Early summer is the best time of year for enjoying a meal or a cocktail on a shaded patio, but how can Fido get in on the fun? Luckily for us, the Queen City is full of canine-accomodating restaurants and breweries that will welcome you and all your friends (furry or otherwise). We reached out to our friend Jeff Kaplan, the founder of DogPhrendly.com, to find out our best options for dining and drinking with dogs.
Jeff uses a few criteria when deciding whether to designate a place as “dog-friendly:” Is there a water bowl or is water readily accessible? Is the staff cool with dogs? Are other diners/patrons comfortable with dogs? Bonus points if they have poop-bags.
Here are a few of our and Jeff’s picks for pooches around Charlotte. For more options (and other cities), check out the location tab at DogPhrendly.com.
With a huge selection of beer brewed in-house and lots of fun events like “Namastay at Legion” yoga, this brewery is all about keeping you and your pet relaxed and centered, which gets two paws up from us. Jeff also tells us the staff here has a huge love for anything with a wagging tail, so you and Fido will definitely feel welcome (and probably meet some new playmates!)
Wooden Robot Brewery
Wooden Robot is the perfect spot to bring your pooch AND your partner for a date night because not only do they have tons of unique beers, they also usually have one of the best food trucks in Charlotte (Twisted Eats) parked right outside. If you love drinking craft beer, you’ll be obsessed with eating your beer in Chef Rob Masone’s brew-infused dishes like beer cheese with pretzels or beer boiled mac-and-cheese eggrolls. At Wooden Robot, dogs are allowed both inside and out on the patio, meaning you and Fido can bring your brew and your food into the air conditioning if it gets too warm.
The Dog Bar
It’s all in the name: The Dog Bar is all about catering to four-legged friends and their humans. It’s the QC’s original and only dog-friendly off-leash bar located in NoDa, and owner J.P. Brewer also owns two doggie daycare and boarding facilities in Charlotte and Pineville. So he knows his stuff. There’s always live music and great drink specials, making it a great place for dog and human birthday parties. The Dog Bar doesn’t serve food, but there are lots of restaurants in walking distance in NoDa (your pooch will enjoy the stroll anyway). Plus we think dogs and humans alike can get down with their tagline: “Sit. Stay. Drink.”
Dean & Deluca
You know all about D&D’s huge wine selection and delicious menu items, but did you know they’ll bring out bacon for your pooch? “Feeling welcome, like they are happy you brought your dog, is something you can’t really measure, but makes-or-breaks the whole experience,” Jeff says.
7725 Colony Road, new location opening soon in Ballantyne near Ardrey Kell
A perfect choice if you’re looking for something both dog- and kid-friendly, The Lodge’s patio features plenty of room for your pooch to wander (on-leash) as well as a huge tub of wooden blocks your kid can use to build Fido a dog house. This grill also features a diverse menu (try the broccoli casserole) and a gigantic beer selection.
940 Market St. #110
You can drink Guinness while your pooch drinks water out on the patio at this Fort Mill Irish pub. It serves pretty standard pub fare: wings, buffalo chicken dip, etc. and has lots of TVs so you can catch the game.
Bruster’s Real Ice Cream
2603 W. Highway 160
Why should humans be the only ones who get to enjoy a frosty treat? At Bruster’s, they’ll bring out a free doggie sundae (or kitty sundae if you bring your feline friend). On Thursdays you can get half off a banana split by bringing your own banana.
Lake Norman area
19818-C North Cove Road
This quintessential neighborhood bar gets Jeff’s vote because everyone knows everyone, the staff encourages dogs to hang out off-leash and there’s always a water bowl for furry patrons. While your pup is quenching his thirst, you can quench yours with Knee Deep Brewing’s Triple IPA, but be careful — it’s 11.3% alcohol.
Lucky Dog Bark & Brew
Cornelius location: 19607 Statesville Road
Charlotte location: 2220 Thrift Road
There are two locations for this unique business that blends a bar, boutique and doggie daycare service all under one roof. They don’t prepare food on-site but they do work with food trucks and restaurants on some yummy offerings for both you and Fido. Lucky Dog also offers fun weekly specials like Tuesday night’s $15 beer & bath night when your pup gets a quick wash and dry while you enjoy a beer (small upcharge for house wine or liquor).
CRAFTY BURG’R n’ Tap
17015 Kenton Drive
Jeff says the fenced-in patio bordering Kenton Place and Birkdale make this place a winner, because after you and Spot have a bite to eat, you can walk around either center (Jeff says both have ample green spaces to stroll with your pooch). Try the gouda cheese stix if you just want to grab an app, or the Hot Pepper Burg’r if you’re ready to go all the way.