It’s shocking to think that anyone wouldn’t want your dog around. She’s perfect, hypo-allergenic, and mostly well-behaved. But the hard truth is that only some restaurants and bars in NYC are dog-friendly. So the next time you want to drink or eat somewhere with your real best friend, use this list. It has 29 bars and restaurants with patios where four legs are just as good as two.
Along with Sunglass Hut and Bed Bath & Beyond, few places have names that say it all like N 11th Street Cookout. In a formerly vacant lot on N 11th Street in Williamsburg, this outdoor-only spot serves burgers, hotdogs, Mexican street corn, and frozen pina coladas. Stop by until 11pm any day except Tuesday, and try the $6 “dad burger” before playing lawn games while your dog hangs out on the artificial turf under your picnic table.
Going to Cookshop is like watching a rom-com during a thunderstorm - you know what to expect, and that’s exactly why you choose it. It works for just about any situation thanks to excellent vegetables, a perfectly proportioned cheeseburger, and one of the best roast chickens in NYC. This Chelsea spot also has lots of dog-friendly outdoor seating, which is open for lunch and dinner every day, as well as weekend brunch.
If you’re a human, then Ollie’s should be your go-to ice cream spot in Bushwick. If you’re a dog, then Ollie’s will be the second most amazing thing in your life (presumably after your newest squeaky toy). And if you’re a human with a pet dog, then your enthusiasm should lie somewhere in between. Assuming your dog likes dog things, he’ll be a fan of the “pup cup” ice cream with peanut butter and crushed dog treats. And assuming you like human things, you’ll probably enjoy the kettle corn ice cream with salty caramel, or the rich and chunky red velvet. Whatever you order, eat it on a bench in Maria Hernandez Park two blocks away.
We can’t in good conscience recommend feeding deep-fried mac and cheese or spicy double-cooked buffalo wings to your dog. However, we feel good about telling you to eat them, especially if you pair them with some of the hard-to-find microbrews on tap at Bronx Alehouse.
After you’re done convincing yourself that all of those adoring looks from strangers in McCarren Park are focused on you and not your dog, head to brunch a few steps north of the park at Five Leaves. There will likely be a pretty long wait, but that just gives you more time to bask in your dog’s splendor before you sit down for ricotta pancakes or a burger topped with egg and grilled pineapple.
You could go to Central Park, but before long, you’d be drinking lukewarm spiked seltzer while letting your dog drink from the one bottle of water you remembered to bring. Or you could go to Barking Dog two blocks from the park on the UES. They serve brunch every day from 8am-4pm, Happy Hour beers and margaritas from 3-7pm, and they even have a tiled, in-ground watering hole for dogs.
The taproom at this Sunset Park brewery is currently open Thursday through Sunday, meaning you can drink hazy IPAs, pumpkin ales, and Belgian tripels a few feet from where they’re made. Whether you know all four “noble” varieties of hops, or you just like trying local beers that haven’t gone mainstream yet, sit around an upright cask that doubles as your outdoor table, and ask the extremely knowledgeable staff which six-packs you should take to-go.
In fits of rebellion, kids have a tendency to root against their parents’ favorite sports team. Dogs show no such insubordination. That makes them ideal companions when you’re looking to watch a game, and the ideal place to watch that game is Blondies. Not only does this Upper West Side sports bar show everything from tennis to hockey on their outdoor TVs, but they also serve some of the best buffalo wings in NYC.
The massive outdoor space at this Mediterranean spot in Williamsburg feels like a parking lot that went a bit overboard at West Elm. It’s covered in hanging vines and string lights, and even the brick walls are decorated with what look like black and white Tetris blocks. Once seated at a bright wood table, you can order jalapeno margaritas and shrimp and scallop ceviche while handing your dog bits of the fried pita that comes on the side.
The sidewalk at Bar Primi is the ripest people-watching territory in the East Village mostly because of the fluffy dogs spread out under the outdoor tables and little pups on their owner’s laps. Our favorite time to come to this Italian spot is during brunch, when you can get a breakfast pasta with an egg (and your dog can watch you eat it and plot her eventual revenge involving the shag carpet in your apartment that you love so much).
The buttery French food at Cafe Du Soleil is exactly the kind of thing you’ll want to eat outside on a sidewalk with sunglasses on and a glass of wine in hand, while you and your beagle named Bruce judge everyone who walks by. This UWS bistro is classic and unfussy, and it’s perfect for a casual weeknight date or hang with your family. Another thing of note: they do a mussel night on Mondays where you can get a beer or a glass of wine with your moule frites for $21 (our favorite comes with a dijonnaises sauce).
Union Pizza Works
We once saw a pony-sized Doberman sitting in the front yard at Union Pizza Works in Bushwick. It raised two points. 1) How big is this person’s apartment? 2) Can we feed it pizza? The backyard here is so large, that it could fit the Doberman and all of his Doberman friends and there would still be room for you and a date. We really like the crust on the 12-inch Neapolitan pies here, specifically the one that’s built like a sandwich with melted mozzarella, arugula, and prosciutto di parma between two pies. In addition to your dog, bring a friend or a birthday party. And pray that you see the Doberman.
You’ve always said your dog is cuter than the ones in the dog show on ESPN, and while you may never spend thousands of dollars on doggy blowouts and teeth whitening to prove it, you can get a sense of what it’s like at Klein’s. That’s because this all-day spot in the Hoxton Hotel in Williamsburg is slightly below ground, and the outdoor tables are center stage for rows of stadium seating filled with people drinking coffee or mimosas. After you finish eggs benedict with tomato hollandaise or the excellent burger topped with melted blue cheese, take your dog into the stands to meet the fans.
THEP Thai is one of our favorite Thai spots uptown, in part because it has something most others don’t. It’s called outdoor seating. Bring your animal, and take advantage. This place is perfect for a casual weeknight dinner when your dog is starting to resent you for always being absent, and you want some quality khao soi, pad see ew, or crab fried rice.
In terms of people-watching opportunities, Lafayette is in the top tier of New York restaurants. It’s a massive French restaurant in Noho with plenty of sidewalk seating where you sit beneath a big blue umbrella and keep an eye on everyone walking down Lafayette Street. And your dog will enjoy this just as much as you do, especially if any of those people have tennis balls or shiny objects. As for the food, order some escargot and beef tartare, and use your dog to make friends with someone who has a washing machine or access to a swimming pool.
Harlem Tavern is like most neighborhood bars, except for a few key differences. First off, it has a massive food menu with everything from ceviche and gumbo to a bunch of different burgers and salads. And for such an ambitious menu, the food is actually pretty good. There’s also a huge patio out front that’s about the size of a basketball court - and that’s the main thing that sets this place apart. Bring your dog, grab a table outside, and snack on some french fries while you have a frozen drink.
As much as you might think you like eating outside at the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park, the dogs of New York City like it more. Mostly because there are trees, and other dog butts to smell, and something humans eat called cheeseburgers. We’re fairly certain they talk about this place like it’s heaven.
Pig Beach is a huge BBQ spot next to the canal in Gowanus, and the majority of the space here is an outdoor courtyard. Sit at a picnic table, and see how long you can resist before you start slipping Milo pieces of pulled pork and brisket.
Lavender Lake is about a block away from Pig Beach, and it has a great, dog-friendly backyard full of picnic tables. It also serves better-than-average bar food like burgers, calamari, and fried chicken sandwiches.
photo credit: The Mermaid Inn
The Mermaid Inn
Mermaid Inn is a seafood spot on the Upper West Side with a great oyster Happy Hour from 4:30-6:30pm every day, which includes $1.25 oysters as well as discounted cocktails and glasses of wine. If you stick around for dinner, try the crab cakes or lobster roll. Either way, bring your dog, and sit on the patio out front.
Lucky Dog is the premier drinking-with-your-dog destination in Williamsburg. Maybe that’s because of the name, or maybe it’s because this semi-divey bar is on a busy stretch of Bedford Avenue and has a nice backyard. Either way, whether you want to drink a beer with your dog or just pet someone else’s Golden Retriever while they aren’t looking, come here.
You struck up a conversation with some other people in the lobby at doggy daycare, and decided you should all get together. Now you need a place that’s big enough so Koda doesn’t have to sit on your lap while you try to find out if the owner of that dachshund is single. This Greenpoint bar has a huge backyard full of tables and couches, and since it’s pretty far north, it rarely gets too crowded.
You want to have some drinks on the water, but your options are limited - places serving $19 glasses of sparkling rosé to people in white linen pants don’t tend to be dog-friendly. Head to Anable Basin, an outdoor bar in LIC with great views of Manhattan. There are a bunch of picnic tables right on the East River where you can have some drinks and bar food while your canine roommate barks like crazy at the ferry docking nearby.
If you’re looking for space, Nowadays has it. This giant bar in Ridgewood has a park-sized backyard full of trees, picnic tables, and games like ping pong. Your dog technically needs to be on a leash, but will appreciate being outside where it’s at least possible to stare at birds and think about eating them.
This SoCal surf-themed bar spot in the space where Battery Harris used to be has a nice patio where you can eat fried chicken sandwiches and drink draft wines while your dog dreams about eating fried chicken, and, just maybe, drinking wine.
The ivy-covered courtyard at LIC Bar is a great place to hang out with your dog. Get a shot and beer special, and hang out in the backyard, where there’s live music every weekend in the summer.
The outside of Forrest Point in Bushwick kind of looks like a park, so don’t be surprised if your dog immediately starts looking for squirrels to chase. On the weekends this is a good place for an affordable brunch, and it becomes more of a party as the day goes on. It also works well for a casual dinner outside during the week.
Habana Outpost is at its best in the summer, when people come to eat things like Cuban sandwiches under colorful umbrellas at picnic tables on the big outdoor patio.