The World's First Dog Tap House Is the Best Thing About 2018
Fido's will combine rescue dogs + beer — how could it get any better?
Two of the best things in the whole world are rescue dogs and beer, so now we're convinced that the best place in all the land is Fido's — The World's First Dog Tap House — which expertly combines both. The innovative dog + craft beer haven is opening February 13 in Tigard, Oregon (just outside of Portland) and will feature 40 taps of delicious beer and resident foster dogs for patrons to play with, with the hope that these pups will wind up with forever homes in the process. Amazing, right?
Even if you're not on the market for a dog, you'll want to become a regular at Fido's because literally everything revolves around championing dogs. The place will be decorated with dog-centric art, dog videos will play on the TVs (no sports!), and Fido's will regularly partner with local dog charities to raise awareness and money for the homeless dog population. Heck, you don't even have to like beer to enjoy yourself at Fido's. "I have 40 taps of beer but the mission statement has nothing to do with beer," Fido's founder Scott Porter told me in a phone interview.
Instead, he said "the mission statement is to provide a fun, welcoming, and educational social environment that inspires people to adopt homeless dogs...The social environment is where the beer and the food come in."
Fido's isn't even open yet and Porter said that there's already fantastic buzz about it. He's had exclusive breweries reach out about partnering up and the responses to his job posting were quite impressive — for good reason. Wouldn't you apply for a job where the description read, "Bartender + take care of rescue dogs at The World's First Dog Tap House"?
"I had 50 applications and then people who were finding my phone number on the website — they were calling me, emailing, saying this is my dream job," Porter told me.
One woman even cried when she found out she didn't get a job at Fido's. (We get it.)
No one is as excited as Porter to get Fido's opened, though. He said the idea for his dog tap room has been in the works for over three years, after he toyed with the idea of opening a tap room but wanted to create one that stood out from the hundreds that were already in the area. "The one thing that struck me is that they all look so similar. Every single one has beer signs that pepper the walls and that's really all they do. I just don't want to open another bar with beer signs," he said.
After visiting a local cat cafe, he decided to spin the concept to focus on rescue dogs instead of cats and craft beer instead of coffee.
The charity aspect of the business came into play after a conversation with an executive director of Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals, which now provides the foster dogs at Fido's. "It was just over a cup of coffee that she made a comment about how much time they spend fundraising money all the time, that they're constantly broke. And it popped into my head: Tap rooms are profitable, if I used the doggie day room where guests interact with the dogs, that's generating revenue, and if I could use that as a funding arm for the charities, that would help out this lady here and maybe she wouldn't be so exhausted. And then I could help other dogs too."
Because it really is all about helping dogs at Fido's. Cute pups are not just a clever ploy to get you to come drink beer. In fact, Porter flat-out rejects the beer signs from distributors — you know, the ones you see in pretty much every other bar. "The beer distributors are kinda funny because they all want to give me beer signs. They all want to promote their individual breweries. So when I tell them I'm not interested in the beer signs, they kinda look at me like, 'What do you mean? Everyone takes beer signs, they're free'," Porter said.
He just tells them: "If you really want to get into my good graces, you have to tell the breweries that it has to be something that's dog-themed or dog-related or helping a dog charity then I'm happy to get involved."
At the end of the day, Porter just wants dogs to find good homes — as the number of homeless dogs is really staggering in the US. According to the SPCA, about 670,000 dogs are euthanized annually due to overpopulation. "Everything in here is inspiring people to value dogs and then the fact that we have the foster dogs here means we're going to have a lot of people that are on the fence — they've thought about a dog for a while — and they're going to come in here and see the videos and pictures and it's going to tip them over the edge," he said.
Fido's will foster six small dogs at a time — to start with — and will also host a variety of other dog-centric activities like dog-themed artists, dog demonstrations, book signings, etc. As the tap house's website says, "Fido’s is dogs on steroids."
This dog + beer + charity model is one that Porter has pioneered in hopes of "becoming the preeminent corporate donor for charities." The idea is "to potentially help out thousands of charities across the US if we could duplicate this idea and I think it will inspire other people to either open a business like Fido's, or as Fido's, or they're going to want to start a similar business with the same type of model," he said.
So if you're as smitten with the idea of Fido's as we are and have yet to book your ticket to Portland, a Fido's might eventually come to you. (Fingers seriously crossed). Porter's vision doesn't end with just one Fido's.
"Three years ago I dreamed up this vision and I've been living it ever since. Three years ago I started planting in my head exactly what I want this to be like and that aspect of the dream is almost done," he said. "When I open, that dream is done. But I'm telling my staff right now: we're not going to operate this bar as if we're just one location. We're going to operate this bar and improve ourselves to get to the next dream and the next goal, which is 100 locations. In order to do that, we're going to implement the policies and do the training and require the customer service and all that that requires us to act and think like we're already there. We're going to start living like we're already there, and I expect it to be about 15 years."
For more information about Fido's, check out the website here.
For more information about Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals, check out their website here.
Fido's grand opening is February 13, 2018.