Dogs get brews at this Duluth happy hourThree dogs walk into a bar. There is no joke here. This was fact Tuesday night at the Midi Restaurant’s tiki bar in the courtyard of the Fitger’s Brewery Complex
By: Mike Creger, Duluth News Tribune
Three dogs walk into a bar.
There is no joke here. This was fact Tuesday night at the Midi Restaurant’s tiki bar in the courtyard of the Fitger’s Brewery Complex in Duluth. Although it would be funny to see boxers Isis, Apollo and Bacchus try to open a bottle of Bowser Beer — in Beefy Brown Ale or Cock-a-Doodle Brew flavors.
The job of pouring the broth and water mix would be up to their human partners, Angie and Matt Duffy. This was the second time the couple brought their dogs to the tiki bar that overlooks the Lakewalk and Lake Superior for the weekly “Doggie Happy Hour.”
“The setting is good,” Angie Duffy said.
And business has been picking up for Midi each Tuesday.
The idea of allowing dogs out on a special night came from the owners of A Place For Fido, a dog specialty shop inside the Fitger’s building. Ben and Jaime Parent opened the store in September, and when they heard about Midi’s new tiki bar, well, it was a natural.
They supply the dog brews, which are infused with glucosamine for healthy joints, and other treats for owners who show up from 5-8 p.m. on Tuesdays.
“We couldn’t do it without the tiki bar,” Jamie Parent said. “It’s a natural. And Fitger’s is known as a pet-friendly building.”
Midi’s owner Marie Schmidt was on board, even though she’d never heard of a happy hour for dogs.
“It’s progressing nicely,” she said. “It’s a fun thing to do. People with dogs need a fun place to go.”
Since he arrived in Duluth nearly a year ago, Ben Parent said he’s noticed it to be a good fit for people with dogs.
“I’ve traveled all over and this is one of the dog-friendliest cities in the country,” he said.
Across Superior Street, dogs have been allowed on the outdoor patio at Sir Ben’s Tavern on the Lake for years, owner Antonino Coppola said.
“We have people call and ask,” he said. “Of course, we say. People love their pets and why not take them with you?”
Other Duluth spots that allow dogs and drinks are Little Angie’s in Canal Park, Chester Creek Cafe on East Hillside and two other spots with patios at Fitger’s — the Brewhouse and Mexico Lindo.
Sites are popping up on the Internet offering lists of where dogs are welcome in cities across the country. The allowance is being taken on by city governments and health inspectors mostly in favor of welcoming dogs to outdoor eating and drinking areas.
The site SidewalkDog.com, based in the Twin Cities area, says its list of dog-friendly spots is growing.
And the national site GoPetFriendly.com, run by a couple that travels around the United States in an RV with their dogs, has included Duluth in its visits.
GoPetFriendly owner Rod Burkert called Duluth, and especially the areas around the Lakewalk, “one of the most liberal we’ve seen anywhere” when it comes to welcoming dogs.
Adding the tiki bar only raises the Duluth profile, Ben Parent said.
“It’s cool. It’s an awesome venue.”
“We just thought, why not give it a shot,” Jamie Parent said.
The drink special on Tuesday night for the humans was dog-themed: Greyhounds.
Gene Hautagarvi and Kelly Poldoski were in a group of seven friends and family members and three dogs. They had just received a round of drinks.
“I think they know now,” Poldoski said of the dogs. As soon as they roll into the Fitger’s parking ramp, the dogs know they’re going to the bar.
“It’s nice to bring dogs somewhere,” Poldoski said. “The bonus is cocktails and food. It’s a family outing and puppy time.”