My fiancé and I, like many New Yorkers, rescued a COVID puppy. She’s still working on her puppy manners but we’ve successfully gone out to dinner outside a few times. Any recommendations for good outdoor dining that’s not directly on the street (she’s easily distracted and extremely friendly) and dog-friendly?
Preferably the Midtown East / Murray Hill area but we’re flexible.
Thanks! New Dog Owner
Congratulations on the COVID puppy! I hope the three of you are exceedingly happy together. I also hope, in a couple of years, that New York’s COVID puppies hold support group meetings in the dog park to work through all the sh*t they saw their humans go through in their fragile states at home.
As someone who is easily distracted and extremely friendly myself, I can say with certainty that a big backyard is the way to go. You and your puppy need decent space between tables, a casual environment where no one next to you is discussing a possible divorce, and most importantly, a restaurant that announces itself as dog-friendly so the staff won’t be caught off guard by any puppy antics.
If you’re okay with a slight departure from Midtown East, Torch and Crown is a relatively new brewery and restaurant in Soho with picnic benches set up under a big heated tent away from the street. It’s Manhattan’s only large-scale-production brewery, and they usually show sports outside in case your dog is interested in flying balls.
Another option is LIC Bar in Long Island City, which has an ivy-covered courtyard where a lot of people bring their dogs. There’s a $20 credit card minimum here, but if you’re getting two beers and a snack you’ll easily hit it. Also, they typically host live music.
In case you were hoping the answer to this question didn’t involve the three of you basking in the sun with craft beer and bar snacks, I’d suggest looking into two slightly more upscale restaurant options in Midtown East.
The first is Barolo East, a Northern Italian restaurant on East 49th Street with dishes like pesto gnocchi, veal parm, and a whole branzino. They have a secluded garden dining area behind their restaurant, are okay with dogs in the garden (we called and asked), and take reservations ahead of time. When the weather gets nicer, you can also check out the dog-friendly back garden area at Bistro Vendôme, a French spot in the bottom floor of a townhouse on 58th Street serving a straightforward menu of moules frites, steak, and beet carpaccio. Right now, Bistro Vendôme doesn’t have heaters in the backyard, so they’e only offering sidewalk outdoor dining.
These last two won’t be as casual as the first options listed above, but they’re closer to your apartment. Will your dog try to eat your steak frites or ravioli? Possibly, yes. I can’t fault the dog - I would do the same thing.
Give your puppy a belly rub for me. Enjoy!