By Saundra Amrhein
When visiting Florida, there’s no better way to enjoy the tropical breezes and fascinating people-watching than by dining al fresco. And if traveling with pets, why leave them out of the fun?
Dog-friendly outdoor restaurants, bars and craft beer pubs abound throughout the state, some offering “yappy hour” canine-friendly designated times, others with an open-door doggie policy around the clock.
So when you’re dog tired after a day at the dog beaches and dog parks, when there’s no more pampering to be had at the pet-friendly hotels and resorts, relax outside with a beverage or meal with your best friend at your side.
Here’s a list of some great options:
The Tampa Bay area, rapidly becoming a favorite destination for foodies and craft beer lovers, also is big for dog lovers. At Hyde Park Village on Swann Avenue in Tampa, most shops allow well-behaved, leashed dogs inside, and they even put out water bowls and treats. Many of the restaurants also open their patios to dogs, including the popular Wine Exchange, Timpano Italian Chophouse, and Irish 31 Pub House & Eatery.
Across the bay in St. Petersburg’s booming restaurant scene, amid its many sidewalk cafes and eateries, lots of shop owners and establishments welcome dogs with their diners at outdoor patios and put out water bowls for them. Among them, Bella Brava on Beach Drive has a full patio open to canine companions, and servers are known to dish out water bowls and dog bones along with the Italian fare and seafood. Likewise, down the road Ceviche Tapas Bar & Restaurant is equally welcoming to dogs at their outdoor sidewalk tables. Along with many others, Lucky Dill Deli over on Central Avenue has outdoor seating that’s completely dog friendly.
No longer known just for its theme parks, Orlando has also become a foodie destination, and many of its restaurants lay out the welcome mat for pooches. Teak Neighborhood Grill at 6400 Times Square Avenue offers everything from hand-crafted burgers to intimate dinners and a wide selection of craft beers – all while welcoming you and your dog at their outdoor seating area. Or try any of the four locations of Dexter’s, but particularly its downtown charming Thornton Park locale, near brick-lined streets, Craftsman cottages and shade trees, all highly regarded by dog lovers, who are welcome with their dogs at the outdoor seating. Or K Restaurant & Wine Bar, which, along with lunch, dinner and wine menus, offers a dog-friendly environment at its sidewalk tables. The Orlando Cat Cafe, a cozy coffeehouse, is a must-stop for all things furry, but especially cats, which are available for adoption.
This city in southwest Florida has numerous outdoor cafes, bars and restaurants that welcome pets, in addition to stores that cater to upscale pet accessories, clothing and food. A popular place among locals and visitors is M Waterfront Grille, which offers expansive bay views, waterfront tables, fine dining, live entertainment and a welcome mat to furry friends on its verandah. Or try a taste of Spain, Greece, Italy and Morocco at the new Mediterrano on 13th Avenue with Fido at your side at outdoor tables.
This city, with its legions of posh puppy designer doggie clothing lines, hip bulldogs on skateboards, grooming spas and pet boutiques, has no shortage of outdoor restaurants that go above and beyond your typical dog-friendly eateries. The pedestrian-friendly shopping area of Lincoln Road is a great place to pull up a chair with your canine companion to watch people and their designer dogs. One of numerous dog-friendly establishments is the outdoor patio of the sleek Meat Market steakhouse and lounge. Another is the outdoor patio of the popular GreenStreet Café in Coconut Grove, where servers greet regulars – including the dogs – by their names. At Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in Miami’s Design District, a James Beard-nominated chef may serve your dog organic doggie biscuits in the courtyard. Bayside Marketplace has a number of waterside dining spots that will welcome Fido, and leashed dogs are welcome throughout the center.
Sebring Soda & Ice Cream Works is pet-friendly snack shop in the heart of downtown with 300+ flavors & brands of craft bottled sodas from around the world, homemade style ice cream, gourmet hot dogs and old-fashioned candy. Besides the offerings for humans, they offer pup cups for pets, which is dog/cat-friendly ice cream for your furry friend. And, they always have a water bowl available for your pet, and outdoor/sidewalk seating. Faded Bistro & Beer Garden, and open-air neighborhood hangout featuring seasonal ingredients in their human offers, also welcomes your best friends.