Despite the evidence that dogs are infinitely better than people, you can have dinner anywhere you want with a boring person. Not the case with your pet. Thankfully, most Chicago restaurants with outdoor patios do allow you to bring dogs - but some are much better than others. Here are 14 places where you’ll have lots of room to eat and drink with your real best friend - whether it’s a Saint Bernard, a Yorkie, or an abandoned Direwolf cub you recently found with your siblings.
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 12 of your friends, 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 patio at Parson’s is full of large picnic tables with oversized umbrellas, and you’ll find plenty of dogs underneath them taking advantage of the shade. Because unlike you trying to get a “base tan” before going to Cancun, dogs take the dangers of sunburn seriously. Food-wise, the fried chicken here is really good - and they make frozen negronis that you can grab at the outdoor bar, too.
Lost Larson is an all-day spot in Andersonville. It used to just be a bakery and cafe (with delicious pastries and bread), but now it also serves dinner, with really good dishes like Swedish meatballs, agnolotti, and roast chicken. There’s even a hidden back patio, so you can quit your job and spend all day hanging out here with your dog. Which, let’s face it, has been the plan for a while now.
The Wicker Park location of Big Star has a perfect patio for people - it’s large, with a great crowd, and you can sit out there for hours eating tacos and margaritas. But this place is ideal for dogs, too, which is why you’re bound to see a lot of them. 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, heated outdoor area that’s decorated like a retro trailer park (yes, really - with pink flamingos and swingsets), and it’s technically considered a patio, even though it feels like it’s indoors. 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.
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 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. And since this place is a great destination for friends from the suburbs, feel free to bring any dogs who went to school out in Schaumburg, and found someone to cover their shift at Woodfield Mall.
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.
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, a bocce ball court, and a back bar so you never have to go all the way inside. In fact, it’s a lot like hanging out at a backyard party, only here if your dog poops you really have to clean it up.
There are two locations of Antique Taco - one in Wicker Park and one in Bridgeport. Both have patios and a menu full of tasty tacos on handmade tortillas, but the Bridgeport location’s outdoor space is much larger. It has picnic tables that can fit groups, so if your friends from puppy kindergarten class want to get fish tacos after class, this is where to go. Order the elotes, too.
We tend to primarily think of hanging out with our dogs outside during the summer. But what if you have a husky, or a Burmese? Those dogs can handle cold weather, so bring them with you to Park & Field. The outdoor space here has multiple fire pits you can use year-round. Grab a blanket to stay warm when it’s chilly out, and your fluffy dog can sit beside you and judge the greyhound wearing a $21,000 Canada Goose coat.
This is a versatile spot in Hyde Park that serves great American food, but has other things going for it, too, like a huge outdoor patio and an upstairs music venue. While you probably shouldn’t take your dog to a concert here even if they’re over three (a.k.a 21 in dog years), you can definitely bring them to dinner if you sit outside. You’re here for house dishes like pierogi ravioli and prawns dejonghe, but you can also get a great cheeseburger.
The food at Public House in River North isn’t anything you’re going to change your schedule around. But it’s solid (they have great nachos, mac and cheese, and basically anything else that checks the bar food boxes), and the space is loud, fun, and a good choice for upbeat day drinking. There’s also a separate food menu just for your dog, involving things like a burger patty and special dog-friendly dairy-free ice cream. Just don’t expect him to drive you home - you’ll probably need to find a dog-friendly Uber.