leash area where dogs can roam and play. He’ll also have an outdoor area of ​​about 3,200 square feet.

“I wanted to have quite a bit of indoor space because of the weather,” Akert said. He said the bar will be set up to allow dogs and their owners easy access to go between the indoor and outdoor areas.

He said people without pets will be admitted free, although they will have to sign a waiver. Those who want to bring their dogs can buy a day pass, but his focus will be on getting people to buy annual memberships.

Akert said Off Leash also will have a party room and a coffee shop and will sell merchandise.

“We’re really excited to be bringing this to Lincoln,” he said.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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