bar k in forest park southeast photo by michelle volansky

First Look: Bar K in Forest Park Southeast

With two enormous dog parks, three bars and a restaurant featuring menus for both humans and dogs, Bar K at 4565 McRee Ave. in St. Louis surely represents the next phase in the evolution of canine-human relations. An outdoor stage for live music, a splash pool and a doggie climbing wall are just a few of the amenities that make Bar K a unique destination for humans and dogs alike.

This is Bar K’s second location; the first opened in Kansas City in 2018. Located in a renovated warehouse in Forest Park Southeast, it features a two-acre outdoor dog park and a 10,000-square-foot indoor play area. Together, the bars and restaurant seat about 300. The bars feature a rotating selection of beers from local breweries like Urban Chestnut Brewing Co., 4 Hands Brewing Co. and Heavy Riff Brewing Co. and a cocktail list developed in consultation with Still 630. Coffee and espresso drinks from Kaldi’s Coffee and smoothies are also available.

Bar K’s food program, which co-owner Leib Dodell described as “healthy casual,” makes ample use of fresh ingredients in familiar, flavorful dishes. A chilled ahi tuna appetizer featuring cubed ahi tuna mixed with edamame, cucumber and tomato was served atop guacamole with sesame crackers. The grilled chicken in the chicken-apple salad and on the chicken-avocado sandwich had a nice char and was juicy and tender. Brunch options like huevos rancheros tacos, a breakfast burrito and French toast are served on the weekend.

The most unique portion of Bar K’s menu is the “for the pups” section. Dishes like chicken risotto made with chicken, white rice, carrots and Parmesan cheese are available either a la carte or as part of a “doggie flight,” a sampler of three items served in a bone-shaped tray. There are also dessert options like ice cream nuggets and cookies by Kansas City-based Three Dog Bakery, which are baked in-house. Only drinks are allowed in the off-leash areas; dog owners can dine with their pups on the restaurant’s patio, where several tables are equipped with leash clips and special flip-up dog bowl trays. Those who prefer an indoor dining experience can eat inside while pets have supervised playtime in one of the dog parks.

Dodell emphasizes that are all welcome at Bar K, not just those accompanying dogs. “Half our guests actually tend to be people without dogs,” Dodell explained. Those without dogs can enter Bar K for free, while those with dogs must either pay a guest entry fee or purchase a monthly or annual membership.

Currently, Bar K is open Monday to Friday from 2 to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Beginning Monday, Dec. 13, it will be open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Sunday. In addition to the entry fee, dogs must be up-to-date on rabies, DHLPP/Da2PP and bordetella vaccinations to enter Bar K. Both the indoor and outdoor play areas are divided into all dog and small dog sections; the latter is for puppies under 6 months and/or dogs under 25 pounds. Children of all ages are allowed in the restaurant and on-leash areas of Bar K. To access off-leash areas, children 16 and younger must be accompanied by an adult, and those eight and younger must be in the physical presence of an adult at all times. Children between 4 and 12 must also watch an animated video on how to interact safely with dogs and take a quiz before entering off-leash areas.

Check out the slideshow below for a sneak peak of Bar K's food, drinks and play areas.