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Launched in 2014 by journalist Sean Baker, Med City Beat is an independent news source covering government, business and culture in Rochester, Minnesota.

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Last call at the Doggery

Last call at the Doggery

The Doggery — Rochester's acclaimed speakeasy-style cocktail lounge — closed up shop over the weekend. Its final day of business was Saturday.

The bar, owned by Aynsley Jones, had operated in the basement of 18 3rd Street Southwest for the past five years. Known for its ambiance and attention to craft, it had been a fixture in Rochester's nightlife scene.

The Doggery's closure will pave the way for a new establishment from the owners of the property, including John Pacchetti. In an email Monday, Pacchetti said he could not share plans for the space — only that the logo of the new business will pay homage to the Doggery.

According to Pacchetti, the Doggery had been operating under a month-to-month lease since last September. He said Jones had been offered the opportunity to renew his lease for the space, but declined.

The two parties later discussed an agreement that would have allowed Jones to stay on with the new venture. However, talks folded in the 11th hour due to personal differences. Pacchetti cited the failed negotiations and increased competition downtown as factors contributing to the Doggery's closure.

Pacchetti said the current ownership group  — which also includes Scott Hoss and Emily Botten — had been supportive of the Doggery for many years and "has dealt with many things that any other landlord would have simply not put up with — only because we liked [Jones] so much."

Jones declined our request for comment, but later told the Post-Bulletin's Jeff Kiger that the closure was “more of a personal decision than a business decision," though according to the report, he acknowledged the Doggery's revenues had dropped over the past couple years.

"It’s more a feeling of relief for me,” he told the paper. “Running a bar like The Doggery is grueling … It’s a lot of hard work.” 

During its run, the Doggery won numerous awards and was one of the few local establishments to earn a reputation outside of Rochester. It also set the bar — no pun intended — for every downtown hangout that followed it.

Plans for its replacement are expected to be revealed in the coming months. The downstairs level also includes FireFly fitness studio, which is owned by Sarah Pacchetti, John's wife. However, we are told the studio will not be affiliated with the new business moving into the Doggery space.

Story updated 5.29.18

Cover courtesy 9.SQUARE

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