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Austin-area bar and dog park closing due to 'devastating' impact of pandemic

Doghouse Drinkery and Dog Park in Leander is closing permanently because of the “devastating effects” brought on by the pandemic.

AUSTIN, Texas — CULTUREMAP - It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, especially in the time of COVID-19. Yet another locally owned business, an Austin-area dog park and bar, is having to turn tail in light of the pandemic.

Doghouse Drinkery and Dog Park in Leander is closing permanently because of the “devastating effects” brought on by the pandemic. Its last day in business will be November 29.

“It is with my most sincere and utmost regret and sadness that I have to announce that the Doghouse Drinkery and Dog Park will be closing permanently,” co-owner Natasha Muniz said in a statement issued on the company’s website November 16. “Due to COVID … I am not able to remain open. I have tried so hard to make it work so as not to disappoint our patrons and have my own dreams fail, but my individual efforts were not enough without further compromising my own livelihood.”

Like many other area businesses, the bar and dog park was forced to close temporarily early in the pandemic but reopened in late May with additional safety measures. By the end of July, Muniz says Doghouse was informed by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission that it was required to close until further notice, though the business was able to reopen with normal hours in mid-October.

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Originally opened in late 2012, Doghouse charmed humans and dogs alike with its bar, game room, and off-leash park, allowing dog lovers to sip beer and socialize while Fido had free rein to play and run.  

Though the hurdles of the pandemic will shutter Doghouse later this month, the business is getting a little puppy love from loyal patrons in the form of a GoFundMe page, which has raised $7,216 of its $10,000 goal, though it’s unclear whether the fundraiser will enable Muniz to reopen the concept at a later date and location. 

“I’m hopeful this is not goodbye forever but goodbye for now,” her website post to patrons reads, “and I’m looking forward to new beginnings and what the future holds for me and the possibility of reuniting with you all and your amazing dogs again.”

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