It’s been awhile since my man Fred and I got together.
We couldn’t be more different, me and Fred. I’m the kinda guy who hides under the couch when the doorbell rings, but Fred? Fred is too chill. He’s soft and Muppet-like. He’s the kind of dog who sleeps all splayed out like a chicken. Ear hair flopped over onto his forehead like it’s supposed to be there. He’s only got one eye, and he doesn’t like to talk about it. So, yeah, we don’t talk about it.
Like I said, it’s been awhile and Fred’s looking to make a night of it. We hit up North Loop brewpub Freehouse, the hottest club in the four-legged world on account of its dog-friendly and scritch-happy wait staff. They regularly team with puppy promoter/Zagat Sidewalk Dog to throw parties, and after a pair of weather delays, Fred and I finally make our way to their patio for some public bro time.
The patio is nice. It’s well-shaded and secluded from the busy street. The big brewing tanks make it smell like old cereal (a favorite), and the trees make it feel like the kinda place a good boy could really make a pee pee.
But before we can even tangle our leashes on a barstool, there’s a line. Freehouse is nice enough to fill a pool for us while we wait, and I meet a bathing beauty named Petunia while I try figure out whether that water’s for splashin’ or drinkin’. After a while, I start to realize why I stopped clubbing after I got neutered.
When we finally get a table, the aisles are packed with randos. A pointy-faced doberman with eyes the color of asparagus. A pair of Malteses barking at every ankle that passes. It’s a lot to take in. I lick myself therapeutically. But Fred is placid. Like jello. He shoves his one-eyed face right into the butt plumage of a shiba inu. Maybe that’s how he lost the eye.
Freehouse doesn’t normally have happy hour on the patio, but having a furry face will earn you a lot of exceptions. For the sapiens, Freehouse offers a trio of cocktails (all $9) that benefit Sidewalk Dog. If you’re like me and you possess a digestive system that can handle tube socks but will collapse at the first whiff of vodka, you’ll pass and order up a doggy brew (chicken broth, $1).
It’s obviously a popular choice, so I have to bark off a bro-y pitbull who tries to move in on my bowl. Fred ignores his. He’s not really about that life. He just wants to plug himself into the undercarriage of every labrador and bulldog who ambles by. What a guy.
I don’t know how he does it. For most of the yappy hour, I cower under a high-top, hoping my dumbass dad will drop some trout dip. It doesn’t happen. Fred turns down a treat from a lady with a camera. I eat two.
The humans pick up the check and I bury myself in my human’s leg crease. I try to be cool but it’s stressful out here. Like Fourth of July or trying to poop in the thunder. Obviously, the humans are into it — everyone walks around crouching, scritching every pair of ears they can get their hands on — but the dogs are mostly on edge. Except Fred, whose tongue hangs out of his head like an old sock.
As we walk out, I wonder what it must be like to be so chill. He pees on a clump of weeds in the parking lot, and then I pee on it, too. It’s about the only thing we share.
701 N. Washington Ave., Minneapolis