Pooch perfect beers and wine will be on the menu at a dog-friendly coffee bar opening in a Derbyshire building empty for more than 30 years. The derelict shop on Bath Street, Ilkeston, has previously been a butcher’s and an office for the Derby Telegraph.
It has now been transformed into Mad Dog – complete with a dog station equipped with wine, beer and herbal teas suitable for canines. And humans can enjoy coffee, tea, draft beers, craft ales and cocktails, cakes and sweet treats from Nikki Brown’s Arnold-based Brown Bird Bakery.
It is the brainchild of Amy Eyre, 41, who has previously worked in pubs. As a dog lover and dog owner, she always wanted to open a canine-friendly venue.
Read more: Brave Derbyshire woman suffered 18 life-changing operations
The mum-of-four, who has two cocker spaniels, six-year-old Zuma and two-year-old Blu, said: “When we would go out, we were always looking for places to take the dogs. This was something we always wanted to do, so it made sense to set up Mad Dog.”
Mad Dog, which has a rustic-inspired interior, has seating for 28 people inside, as well as an additional 16 in its covered archway, and seating in the rear. Amy, who is married to Ian and lives in Ilkeston, said she had her eye on the unit for a while and had looked at the site just as Covid hit.
She added: “Due to Covid, things took a bit longer than planned. The bottom end of Bath Street has been a bit rundown. It will be nice to bring some people to this end of town. We can’t wait to get up and running.”
Amy hopes the coffee bar – which has a tagline of “Coffee, Craft, Cocktails and Canines” – will bring some life back to that part of the town’s high street. The fitting-out of the site has been completed by West Hallam-based Finallo Group.
Ian Hodgkinson, who owns the unit, said: “I’m quite proud and grateful to be part of the revival of Ilkeston’s high street, and I am glad we have let the building to Mad Dog Cafe.” He said that once Amy and her husband approached him with their business idea, they were “prioritised” due to their dog-friendly element.
Ian, who also owns Derby-based Hodgkinson Builders, said: “We have had a number of retail units down there that are all fully let. Overall, we had a good response to the opportunity.”
Joe Cahill, from the Ilkeston’s independent shops Facebook Page, said the shop will be “the jewel in the crown” of that part of the high street, and that shopkeepers say they are looking forward to going for a drink there after work.
He also praised Ian for “gentrifying” the site. He said: “It just goes to prove that Ilkeston has got a lot of potential and vibrancy about it.”
Mark Richardson, of letting agent BB&J Commercial estate agent, helped to market the unit. He said: “Ian is a really good developer and we are pleased to have got the unit a really good tenant. I’m sure they will do really well. Bath Street seems to be on the up again and this all adds up to it bouncing back.”
Mad Dog will be open from 7am to 11pm Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 10pm on Sundays.
Sign up for our newsletters so you never miss an update on a place or topic you care about.