L.A.’s First Canine Social Club Set to Open

Pups rule at Santa Monica's Dog Ppl, a dog park-slash-lounge with delights for pets and humans alike.
L.A.'s First Canine Social Club Set to Open
Rendering: Official

At Los Angeles’ premiere canine social club Dog Ppl, it’s a dog’s world. Literally.

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“The way that it works is that the dogs are the members, and the humans are the guests,” co-owner Alexander Esguerra told What Now Los Angeles. “We put a little spin on it like that.”

The members-only dog social club, slated to open at the end of August at 1338 5th Street in the heart of Santa Monica, is part lounge, part cafe and part dog park — and 100% pup friendly, right down to the menu.

“Everything we will be serving will be all dog safe, embracing the fact,” Liam Underwood, co-owner, said. “Think ‘pup’-pusas, made with all dog-safe ingredients.”

Humans will enjoy coffee, beer and wine as well as food supplied by NBRHD Kitchens. The club will also sell branded merchandise, like t-shirts, along with dog products and treats. Dog Ppl recently closed its Founders Club membership drive and is currently selling pre-order memberships to the club, which cover a single dog and as many as three humans. Subscriptions are $80 per month on a month-by-month basis or $55 a month annually. Up to three dogs can be added to a single membership for additional fees, though the club will approve more on a case-by-case basis. Non-members will be able to purchase day passes if capacity allows.

The cost covers access to a meticulously cleaned 10,500-square-foot turfed area with a hydrant mister, tires and unlimited tennis balls, according to Dog Ppl’s website. For humans, there are covered bleachers with USB chargers, a blanket rack, and free wifi. Members also get access to exclusive events, like movie nights and fitness classes. The dogs are monitored at all times by “Rufferees,” employees trained in healthy socializing between different breeds and sizes.

Esguerra and Underwood are banking on the growing community of dog lovers in L.A. to help their business thrive, along with the fact that there aren’t many good options for city pups to roam. Dog parks are frequently less-than-safe for canines, Underwood pointed out.

“One exposure to bacteria in a dog park can equal a years worth of membership in vet bills,” Underwood said. “It’s all around not the best place.”

Esguerra envisions a place where pups and their human parents can socialize freely, without having to worry about carrying an expensive illness home from the dog park. He also hopes Dog Ppl can solve an old dilemma: Do we have to leave the dog at home?

“You feel kind of guilty when you leave your house because you have to make the decision between hanging out with your human counterparts and hanging out with your dogs,” Esguerra said. “Now you don’t have to choose.”

Helen Floersh

Helen Floersh is a writer based in Los Angeles. She previously was a staff reporter at the San Fernando Valley Business Journal, where she covered retail, hospitality, health care and biotechnology.
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