River Dogs & Growlers opens in Washougal

Craft beer and bottle shop serves hot dogs

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One of the owners of a new business in downtown Washougal describes that city as “loyal, friendly, family oriented and down to earth.”

Erin Bryant, her husband, Aaron, and their business partner, Matt Feldmar opened River Dogs & Growlers on Aug. 19.

Erin described it as a beer centric bar, that happens to sell hot dogs.

Boneyard Armored Fist Double CDA, Breakside IPA and Buoy Oatmeal Stout, from Bend, Portland and Astoria, Oregon, respectively, are currently on tap, but the selection changes. The beer tenders are also pouring Double Mountain Kolsch, from Hood River, Oregon; Ecliptic Spica Hefepils, of Portland; and Georgetown Lucille IPA, from Seattle.

Growlers can be purchased at River Dogs or brought in from elsewhere to be filled. A variety of bottled and canned beer, as well as 7-Up and Mexican Coca-Cola, are available to drink on site or to go. Hard cider options include peach, pear and lavender/black currant.

The current wine selection includes Wild Haven Blazing Red and Chardonnay, from Walla Walla, Washington. The bar serves customers 21 and older.

Erin Bryant said she is hoping to obtain permits that would enable people younger than 21 to purchase hot dogs and chips from a to-go window.

“We are also working on getting permits for outside seating and hoping this can accommodate families with kids as well,” she said.

The variety of hot dog toppings includes ketchup, mustard, macaroni and cheese, chopped onions, dill relish, tomatoes, bacon, lettuce, barbecue sauce and Frito crumbles.

Side dishes include vegetables and ranch dip, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw and “Frito pie” with Fritos, chili, cheese sauce and chopped onions.

There are three flat screen TVs, to watch Mariners, Seahawks and Timbers games.

“We are huge NFL football fans so we carry NFL network, along with the NBA, MLB and NHL networks,” Erin said. “We will have events year round as we get going, revolving around sporting events.”

A “12th Man” banner hangs from the ceiling of River Dogs.

The bar is made with reclaimed wood from a 95-year-old barn in Battle Ground. The dining tables are desks previously used in an Oregon elementary school, with drawers containing Crayons and sketch books.

The River Dogs space has been renovated. Older, collectible beer bottles are tucked into cutouts of the brickwork.

Games available to play on site include UNO and Apples to Apples.

“It’s a place to hang out,” said beer tender Ashley Brown. “You can eat lunch and watch a Mariners game.”

Books to read at the bar include “Best of Europe,” by Rick Steves, and “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” by Hunter S. Thompson.

River Dogs T-shirts and metal sculptures of salmon, created by Steve Hansen, of Vancouver, are available to purchase.

Erin said she and the other two business owners have never owned a bar before, but they all have food service and/or beer industry experience. She has been a teacher for eight years, including the 2014-15 school year at Skyridge Middle School, in Camas.

The Bryants moved to Vancouver more than a year ago.

“We happened upon Washougal during trips out to Hood River and fell in love,” Erin said. “We love how much the community has welcomed us and supported us.

“We both moved from small towns up north outside of Puyallup, and it felt like home to us,” she added. “We also saw a need around town for more sports and beer centric bars on this side of the river.”

River Dogs & Growlers, 1801 Main St., is open daily, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Happy Hour is daily, from 2 to 5 p.m. During the regular NFL season, the bar will open Sundays, at 10 a.m. For more information, call 844-6522, email info@riverdogsandgrowlers.com or visit www.riverdogsandgrowlers.com.