If there is one relationship that’s flourished during quarantine, it’s the one with your dog. And now that we can all finally leave the house, you can’t imagine hanging out without them. Thankfully, most of Chicago’s reopened outdoor restaurants allow you to bring dogs - but some work better than others. Here are the best places where you’ll have lots of room to eat and drink with your real best friend.
The Moonlighter has an extensive menu of bar food like waffle fries, nachos, and burgers, and all of those things are perfectly fine. But the real reason to come here is for the huge outdoor space that has plenty of room for you, all your friends sitting six feet apart, and your dog. In fact, your dog will have enough space to fall in love, steal a cheeseburger, and have her heart broken, all without you even noticing.
The Wicker Park location of Big Star has a perfect patio for people - it’s large and you can sit out there for hours eating tacos and drinking margaritas. But this place is ideal for dogs too, which is why you’re bound to see a lot of them here. Just be aware that if your pup is skittish, the nearby train tracks might trigger some Cruella de Vil flashbacks.
This pizza spot in Wicker Park has a covered outdoor area that’s decorated like a retro trailer park (yes, really - with pink flamingos and swingsets). This means you can enjoy the crowd-pleasing pizzas and cocktails with your dog by your side, and it doesn’t even need to be nice out.
Some places need the addition of good company to be enjoyable. Mott St. doesn’t - it’s a great spot with fantastic food all on its own. But you’ll probably like it even better when you eat on the large fenced-in patio with your dog. It’s quiet and serene, so it’s an ideal place for shy dogs who don’t really like noise and loud traffic. Plus, the Asian fusion food is delicious - try the kimchi empanadas or the catfish claypot.
Saint Lou’s serves upscale cafeteria-style food (like meatloaf and sides), but there’s nothing institutional about the back patio. It’s an awesome space with picnic tables, round tables under umbrellas, and a back bar so you never have to go all the way inside.
While it’s fun to sit at lunch or dinner with your Shih-Poobradoodle beside you, the guilt starts to mount as Captain Olivia watches you shovel food into your face. That won’t happen at Siena Tavern, which has a separate patio menu just for dogs. So she can have chicken breast cooked in olive oil, while you have a wagyu meatball, lobster in squid ink pasta, and a big piece of cheesecake. It’s not quite even, but she’ll still be pretty excited.
Bar Siena is the more casual, bar-like West Loop version of Siena Tavern. This means they have a similar food menu meant for dogs to eat on the outdoor patio. So come here for delicious pizza and pasta, while your dog has a hamburger patty.
There are two locations of Antique Taco - one in Wicker Park and one in Bridgeport. Both have dog-friendly patios and a menu full of tasty tacos on handmade tortillas, but the Bridgeport location’s outdoor space is much larger. So if the untrained puppy you adopted during quarantine still runs around like an unchecked id with sharp little teeth, this is where you want to be.
Park + Field in Logan Square is less of an outdoor patio and more of an outdoor empire. The space is gigantic with tables, Adirondack chairs, multiple firepits (where you can make s’mores), and a camper-turned-bar. If you want an outdoor place to hang with your dog for hours, this spot has you covered.
Formento’s is a big West Loop Italian restaurant with very good housemade pasta. It has a quiet atmosphere, and it’s on a stretch of Randolph that doesn’t have the same heavy car and foot traffic as the busier parts of the neighborhood. So if you and another single friend decide to arrange a “wedding” for your respective dogs, come here to plan it over rigatoni and a glass of wine.
Recess is another huge patio spot that’s practically an empire. So if your dog is the canine equivalent of a tiger and needs at least 1300 square miles of land to roam by itself, this is an excellent option.