Skiptown, a sprawling indoor/outdoor dog park and bar with beer, cocktails, and a dog-friendly “beer” on tap is opening Monday, August 24. Think of it like the “Whitewater Center for dogs in the middle of South End,” CEO and founder Meggie Williams says.
Four years ago, Williams founded Skipper as a modern dog-walking company that allows pet parents to book and monitor visits through an app. The brand has since expanded and opened daycare facilities in various Charlotte apartment complexes.
Skiptown marks Williams’ latest expansion. With its opening, the Skipper brand is being absorbed into Skiptown. All of the company’s services — dog walking, boarding, daycare, and access to the dog park and bar — will be accessible via the Skiptown app.
And Williams isn’t stopping here. She already has expansion plans for the tech-enabled dog park and bar concept to open in cities like Nashville, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C.
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The set-up: Skiptown is designed as “a country club-style retreat for dogs and a casual hangout for humans.”
Covering 24,000-square-feet of indoor space and 15,000-square-feet of outdoor space, Skiptown will feature a splash pad, turf with cooling capability, shaded areas, seating, plenty of space for dogs to run, and a section for small dogs. It’ll also have TVs, a U-shaped bar with 25 taps, dog-themed murals from local artists, and a rotating food truck.
“The whole space is built so it’s enjoyable for dogs, enjoyable for people, and enjoyable for dogs and people together,” Williams says.
Attached to the dog park and bar is a 13,000-square-foot private daycare and boarding facility with cushy paw-approved flooring, “Tempurpedic” bed upgrades, and kennel-free boarding options.
There’s also a bathing zone where you can get your dog bathed while you enjoy a cocktail or take advantage of the self-service option and wash your dog yourself.
How it works: All Skiptown guests must register through the Skiptown app, even if you don’t have a dog. If you have a dog, you can purchase a day pass ($15), a monthly pass ($40/month), or an annual membership. The limited number of founding memberships are available until Friday, August 21 for $280 a year. That cost then increases to $350.
Every dog will get a profile within the app so that Skiptown can verify vaccination records and more. Once guests are in the app, they’ll go through the “fast lane” for entry. Another benefit of becoming a member: All the dogs of founding members will be painted on Skiptown’s wall in a mural by local artist Sydney Duarte.
Skiptown is totally free for humans without a dog to enter. Every month Skiptown will host adoption days so you may not be solo for long.
The app: Everything at Skiptown will run through the app — scheduling a dog walk, overnight boarding, and even ordering a drink. The app is free to download and is available for iOS and Android.
Coronavirus impact: Williams says with more people home during the coronavirus pandemic, dog walking services have seen decreased demand. This business hit forced Williams to pour more energy into the new Skiptown brand and think about anything and everything a dog owner might want in a space like this.
For example, Skiptown’s barking spots — a dedicated space to “park” your dog while you use the restroom. Genius.
Even during these challenging times, Williams says, “Our love for dogs isn’t going away. We’re here for it.”
Because Skiptown is a pet care services facility, it is cleared to open under current statewide coronavirus mandates.
Neighborhood: Skiptown, located at 222 Rampart Street, is in the middle of apartment-dense South End. That’s by design, Williams says. Apartment dwelling dog owners are often looking for more space for their pets. In just a 15-minute walk of Skiptown, there are 5,000 apartments — about half of which are pet households.
Construction is still wrapping up at Skiptown, but here’s a quick look around:
Here’s what the space will look like once completed: