Culture, Community, and Carmichaels: The Dog House Lounge

There’s a lot to like about the Dog House Lounge and one of the best things is that a visit there is full of choices. So many appetizers to choose from, more than a dozen sauces to coat your crispy chicken wings in, eight types of their famous Carmichael burger, and the list goes on and on. You could stop by once a week for a year and try something new each time. And that’s the way the owner and staff like it. They are all enthusiastic about what they do, who they serve, and what the Dog House Lounge means to so many people in Dubuque.

Although there’s been a bar at this location for as long as most people can remember, the Dog House came into existence in 1971. There have been a couple of owners since its inception, and the current one, Dusty Rogers, has embraced all that the Dog House is and has jumped in with both feet to breathe new life into an already thriving establishment. With professional baseball in his background, combined with food service management, Dusty is the perfect person to lead this team.

Dusty’s connection to The Dog House Lounge runs deep, having been a regular patron for over 20 years before taking the helm. At the time of his purchase of the business, he was already busy with his baseball/softball academy and the Dubuque Sports Complex and had no desire to own a bar. The story goes that the employees approached the owner, Sheri, with concerns that the wrong person could buy the business and not maintain important Dog House traditions. She called Dusty asking if he was interested and the rest is history. The purchase included five rental units and three houses along with all of the surrounding property which he also manages under Dusty Rogers Realty.

Dusty has kept the core traditions of The Dog House Lounge intact while introducing several improvements to the menu. The menu items are an amalgamation of classic pub fare and creative options. Appetizers like fried pickles, cheese curds, french fries, onion rings, pretzel bites, and loaded nachos arrive promptly in red plastic baskets lined with wax paper. It’s unpretentious but undeniably delicious.

The Famous Carmichael Burger

Two menu items stand out as crown jewels: the wings and the Carmichael burgers. The wings are a generous size, crispy, and smothered in a variety of sauces and rubs. Whether you prefer a classic buffalo or something with a fiery kick, you won’t be disappointed. The Carmichael burger is a staple at the Dog House. It’s a ⅓ pound double patty of juicy ground beef with cheese stuffed in the middle. There’s a special seasoning on the burger and it’s served with chips on the side or a generous portion of thin, crispy fries for an additional $3. With eight mouthwatering variations, there’s a Carmichael burger to satisfy every palate, from the classic American to the over-the-top Gut Bomb.

If wings and burgers don’t tickle your taste buds, the Dog House Lounge offers a wide range of alternatives. The menu features sandwiches such as the Club, Grilled or Fried Chicken, Fried Cod, BLT, and Hot Ham and Cheese. For those looking for a Tex-Mex twist, the Chicken Quesadilla is a popular choice. You can also savor the classics with a Hot Dog, with or without chili. Tacos, salads, and soup add to the menu’s variety.

Weekly specials include $1 Wings every Monday, and if a deal on wings isn’t enough to entice you to stop by, they have free pool every Monday after 6 pm as well. And speaking of playing pool, there are both pool and dart leagues to join, as well as everything from golf outings to community events such as softball, bowling, and dragon boat leagues and tournaments. Beyond the pool cues and dartboards, the Dog House Lounge is deeply committed to supporting Dubuque and its people. They donate all their cans to local charities, host and support the Black Men Coalition group, and facilitate events like the Dubuque Fighting Saints Coaches Show on Tuesday nights. They even go the extra mile by helping promote charitable events within the bar and supporting other local organizations. The Dubuque community is at the heart of everything they do.

Owner Dusty Rogers and General Manager Logan Klinge.

Of course, running a bar and restaurant takes a lot of people. The employees at the Dog House all seem to love what they do and it shows in the welcome that everyone receives when they walk in the door, the attentiveness of the servers and bartenders, and the laid back vibe that brings people back again and again. Added to this, the Dog House never closes. It’s open 365 days of the year and serves food until 1am every day. Logan Klinge, the General Manager, plays a pivotal role in the bar’s day-to-day operations. Not only is he a great manager, but he has worked at the bar for ten years, and his knowledge and friendliness are a huge benefit.

Dusty can’t say enough about the fantastic culture that permeates the Dog House Lounge. “The culture inside the bar is unique! The management and bartenders are personable, professional, but at the same time very outgoing and friendly. We all genuinely care about each other and our customers. You can see anyone from 21-91 years of age in the bar, and the atmosphere is second to none.”

The future of the Dog House Lounge promises even more exciting changes. Dusty plans to remodel the game room area, expand seating, renovate the bathrooms, and upgrade the kitchen. These improvements will allow more room for the capacity crowds that they are currently experiencing. Dusty anticipates a Grand Re-Opening in February or March 2024. The remodel and expansion will usher in a new era for The Dog House Lounge, while preserving the traditions that have made it a Dubuque icon for decades.

In a world of constant change, The Dog House Lounge stands as proof of the power of tradition and the spirit of community. With Dusty Rogers at the helm, this iconic establishment continues to evolve, while maintaining a welcoming atmosphere for patrons of all ages. There’s no doubt that the Dog House Lounge’s legacy is in good hands, ensuring its place as a cherished Dubuque institution for generations to come.

The Dog House Lounge

1646 Asbury Road
(563) 556-7611

Open 7 days a week, 11 am – 2 am

Follow them on Facebook for specials and events at

Photos Credits:

The photo of Dusty and Logan was contributed by Teri Link. All other photos were contributed by the Dog House.

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