Although the building was purchased for him on Laughter Day, the new concept of a dog bar that appears in Sarasota is no joke.

It is expected to open in October on 10th Street in the Rosemary area, north of downtown Sarasota, called Boo’s Ice House and Dog Bar.

The original construction of the building in 1947-48 was for a glacier – a place to store ice and facilitate delivery. The name, Boo’s Ice House and Dog Bar, pays tribute to the building’s initial use.

The founders of Boo, Mindy Kaufman and her husband Bobby Boywin, began going for a similar concept in St. Petersburg about five years ago. Essence: bar and restaurant with outdoor and indoor playgrounds for dogs.

“We were just amazed at how fun it was,” Kaufman says, also noting that they kept visiting every time they were in the area.

Every time they left, the couple’s thinking changed. At first it was, “It’s so cool. They have to have one of them in Sarasota. ”But it turned into,“ Hey, we have to put one in Sarasota. ”

Finally, they began planning the Ice House and Dog Bar – named after their youngest rescue dog, Boo, who is about four or five years old. They also have another lifeguard named 15-year-old Raven, whom they call the queen of the house.

It took a year to find the perfect place to meet the needs both indoors and outdoors for what is described as a social club focused on dogs, with an attached bar and restaurant.

On April 1, 2020, they closed real estate on 10th Street for $ 1.35 million. Since then, the couple has invested “too much,” according to Boyvin, in bringing the project to life. Kaufman noted that they do not yet have exact figures on how much they paid for the construction.

“We wanted to be downtown to serve as a community for all apartments and homes,” says Kaufman, whose father is renowned Sarasota property owner Mark Kaufman. “Earlier, dogs were not allowed in apartments and houses. And now everyone is doing. Now, every time you drive or walk around the Rosemary area, there are always people walking the dogs. So we thought it would be the perfect place. ”

It was originally scheduled to open this summer. But due to supply delays and some other obstacles, they are expecting a soft opening on October 1st. However, delays in construction were not the most difficult thing they had to deal with. “The biggest challenge was figuring out how we could get this through zoning,” Kaufman says.

Before settling in place, the duo knew they needed space indoors and outdoors. On 10th Street the concept will be 3,500 square feet of indoor dog room and 2,500 square feet of outdoor dog room. On top of the indoor and outdoor indoor dog areas, there will be a restaurant and bar that will be separate but tailored to the dog areas.

Finding a place that would meet all these needs took some time. And then they had to go through the Sarasota County Department of Health to determine the logistics of allowing dogs to an institution that also serves alcohol.

“There’s just a lot of different rules that you have to get around,” Kaufman says. Although she and Boywin agree that navigating the county health department was the easiest part, though the couple reviewed about five drafts until the county signed them.

“They said,‘ If you build this, we’ll come, ’” Boyvin says of the building’s fifth plan. “So that’s what we’re building right now.”

Like any other construction project in the region, they faced challenges in finding labor and materials. “It was a headache, but we’re struggling with it,” Boyvin says.

Being himself on the construction site, Boyvin, the owner of Gator Creations, performed the demolition work early and supervised the rest of the work. During the demolition, Boyvin kept everything he could, including every 2×4 he shot off the walls.

“Some of the things I’ve recycled you can’t get today,” he says. “It’s good that I kept it all.”

Currently, Boywin says most of the construction is about 60% complete, rough inspections of plumbing and electrical engineering are beginning. Once they are completed, you can start laying drywall.

When Boo’s Ice House and Dog Bar opens in October, the restaurant will only be open for dinner and they will offer a kindergarten for dogs. Kaufman says they will eventually move on to lunch and brunch. There is room in future opportunities also to do good in society.

“We want to somehow include nonprofit rescue and shelters,” she says. “We will allow them a place to raise funds and parties.”

And further plans do not stop there.

“We have a dream to make Boo’s backyard, ideally near Interstate 75 and the Frutville area,” Kaufman says, adding, “it would be a different model.”

A possible future model would include a larger area for running dogs, while a downtown location is more suitable for community reunion.

“We like that it stimulates people’s socialization,” she says. “Dogs don’t care what it looks like.”

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