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A local dog pub holds its first “Barktoberfest” event

The Barktoberfest festivities included a photo booth with Oktoberfest-inspired costumes for dogs. (Scarlett Cooney/WUFT News)
The Barktoberfest festivities included a photo booth with Oktoberfest-inspired costumes for dogs. (Scarlett Cooney/WUFT News)

German food, beer and lots of dogs can only mean one thing in Gainesville on a Friday – Barktoberfest.

Lebowski’s Pup Pub held its first “Barktoberfest” event this week in a fun spin on the annual German festival Oktoberfest. The event was a space for humans and dogs alike to socialize.

Co-owner of Lebowski’s Clara Edwards said the idea for this event first sprouted in June.

“It’s such a fun time in general ... and we just added a spin – dogs,” Edwards said.

The event drew around 30 people and at least 15 dogs of all different breeds and sizes, from puggles and pit bulls to beagles and schnauzers.

New and regular customers enjoyed German beer at Lebowski’s full bar that included a pup-friendly photo booth. 

Rachel Hickey, owner of Mom’s OG on West University Avenue, has been supporting Lebowski's since it opened in December 2021. She has been coming with her dog, Rolo, since it opened.

Hickey noted that she thought the event was a cute spin on the traditional Oktoberfest.

“I’ve never seen another dog bar do anything like this,” Hickey said.

She said one of her favorite things about Lebowski’s is its strong community. She mentioned even people without dogs can come and be welcomed by the staff and dog owners.

Staff member Gregg Cee said what makes Lebowski’s truly different is the freedom the dogs have. He noted that in many places, dogs and their owners are confined to a patio.

“Here, dogs can run around off-leash,” Cee said. “They can be a dog.”

While the dogs got to know each other, their owners did the same.

This is a regular occurrence for Lebowski’s, which holds several events, including movie nights, dog yoga and Christmas pet photos with Santa. Additional weekly breed meetups provide an opportunity for dogs to play with others of the same breed and for owners to share experiences and ask questions.

Lebowski’s biggest event, “Bark-o-ween,” is coming up at the end of the month.

“Any excuse to get dressed up, get the photo booth out and get dogs in costumes,” Edwards said.

She said she has every intention of making Barktoberfest an annual event.

Scarlett is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing