Dog-friendly tavern opening doors in Janesville

Share on Facebook Comments Comments Print Print
Tom Miller
June 30, 2015

JANESVILLE—Walking the dog might take a different route from now on.

Greg Hughes, who is part owner in both Bazinga and GameDay bars in Janesville, and a group of investor friends—most with Janesville ties—have purchased Spirits from Jeff and Nancy Hassinger. While the building will basically remain the same, the name and the back of the bar will change.

The business will be Barkley's Burgers, Brews, and Dawgs. It will open Thursday.

No, the place is not named after Charles Barkley, who Hughes knows from his days working in Atlanta for Turner Broadcasting and now with NBC in New York City.

“I did tell him about it,” Hughes said of the now NBA analyst. “He laughed and said, 'I like that.'”

The name reflects the theme of the bar—dogs. Barkley is the dog butler in the sitcom “Modern Family.”

Plans include a dog park behind the bar. Dog owners will be urged to bring their pets to Barkley's. The animals can play while their owners dine and drink, watching the dog park on a TV monitor inside the bar.

Patrons can purchase memberships for their dogs. In return, each dog registered will get a water bowl and tag. The dogs will get a treat for each visit, and owners can bring a framed 4-by-6 photo of their pets for the bar wall.

There will be a dog of the week, and other related activities. Live music will be a regular feature.

Hughes got the idea for a dog-theme bar while being around his dog at his Atlanta residence and seeing dog-themed bars in New York.

While Hughes and other owners had to spend a lot of money remodeling GameDay and Bazinga, no such work will be needed at Spirits.

“The Hassingers are great people,” Hughes said. “I consider them friends and people who have done a lot for the city.”

Hughes grew up in Janesville. He played for a softball team sponsored by the Corner Bar, which the Hassingers owned at the time.

“I'm a Janesville guy, and I have many great friends, family and memories here.”

Janesville resident and part owner Al Meehan will manage the bar.

“We've done well in the Fourth Ward with GameDay,” Hughes said. “We're doing well on the south side with Bazinga. We want to bring the same type of family place with fun, great food and quality to the west side.

“The Hassingers gave us a great head start.”

Hughes and his 10 other investors plan to have a grand opening weekend Sept. 11-13.

A revamped food menu will be offered.

Hughes is excited about his group's new acquisition.

“Our philosophy is 'You can't get this anywhere else,'” Hughes said. “We want to be a great Janesville destination.”

Share on Facebook Comments Comments Print Print