Hops & Bottles has customer service licked.
While you're browsing the 15 cooler doors filled with 370-plus varieties of beer, Barley Sieber, co-owner of the new bottle shop at 1420 W. Grove St., likes to sneak up and nuzzle your hand.
It's a nice touch. Especially since Barley is a Golden Retriever.
Human bottle shop owner Mark Sieber isn't quite that affectionate. But he is pretty doggone friendly — especially to fellow canine parents who want to bring their pooches into the store.
"People love their pets like we love our beers," he says.
Sieber moved back to Boise recently after living in Seattle for nine years. He's following his passion for craft beer by opening a Downtown Boise bottle shop.
"Why not do something you love for a living?" he says.
Hops & Bottles combines a casual pub atmosphere with the extensive selection of a specialty retail store. There are 21 taps; 18 serve beer, two serve wine and one serves Cafe Mule nitro cold brew. Drafts pours generally come in 5- and 16-ounce sizes. Growler fills also are available. A bar and tables provide space for sitting, sipping and socializing. There's also an outdoor patio.
If you'd rather enjoy a bottle or can — or a bottle of wine — grab it off a shelf and drink it for a $1 corkage fee. That buck balances out the on-site cost of drinking alcohol on tap versus drinking it from a can or bottle, Sieber says. On opening day Tuesday, customers paid 68 corkage fees. "We're not discouraging that by any means, but we want them to experience some of the draft beers as well," he explains.
Sieber predicts many beer buyers will stop by for a six-pack to take home, then hang around for a pint or two.
To keep pets happy while owners sip brews, Hops & Bottles offers two dog beds. And dog biscuits. (Humans will find a food truck parked outside, depending on time and day.)
Three water bowls will quench pets' thirst. And remember, dogs drink free.
"Exactly," Sieber says, laughing. "Kids are not welcome. Dogs are!
"Yesterday was great," he adds. "We had about 10 dogs in here at one time. They own the place. It was pretty fun."