While claiming to be “dog friendly” is a great way to attract people and their pets to visit local parks and green spaces, there’s one place that takes the phrase to a whole new level. Fido’s bar is, perhaps, the world’s first and only “dog tap house,” and your favorite craft beer isn’t the only attraction; you also get the privilege of enjoying your beverage with rescue dogs that need to be adopted.
This unique bar in the southwest suburbs of Portland, Oregon, hopes that by the time customers are ready to go home, they will take a furry friend (or two) home with them. Doubling as a foster home for dogs from high-kill shelters in California, the bar encourages people to interact with the dogs and see if they might be a good fit for their family and home.
While owner Scott Porter has faced many challenges in making his dream a reality, having found homes for 70 rescue dogs since 2018 has made it all worthwhile. “[J]ust meeting the people, the dogs, the patrons that we have … how they love dogs is just extremely rewarding,” he told TODAY.
For Porter, saving these dogs from being euthanized is the least he can do. After all, he believes that dogs saved his life. He explained to TODAY that he had been through a very dark period of depression. “They were extremely loving and attentive to me,” he said. “And they understood that I was going through some tough times.”
Porter’s unique dream of combining a friendly place to drink beer, wine, and cider with dog adoption came true in part as inspiration from another Portland-area charitable business: Purringtons Cat Lounge, which features felines up for adoption, along with beer, wine, and food.
Fido’s works with the Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals (OFOSA), which “transport[s] hundreds of animals every year out of overcrowded high kill shelters from as far away as California,” as their website explains.
Fido’s can foster up to eight dogs at one time, with a dedicated room for them that adheres to the highest standards for shelters, complete with kennel cages, food, and water. When customers come to the bar, they are invited to take a look around the foster room and can interact with any of the dogs before deciding to adopt.
While not every dog gets adopted, this gives the pups a chance to get socialized, get some exercise and excitement, and know that they are loved. When someone does decide to adopt, Fido’s has a policy that requires them to wait three days before picking up their pooch—just to make sure it wasn’t only the beer talking, presumably.
Porter explained to Willamette Week that, in conjunction with OFOSA, “There’s a two or a three step process.” He and his customers find a lot of humor along the way. “We don’t want anybody here with a couple drinks, then you wake up in the morning with a leash in your hand and somebody licking your face,” he said.
It takes a village to make a “dog tap house” a success, and along the way, Porter has partnered with dozens of local organizations and animal lovers. “There have been so many challenges with learning the bar business, learning about the charities, the rescues, the behavior of dogs,” he told TODAY.
But despite the challenges of figuring out how to make a dog draft house work, the overall results have been impressive. As Porter told The Oregonian in 2018, “We actually can’t get them in fast enough right now. They’re getting adopted quicker than we can get them up from California.”