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Visiting downtown Boston with our Labrador. . . dog friendly spots anyone??

LabPal Jul 13, 2012 10:14 AM

My husband and I are going to be in Boston in August for a weekend with a our beloved 9 yr old Labrador Retriever. We are staying at a super dog-friendly hotel, but we are not bringing him along to leave him in the hotel room all day. I have searched for some breakfast and even dinner spots with outdoor seating but I am not coming up with much. My husband and I love to eat good food (he loves seafood, I can take it or leave it / please keep the foie gras places out - I had enough in France to last me a lifetime!). We enjoy fine wine, yummy cocktails and cold brews. We are also big coffee drinkers. I am looking for simple to moderate scale breakfast spots and dinner spots with interesting plate options and a generally well regarded reputation for quality and service. Farm to table is always welcome! We are going to be focusing dog-tag-a-long time in and around the Boston Common area. If there other must-do places, we will have 2 dinners, 2 breakfasts and 2 lunches in Boston and we will venture outside the BC area so I will also take suggestions for just generally good local places that we shouldn't miss (with our without the pooch). Thank you for your comments and recommendations in advance!!

  1. l
    LabPal Aug 15, 2012 09:53 AM

    Well we are back from Boston and what a great time we had!! Our dog really enjoyed the trip as well and was welcomed at several places as we wandered about. The folks at the Clover Food Truck gave him some roasted carrots that he was eyeing as my husband and I waited for our "pour over" coffee. And Stephi's on Tremont brought two bowls of water each for our dog and our friends' dog. It was one hot morning and the boys enjoyed the icey liquid! Boston Common has an offleash pilot program area. We didn't test it out, but we did see a lot of local folks with their dogs. I agree with several posters here that the South End and even parts of the Back Bay were more dog-accommodating than say Beacon Hill or the North End.

    As for my husband and I, we enjoyed lunch at Neptune Oyster and Yankee Lobster Company - YLC got the higher marks for the lobster. It was fresher tasting and more tender. We enjoyed dinner at No. 9 Park and La Voile. Both were fantastic! No 9 is the most accommodating kitchen we have ever experienced. And our waitress Inez was perfectly humorous and informative. The drinks at La Voile before dinner were refreshing and different. We followed that up with cocktails at City Bar in the Lenox Hotel. A very preppy place with crafty cocktails.

    For coffee we did check out Caffe Vittoria in the North End for iced coffee (excellent!) on a recommendation from a coworker who used to live in Boston. My husband got a cannoli there later in the week with some colleagues and he was very disappointed. Our last food stop before I and the pooch headed back southward was Thinking Cup on Tremont St. The coffee was fantastic, but the breakfast sandwiches were just okay. Its location right across from the Common made it an ideal quick stop for breakfast with our dog, so if we return to Boston we will likely stop there again but will skip the sandwiches.

    All in all it was a great trip! We loved the feeling of the South End and the Haymarket on the edge of the North End. We regret that Prezza wasn't open, but there is always next time!

    1 Reply
    1. re: LabPal
      opinionatedchef Aug 15, 2012 12:57 PM

      so happy youall enjoyed yourselves. And all your details are most welcome; now we can pass them along to future visitors!

    2. Bugsey34 Jul 25, 2012 06:55 AM

      Coincidentally we were looking to go out for dinner last week and bring our dog along with us so I made a couple calls to our choices, here was the answer:

      Posto Pizzeria in Somerville - OK at their outdoor seating, but they can't reserve the outdoor seating specifically.

      Redd's in Rozzie - same story. We ended up going on a Friday night at 7:30pm and there was plenty of room on the patio. We didn't end up bringing the dog because someone did some dog sitting for us for the evening, but there were water bowls, the patio is enclosed so it would be a relaxing place for a dog to hang out without outside distractions/other dogs.

      The problem with not being able to reserve patio seating at these places is that if I go out to dinner with friends and the dog, what are we supposed to do if we're turned away because there aren't any outdoor seats available? Kind of annoying.

      1. j
        jmsylvia Jul 24, 2012 09:04 PM

        What hotel are you staying at? I will be in Boston in Aug and would love to bring my puppy. I am bringing my kids to a Red sox game and am looking for a hotel that may offer dog walking or pet sitting while we are at the game. Any suggestions? Also, any recommendations as to where we can go with the puppy when we are not at the game? We will only be there for 1 night but would love to take her out with us as much as we can


        3 Replies
        1. re: jmsylvia
          BostonZest Jul 25, 2012 05:26 AM

          Since this is the place to talk about food. I'm going to give you some guidance that will of more helpful to others looking for good food near a pet friendly hotel.

          There are a lot of Pet Friendly Hotels with good food as well. The Eliot Hotel in the Back Bau is home to Clio and Uni. Around Copley Square hotels like the Lenox and Copley Plaza, would be perfect to give you access to the Farmer's Market and food trucks as well as two great parks for picnics.

          The Liberty Hotel has a bunch of popular restaurants and is close to Charles Street where you can pick up picnics at places like Savenor's, Panificio , Cafe Vanille, and the Paramount. You can walk across a footbridge and enjoy a picnic on the Charles River Esplanade. Or in the other direction you and go to the Public Garden or Boston Common.

          1. re: BostonZest
            hotoynoodle Jul 25, 2012 04:47 PM

            add Copley Fairmount, which has a resident dog/mascot who wrote a book! it faces the Copley farmer's market which is there tuedays and fridays. also the Boston Seaport Hotel, down at the waterfront.

            the four seasons also accepts dogs and you'd be steps from the public gardens and common.

          2. re: jmsylvia
            LabPal Jul 25, 2012 10:18 AM

            The Kimpton Hotels are all dog friendly and there are 2 or 3 in Boston. One near Boston Common and then 2 others. Check out www.kimptonhotels.com and search by City. Since I am the one who started the thread, I will leave the dining suggestions to others but I will post a reply once we return with where we went and what we experienced with our 4-legged furry pal in tow.

          3. b
            bear Jul 20, 2012 01:40 PM

            Monica's Mercato on Salem St. in the North End has terrific sandwiches and cold prepared foods.

            1. t
              tartandfit Jul 17, 2012 12:00 PM

              Heard from a friend that Red House in Harvard Square allows dogs in their outdoor area. Haven't been and don't own a dog, but it's worth looking into.

              1. l
                LabPal Jul 17, 2012 10:57 AM

                Ok so I think I have a few spots to start. But how about this - it seems like it might be easier and less chance for drama if we plan to take a picnic lunch to a park. . . since we will be North End mainly with some meandering to South End and Newbury Street, can anyone recommend a good deli or gourmet shop where we can make a nice picnic meal?

                3 Replies
                1. re: LabPal
                  hotoynoodle Jul 17, 2012 12:32 PM

                  south end -- formaggio.

                  north end -- j. pace or il panino express.

                  1. re: LabPal
                    phatchris Jul 17, 2012 03:17 PM

                    Salumeria and Mercato Del Mare; North End

                    1. re: LabPal
                      Bugsey34 Jul 19, 2012 01:18 PM

                      If this visit happens to fall on a Sunday, you could also go to SoWa Sundays in the South End: http://sowasundays.com/ Besides being great dog-friendly shopping, you can go to the food trucks behind the main building and have an outdoor lunch. Supposedly a food truck just for dogs is in the works as well. I also highly recommend the dog park next to Myers and Chang - it is completely fenced and our dog loves it.

                    2. l
                      LabPal Jul 15, 2012 07:33 PM

                      All this is all great information! I think we have a good list to at least start with and if we encounter anymore places of note while we are there, I will certainly report back!! Thank you all so much!!!

                      1. p
                        phatchris Jul 13, 2012 02:41 PM

                        Not great food, but greatt beers and very dog friendly is the Kinsale on Cambridge St. Picco in the South End for awesome pizza is dog friendly. Myers and Chang in the South End is also dog friendly and right next to the best dog park in the city.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: phatchris
                          opinionatedchef Jul 14, 2012 12:52 AM

                          The little side patio at Myers+Chang- great suggestion. btw, labpal, the park that runs down the center of Commonwealth Ave (Comm Ave) from the Public Garden -is very popular for dogwalking, on one of the most beautiful streets in our city. I have also seen dogs on the patio outside the cafe on the south corner of Salem St and the Greenway, in the No End.

                          1. re: opinionatedchef
                            hotoynoodle Jul 14, 2012 05:43 AM

                            the strip of green that runs down comm. ave in the back bay is properly called 'the mall". yes, a very pretty spot to sit and have a bite, or to walk the dog. boston does have leash laws.

                          2. re: phatchris
                            NahantNative Jul 20, 2012 10:45 AM

                            The last I heard Picco was no longer dog friendly...I guess some miserable customer dropped a dime on them one day.

                            1. re: NahantNative
                              LabPal Jul 25, 2012 02:27 PM

                              I would like to thank the CH staff for removing the non-food related posts regarding whether someone likes or dislikes having a dog on a patio where they are dining. I never intended for this thread to become the debate venue for Dog Lovers vs Dog Dislikers. Thank you, LabPal

                          3. BostonZest Jul 13, 2012 12:33 PM

                            People are often reluctant to mention dog friendly places in print because it will make them targets for those who don't share our love of dogs who might pressure the city powers to crack down on them.

                            Grant.cook is right .The Liberty Hotel has it's Yappier Hour in the "Yard" on Wednesday's and the Seaport hotel has copied this and is doing Canines and Cocktails at the same time.

                            For the past year we've had a lot of great food trucks hit the streets of Boston and food trucks, because they are curbside are dog friendly places to grab something delicious, pull up a stair or bench and enjoy a meal with your best bud by your side.

                            Here's the food truck schedule

                            The restored Brewer Fountain Plaza on the Boston Common is a great place to try the Clover Food Lab truck. You can get wonderful coffee nearby at the Thinking Cup on Tremont Street.

                            It is possible for a restaurant to be legally dog friendly. There are a bunch of places in Provincetown that have requested and been granted special permits to allow the whole family to dine on their patios. I would love to see this happen in Boston. I'm sure you saw plenty of dogs inside restaurants in France.


                            9 Replies
                            1. re: BostonZest
                              twentyoystahs Jul 13, 2012 01:29 PM

                              Agree with Penny 100%. That being said, *most* restaurants in the south end with outdoor seating allow your dog to dine with you. Some (many) require the dogs to be on the outer edge of the patio (i.e. if there is a rope or chain they are on the other side, but can still be tied from your side) It really just depends and is so arbitrary, it drives me crazy. A few we have had good experiences with:
                              Coppa,Garden of Eden, Tremont 647, Toro, and Stella --all in the south end..Toro is probably my favorite of the bunch. There's a new spot called "Kitchen" that has an outdoor patio too...their predecessor used to allow dogs so I'm assuming they do also.

                              You should check out Mike & Patty's too, in Bay Village (not far from the south end) They are a small little shop with awesome breakfast and lunch sandwiches. You can grab a couple and hopefully snag one of their small tables outside (def dog friendly) or just sit on someone's stoop and eat your sandwiches. Really good.

                              1. re: twentyoystahs
                                Allstonian Jul 13, 2012 01:45 PM

                                Garden of Eden: are you thinking of Stephi's on Tremont, which took over that location? GoE closed in 2008. I have no idea of Stephi's dog-friendliness.

                                1. re: Allstonian
                                  meeps2002 Jul 17, 2012 07:47 AM

                                  Stephi's on Tremont is ideal for bringing the pooch - they just require them being on the outside of the small gate. They will bring a bowl of water for the dog as well.

                                  1. re: Allstonian
                                    twentyoystahs Jul 21, 2012 05:29 AM

                                    That is so bizarre. I have no recollection of typing "Garden of Eden" -- really weird! But yes, that is Stephi's on Tremont now, and they will let you bring your dog but you need to be sitting along one of the outer tables where the ropes are.
                                    And Picco is a good choice too and your dog can sit at any table with you (outside)

                                  2. re: twentyoystahs
                                    hulmeka Jul 18, 2012 11:40 AM

                                    Kitchen is dog-friendly, while walking my dog I stopped to peruse their menu and the hostess made a point, without my asking, of letting me know they're happy to accomodate dogs on the patio. Maybe Picco in the South End, too, they have a large outdoor space and great food.

                                  3. re: BostonZest
                                    Gabatta Jul 17, 2012 09:52 AM

                                    Penny, do you know of where I can find a list of these p-town restaurants? We will be there for a week in September with our dog and would love visit some of these restaurants.

                                    For the OP, this thread (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/780070) from last year should be quite helpful. We have an 7 year old lab, and it is always an added bonus when you can take your dog on vacation!

                                    1. re: Gabatta
                                      LabPal Jul 17, 2012 10:59 AM

                                      Gabatta, this other thread was also very helpful. It seems Boston "health laws" with regard to dogs may be just like Princeton's! At least here at some places the servers just tell you they are not allowed to touch the dogs while others follow the "tie them up off the patio" rule. That makes more sense and is more friendly than having to tie them up 10-12 feet away.

                                      1. re: Gabatta
                                        BostonZest Jul 17, 2012 02:32 PM

                                        The dog park group has some of them but I know of a few more along with other dog friendly resources.


                                        Our technique was to walk up to the host and ask for a table for two. If they had a problem with our dog joining us they are quick to say so. But, many places will just lead you to a table where they don't mind if you have your dog with you.

                                        1. re: BostonZest
                                          Gabatta Jul 17, 2012 02:49 PM


                                    2. t
                                      Taralli Jul 13, 2012 11:14 AM

                                      If you're in the Back Bay, you might want to check out Catie Copley.

                                      1. g
                                        grant.cook Jul 13, 2012 10:49 AM

                                        Are you at the Liberty? They have a dog happy hour, I think, on Wednesdays.

                                        1. m
                                          mkfisher Jul 13, 2012 10:23 AM

                                          Can't speak to everywhere, but from our experience Cambridge is much more dog friendly than Boston. Places like Area Four and Cambridge Brewing Company are super dog friendly (and you will see lots of them there on nice days). In Boston, I feel like the South End is the most dog friendly neighborhood - I'm pretty sure they're allowed at the outdoor tables of Tremont 647 and Toro.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: mkfisher
                                            LabPal Jul 13, 2012 11:04 AM

                                            Thanks MK. We will definitely take a look in the South End!

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