Bark Social expands to Alexandria with Barkhaus deal

Pets and their owners enjoy the company at Del Ray's Barkhaus in in Alexandria, Va. It is being acquired by Bark Social. (Courtesy Barkhaus)

Bark Social — an off-leash dog park for dogs and a bar for their human parents — is expanding with the acquisition of Barkhaus, a similar dog park and bar, in Alexandria, Virginia’s Del Ray neighborhood.

Bark Social, which has billed itself as the first social club for dogs and their owners, is in expansion mode, with locations currently in Bethesda, Baltimore and Philadelphia. Others are planned for Columbia, Maryland, and a pair of locations in Los Angeles.

Bark Social was founded in 2019. Barkhaus was launched in 2020.

Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but the owners of Barkhaus approached Bark Social owners about buying their business.

“We’ve always been close to the Bark Social team, and I know that there is nobody better to carry on — and build upon — our dream for this location than them,” said Alex Benbassat, who co-founded Barkhaus with Justin LeGores.

The Del Ray location “will continue to be the best place in Alexandria for dogs and dog lovers, with some exciting new features coming soon,” Benbassat said.

New features will bring freshly trained “Bark Rangers” to keep dogs safe, a full calendar of events and a full bar that will include liquor in addition to current offerings.

Benbassat will stay on as an operating partner at the Del Ray Bark Social location.

Bark Social CEO Luke Silverman also said that the company’s chief operating officer, Charlene Lee, has been named a co-founder.

Bark Social said its locations have hosted 290,000 dogs since opening. The average member visits the park seven times a month and spends an average 78 minutes per visit.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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