We're approaching our third year in New York City with Django (and our 10th year living here overall!). We've lived in five different apartments throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn, so we've gotten to know the city and everything it has to offer really really well.
New York City can be an intimidating place, especially if you're visiting for the first time with your dog. Not sure where to eat and hang out with your pup next time you visit? We put together a list of our favorite dog-friendly restaurants, coffee shops, bars, parks and beaches (yes, beaches!) in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.
Leave us a comment below if you have a recommendation we missed!
Barking Dog is a canine-themed restaurant on the Upper East Side. The menu is classic American and includes salads, sandwiches, and comfort dishes (i.e. "Mom's Loving" meatloaf). Dogs can accompany their owners on the outdoor patio - this area is fully enclosed and heated during the cold weather months, so dogs and their owners can dine together all year round. Located in Manhattan at 1678 3rd Ave (by 94th).
Grand Bar & Lounge is the swankiest dog-friendly spot on this list. The lounge is known for fancy and pricey cocktails and fare including the $28 "Grand Burger". Although dogs aren't permitted at dining tables, they are welcome to hang out at all other seating areas in the lounge (sofas and the like) where the full cocktail and food menu is available. Definitely a cool spot to check out if you're looking for something posh and more flexible on budget. Located in Manhattan 310 West Broadway (near Canal).
The Gray Dog is one of those NYC spots with an unspoken 'dog-friendly' rule. Although dogs are technically not permitted inside any NYC food establishment, The Gray Dog plays by its own rules. As long as your pup is well-behaved and discreet, the baristas and waiters will look the other way. The Gray Dog's rustic theme is dedicated to the founders' dogs, Moose and Goose. In addition to a full coffee menu, The Gray Dog has a great breakfast and lunch offering stocked with sandwiches, salads and burgers. The four located are spread throughout downtown Manhattan in Chelsea, Nolita, Union Square, and the West Village (see map below).
Pig Beach is a massive indoor and outdoor BBQ and beer joint located by the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. Dogs are strongly encouraged to come hang out, so don't be surprised to see 10+ pups when you visit. There are plenty of TV screens if you're looking to catch a football game, and the bar has a full selection of beers, cocktails, and BBQ. Great location to sit outside, hang out with friends, and enjoy a summer day with your pup. Located at 480 Union Street in Brooklyn (between Hoty and Smith).
Although Shake Shack is a national chain today, the burger and hot dog joint was born from a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park. Check out the original Shake Shack with your pup, located in the center of Madison Square Park. Keep in mind that this is a walk-up restaurant, so you may want to go in the warmer months. There's tons of seating but it is all outside.
The Bean is a dog-friendly coffee and tea shop located in downtown Manhattan and Williamsburg. The venue is lined with small tables and patrons are encouraged to hang out and stay a while. The food menu is limited to pastries, breakfast sandwiches, juices and smoothies. Five locations are spread throughout downtown Manhattan and Williamsburg (see map below).
Boris & Horton is a new dog-friendly coffee shop in the East Village. We recently hosted a 'Welcome Back to NYC' party here for Django! Boris & Horton has three separate areas: a street window to order food and drink (designed for people with dogs), a small indoor seating area where dogs can go but food cannot be ordered, and a main indoor seating area where food can be ordered (no dogs in this section). The menu is limited to coffee, pastries and "savory toasts", i.e. avocado toast. Located at 195 Avenue A (by 12th Street).
American Trash is a serious dive bar on the Upper East Side. Dogs are welcome to come hang out as you enjoy the cheap beer, jukebox, dart boards, and always-busy billiard table. There's no food here, which is probably a good thing, and there are tons of TVs. Located at 1471 First Ave (near 77th).
Black Door is a great little place in Chelsea with good music and a chill crowd. The interior is a bit dark and sultry and locals from Chelsea and Flatiron usually fill up the place during after-work hours. Dogs are welcome and often spotted at the bar inside. Located at 127 W 26th St (between Avenue Of The Americas & 7th Avenue).
Boat Basin Café is a very cool and unique spot right on the Hudson River. The views are beautiful, especially at sunset, and Boat Basin is dog friendly inside and out. The "inside" is actually a covered area with open sides, but it's perfectly adequate for a rainy day. Although the menu is pretty extensive, don't expect an amazing meal. You're really coming here for the unique atmosphere and beautiful views. Located all the way west on 79th Street.
d.b.a. is a dog-friendly bar with a variety of local beers and a dive vibe. We recently took Django here for a doggy birthday party and had a great time. Although food isn't served here, the bartenders encourage you to bring in outside bites. One of the coolest features is d.b.a.'s massive backyard adorned with lighting and lots of seating. Dog owners can even reserve a space inside or out if they want to plan a doggy meetup.
Located in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, Five Boroughs Brewing is a great place to grab a few flights of beer and hang out with your friends. There are plenty of board and card games for everyone to play (including Cards Against Humanity), and the owners encourage you to bring in food from local neighborhood vendors. Dogs are very welcome, and bartenders will gladly bring out water bowls for the dogs. Located at 215 47th Street in Brooklyn (between 3rd Ave & 2nd Ave).
L.I.C. Bar is an awesome dog-friendly venue located in Long Island City, Queens. The place has a big courtyard - perfect for a nice day - and ample space with lots of tables. Drinks are reasonably priced, and local bands play live music every summer Sunday. 4558 Vernon Blvd in Long Island City.
This swank garden lounge is located in the Lower East Side's dog-friendly Ludlow Hotel. Grab a seat on one of the many comfy lounge sofas (ideally by the fireplace) or snag a table in the covered garden area. Expect pricey but good cocktails and a limited French-themed menu. Located at 180 Ludlow Street in Manhattan (between Houston and Stanton).
Luckydog is a great watering hole in Williamsburg featuring booze, games, an enclosed backyard, and lots and lots of dogs. The bar is a little divey, and the drinks are strong and cheap (even cheaper during happy hour). The place gets pretty packed and loud during prime time hours. Located on the south side of Bedford Ave in Williamsburg (between 2nd and 1st Streets).
Mission Dolores is a laid back bar with a huge selection of local craft beers and a rotating draft menu. The front entrance is basically a giant open garage door, and dogs are very welcome and usually roaming about inside. Similar to d.b.a. and Five Boroughs Brewing, you're allowed and encouraged to bring in outside food from local neighborhood vendors. Located at 49 4th Ave in Brooklyn (between President St & 5th Ave).
Watermark is a stylish, open-air cocktail bar with panoramic views of the Brooklyn and Wililamsburg bridges and the Brooklyn skyline. Django and I had a great time hanging out here earlier this summer with a crew of dachshunds and friends. Watermark offers a limited menu of bar bites including three burgers (vegetarian, salmon and beef) if you're really hungry. It's a great place to hang out and sit outside when the weather is nice. Located at the very end of Pier 15 in the Financial District (78 S St).
Central Park (Manhattan) and Prospect Park (Brooklyn) are havens for dogs, offering acres of grass, trees and open space. Central Park is our go-to with Django. We're a stone's throw away from the park and spend a solid 30 minutes before work every early morning letting Django run around on the grass and socializing with other neighborhood pups.
Both Central Park and Prospect Park allow dogs off-leash in the early morning (before 9am) and evening (after 9pm). Prospect Park in particular limits of-leash activity to the Long Meadow (except ball fields), Nethermead, Peninsula Meadow and Dog Beach (Yes! A beach. More on this below).
Prospect Park Dog Beach is a small, rocky swimming hole for dogs to cool down and go for a swim. It was recently renovated in 2016, with rocks brought down from upstate New York, and a water-deep fence prevents dogs from swimming out too far from shore. Dogs are welcome off-leash in the early morning (before 9am) and evening (after 9pm); they are welcome on-leash the rest of the time.
Although dogs love this unique watering hole in the middle of NYC, one thing to consider before visiting is cleanliness. As the lake is small and located in the middle of bustling Brooklyn, the lake water is not the most pristine. For this reason, Mike and I prefer taking Django to Brooklyn's bigger beaches during the off season (keep reading).
During the off-season (October 1 through May 1), dogs are allowed on many of New York City's sandy beaches including Brooklyn's Manhattan Beach, Coney Island Beach, and Brighton Beach. Dogs must remain leashed, although don't be surprised to see some dogs running free and chasing balls, especially in the early morning and late evening hours of the day when the beach is relatively quiet.
These three beaches also also boast long, inviting boardwalks. Leashed dogs are allowed on the promenades of Coney Island Beach and Brighton Beach throughout the off-season. Manhattan Beach is the exception - leashed dogs can only accompany their owners during the off-season from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.
New York City can be an intimidating place, especially if you're visiting for the first time with your dog. Not sure where to stay next time you visit? There are thousands of hotels in Manhattan alone, and not all are pet-friendly, in a good location, or even well rated!
To make your life easier, Mike and I (Steph) put together a list of the best dog-friendly hotels throughout Manhattan. Our recommended pet-friendly hotels range from trendy to central to luxurious. And although nothing in NYC is cheap, there are a few hotels below that qualify as 'budget'. If you are focused on a particular Manhattan neighborhood, scroll down for our Google Map guide which highlights the location of each dog-friendly hotel.
How do you choose the best dog food for your pup? The endless selection of dog food products with promising marketing claims make the task of selecting dog food incredibly challenging. Do you go with the dog food brand that claims it only uses all-natural ingredients? Is organic better? And what does "all-natural" even mean!?
We're here to help you understand how to choose what is right for your dog. In the following article we discuss how to identify the highest quality dog foods and what to look for in dog food labels. We also clarify the meaning of organic and natural and address recent rumors about grain-free dog food. As always, leave any questions and thoughts in the comments below! We love hearing from you.
Is there any airline that will allow my large dog to travel with us in the cabin? This is a question we at DJANGO Dog Blog get frequently.
An increasing number of dog owners are traveling with their pups, both domestically and internationally. In this article we explore pet travel options for larger dogs - ones that do not fit under a plane seat in an airline-approved pet carrier.