“We are a pet-friendly cafe, not just another dog cafe”,ARASAN, ONE OF THE THREE OWNERS OF THE BARK.
When we hear the word bark, we are just as likely to think of a dog’s bark as we are to think of tree bark. Both of these are incorporated in Chennai’s one of a kind, pet-friendly cafe.
The Bark’s five in-house dogs play together with great joy. Mia is an Indian Mastiff who got here when she was very small, but now she is about two years old, extremely calm and composed. Mickey is a beagle with an attitude – he considers himself as the alpha of the lot. Having changed five owners in about eight months, he has now found a permanent home with The Bark. April, a rescue puppy, was stick-thin when she got here at first, but now, she is ebullient and cheerful, just the way you’d expect a golden retriever to be. Shadow, the oldest, is a very cute black pug, horsing around harmlessly with his friends. Coffee Bean, the youngest and the latest addition to the family, is a very hyperactive, mischievous cocker spaniel.
The greenery-covered walls catch the eye in the striking interior, for customers who are looking for a picture as a souvenir of their visit here. It was designed by yet another friend of theirs, Ashra Mariam. The first thing you notice is that these pooches are given the utmost love and affection – and most importantly, the chefs prepare what they eat. They are all fed the same food, just in different proportions.
You can play with them daily if you wish, between 1:30-2:30 PM and 4:30-8:30 PM.
When you visit here, you are most welcome to walk in with any pet you might have. It’s designed as a pet-friendly cafe which allows you to walk in with your animal or bird of choice, with a guinea pig or even a parrot – the first of its kind in town!
Started by three college friends from an engineering background, Arasan, Anil and Niyaz Ahmed roughly about a year ago, these guys say that they are trying their hand in the FnB industry for the first time and it seems too good to be true.
In the first place, the initiative was to start a boarding kennel for pets, but when a friend of theirs suggested that they open a kennel where owners too could come and dine while visiting their pets, they couldn’t get this thought out of their heads. This meant they could have both a kennel at the back, and the cafe facing the road- the best of both worlds. The eatery and pets were both separated understandably because of hygiene reasons.
While it was surprising that they didn’t choose to have cats, they sprightly said “We might be completely new to this industry, but we knew one thing for sure, cats and food do not go well with each other. “
The menu they kicked off with was designed keeping in mind suggestions given by another friend of theirs, with experience in this field. In a very short period, it was then later revised by the owners themselves, together with the help of their in-house chefs. With the changed menu, they introduced a global eatery concept. Ever since then, the cafe has been booming with its amended menu, which has been met with positive responses from their patrons.
Being animal lovers, they thought it wouldn’t be fair to have any sort of restrictions on the kinds of pets one would want to bring in. Now, these in-house pooches have so many pals that they can’t count them. Furthermore, in the past, these college friends had organized a food drive for street dogs, where they joined hands with Bowchow, a Coimbatore based healthy food for dogs brand, stretching out for about 25 kms around the beach.
In addition to this, The Bark also plays host to canine adoption programs, joining hands with Safe Paw adoption. They hold such events every month, which has helped around 50 dogs to find new homes. Their adoptions are carefully done with the new owners having to submit a valid ID and also undergo post-adoption visits from the adoption agency to ensure that the dogs are healthy, happy and most importantly receiving lots of love from their newfound homes.
In the future, they wish to form The Bark Club, giving away free food for its members and get the club mushrooming!