There are people with dogs and then, there are Dog People. Those of us who fall into the latter category hover somewhere between sweet devotion and unhealthy obsession. Don’t try to downplay pets around us; these are our fur babies and we will treat them accordingly. Lucky for us, we constitute a heavy-duty percentage of the Atlanta population and our city feeds the beast quite generously (pun not only intended, but gleefully applied). We’ve put together just a few suggestions for dining out with the flea-collared set, as well as some tips for keeping it enjoyable for everyone.
(Note: Don’t assume every restaurant with outdoor seating is pet friendly. If you’re not sure, call ahead to check!)
Like its NYC-based sister, Ristorante Asellina, Cucina Asellina features simple Italian dishes made from the essential ingredients of traditional Italian cuisine. The approachable and thoughtfully-designed venue extends to a pup-happy patio, ready to welcome you and your furry friends with treats and water bowls. Wonder if they’d embrace a re-enactment of Lady and the Tramp with a meatball? Cucina Asellina is located at the 12th & Midtown development at 1075 Peachtree Street. www.asellina.com
This authentic, indoor/outdoor German beer garden, not only offers premium German beer but also traditional German fare in a unique European atmosphere. The lower level patio is specifically geared towards pet owners with all the amenities needed for a pleasant outing mit der hund. www.derbiergarten.com
This Virginia-Highland hangout greets happy tails of all sizes on its fabulous outdoor, covered patio overlooking the neighborhood. Watch sporting events, including every Braves game, and even Walking Dead episodes with special viewings on the patio, and bring your dog along for the fun. www.dieselatlanta.com
Lucky’s Burgers & Brews
The entire existence of this restaurant was inspired by a golden retriever, so saying they’re dog friendly’s a bit of an understatement. Locations in Brookhaven and Roswell bring the whole family together for fun times and superior burgers each named after a canine alter ego. www.luckysburgerandbrew.com
PIEDMONT DOG PARK
The well-planned Piedmont Dog Parks stand as nirvana for city pups and their peeps. Every detail considered, these areas provide romping room, shade, and refreshments for both hound and human — clean bathrooms, fountains, the King of Pops cart and even a beer vendor. Many of the restaurants adjacent to Piedmont also welcome pooches for post-park patio dining. See our rundown of Piedmont Park Eats for more details.
While you may be smitten with puppy love for your loyal companion, keep in mind that not everyone you meet is equally as head over heels. These tips from Justin Hall at Atlanta Dog Wizard aim to maintain your dignity:
- Make sure to exercise your dog before you head to a dog-friendly patio for dinner to keep Fido calmer and more relaxed.
- A reliable down/stay command helps your dog stay calm. Before heading out to a crowd, practice in lower distraction environments several times until your dog fully understands the commands.
- Keep your dog leashed and the leash secure — step on the leash with one foot or wrap it around a chair, table, or railing. If your dog is unreliable and over 35 lbs, you might want to reconsider outings until the dog has more training. (Envision people dragged and tables flipped by big, excitable dogs on patios.)
- Always be mindful of others and ensure that your dog respects the space of the people around you.
- Above all, be honest with yourself and your dog’s behavior in crowded situations. If your dog isn’t ready for dinner al fresco with you, don’t take him out. And consider working with a professional trainer if need be — calmly visiting a patio with your dog is an attainable goal with a some guidance and patience.
What about other parts of the Metro area? Or other cities for that matter? The Bring Fido app helps locate pet-friendly resources wherever you may roam. With handy searches for hotels, dining, venues and events, as well as a designated help line, this little gem turns your device into a wag-worthy guide. (Information also available through their companion website www.bringfido.com)
Now, who’s ready to head out for dinner? Who’s a good puppy, that’s right… yes, you are…tummy rubs. Let’s hold the slobber, sweetie, and no paws on the table. (Woof.)