Located near Portland, Fido’s is just like any other bar at first glance — there are forty taps pouring local and regional beers, wine, and cider, plenty of seating, and a menu filled with classic bar food like wings and pizza. Unlike other bars, however, is the room filled with rollicking small dogs and puppies. The dogs are on-site to play with patrons, and are available to be adopted.
Owner and entrepreneur Scott Porter was originally inspired by cat cafes. A friend approached him a few years ago with an idea to open a tap room, but Porter declined, noting after some research that Portland already had many, and they all looked the same. A few months later, he saw a cat cafe and had an aha moment. “I saw what they were doing, and saw some things I wouldn’t do,” he tells Lonely Planet. “For one thing, the patrons were interacting with cats, but they’re independent. They like to be left alone.” On the other hand, dogs don’t usually pose the same problem. “If I could combine adoptable dogs in a tap room, that would really be something.”
So Porter expanded on the typical tap room and envisioned a place where people could come in to have a beer and connect with a dog they might eventually adopt. A visit to the Fido room is US$4(£2.86) for 30 minutes, and allows guests to play and interact with the puppies. He partnered with Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals, a local organization that supports shelters and facilitates adoptions.
Founder and Executive Director Cathy Nechak helps transport, screen, and manage the dogs for Porter, and a portion of the proceeds from Fido’s Room goes to the charity, as well as other nonprofits that focus on dogs. Fido’s is also decorated with pictures and paintings that are meant to inspire people to appreciate the four-legged friends and the value they bring to society, and hosts dog-centric events.
So far, visitors love the idea. “People love dogs here,” says Porter. “They come in and sit all day at the window and watch the dogs play.”