A year after opening, Bardo brews — and Bar Dog rules

WASHINGTON — Most restaurants and bars employ a host to greet guests, and Bardo — a brewery and beer garden in Northeast D.C. — is no exception. But Bardo’s host is different from most — he has four furry legs and a wagging tail, and his name is Bar Dog.

“This is his domain. He doesn’t like to leave,” says Bill Stewart, co-owner of Bardo. Stewart adopted Bar Dog, an Australian cattle dog, from West Virginia at about the same time he and his brother Andrew opened the brewery in D.C.’s Trinidad neighborhood.

Bar Dog’s job isn’t limited to welcoming guests: He frequently tweets to announce the brewery’s specials and he entertains other dogs at Bardo (yes, you can bring your dog). He’s also the brewery’s security guard.

“He lives here day and night,” Stewart says. “He knows when the gate is locked, it’s his domain. If you climb the fence in the middle of the night, you have to talk to Bar Dog. It probably isn’t going to be a good conversation, either.”

Unlike other breweries in D.C., Bardo is an outdoor operation. It’s in a formerly vacant lot on Bladensburg Road — so Bar Dog’s patrol role is an important one.

“We like the outside,” Stewart says. “And really, in D.C., there are not many vacant lots left. So there’s really not much outside area, unless you’re in a park. And you can’t drink in those.”

Stewart says last year, a few guys climbed the fence and attempted to take a few things from the brewery, but Bar Dog “chewed them up.”

“I guess word got out, because we haven’t had a problem since,” Stewart says.

Bar Dog promotes Bardo’s specials on Twitter:


And entertains other dogs on the weekends:


During the week, Bar Dog spends his days napping and shadowing Stewart, who gets to the brewery between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. to brew and/or maintain the property. The brewing responsibility is a new one, though. Despite opening last year, Bardo only received the OK from the District to brew last month.

For the last 12 months, they’ve been serving other craft beers on draft. The Stewarts are now making pale ale, ginger beer, an IPA, an imperial stout and more — many of which are recipes resurrected from Bardo’s first go-round in the