South Austin’s newest bar — inspired by a pup named Shiner — is sure to be a howling success with local pooches and their two-legged human friends.
Located at 820 FM 1626 on an expansive plot of land dotted with gorgeous mature trees, The Watering Bowl ATX is an outdoor dog park and craft beer bar where hair of the dog is a way of life and fetching some brew is a walk in the park.
The Watering Bowl ATX, which opened in October, aims to help locals tap into how to think and love like a dog: in the moment and unconditionally.
Here, owner Leslie Paetschow and chief dogperations officer Heather Spearman don’t sweat the ruff stuff, instead, offering an array of pup-focused activities, classes, and events, as well as some of the best local craft beers across 16 taps, hard seltzers, wine, and non-alcoholic drinks Austinites could never get dog-tired of. A cocktail program is also in the works. And yes, doggy “beer” and pup cups are available too.
Daily dog park passes are just $10 for a single pup, but The Watering Bowl ATX also offers a variety of memberships that give pooches unlimited access to the park and special perks for their humans.
The venue will regularly host dog meetups, pup trivia, painting with your pup events, and local artisan pop-ups. Training classes are also available outside of regular park hours.
The idea for The Watering Bowl ATX began in late 2013, when Paetschow adopted her pup, Shiner, and quickly realized he had lots of energy to burn. She picked up a running habit, jogging with him nearly every day on 6-mile stints that would end at the city dog park.
“Watching him play and be goofy was definitely entertaining, but sometimes I just wanted to sit back and relax with a beer after a stressful day of work,” Paetschow says. “One day it hit me that if there was a place I could take him with a bar and a bathroom, I would be set and — boom — there was my brilliant idea and new life aspiration.”
She only had one problem: She had no capital and no management experience. Nor, she says, did she have any acquaintances with deep pockets who might want to invest. So, this aspiring dogpreneur taught herself some new tricks, taking online business and finance courses, listening to entrepreneurship podcasts, and writing her own business plan and cash flow statements.
Eventually, through hard work and her dogged determination, all these years later, The Watering Bowl ATX was born, though Paetschow admits her vision for park has evolved.
“My new grander dream is to utilize an outdoor dog park and bar in a way that not only lets people give their dog their best life without sacrificing time with friends,” she says, “but I also have a chance to help people disconnect from work and stress — because if we are all being honest, who can say they have true work/life balance these days?”
That’s why The Watering Bowl ATX encourages dog-loving humans to embrace a more happy-go-lucky pup mentality, to take time to remember what’s important, and to be present, make new friends, have fun, and live every dog day like it’s the best day ever.
The Watering Bowl ATX is open for park play to all dogs that are spayed or neutered and to humans 21 and older every Monday through Friday 2-10 pm and Saturday and Sunday 10 am-10 pm. Follow the park on Instagram for updates and event info.