Every dog owner has been there: You want to have dinner alfresco, but you don’t want to leave man’s best friend at home. With the outdoor dining season upon us and with new pet-friendly patios seemingly popping up on every sidewalk, that’s great for you and Fido. But not all patios are created equal. We scoured D.C. to find cafes that both you and your animal companion will approve of. So grab the leash and head to one of these places that offer not only a dog-friendly environment, but seriously good food and drinks, too.
This new American brasserie, with two locations, has a healthy-ish menu and great drink options. Doggie treats are kept behind the host stand at the Cathedral Heights location, which has a wide patio and plenty of spots to park your pet while you enjoy a wide-ranging menu that features rich dishes such as fried chicken with mac and cheese, as well as healthier options such as a cauliflower mezze with a moderate kick to it. In partnership with rescue organizations, Silver also hosts “Pups on the Patio” events, where they serve canine-themed drinks, so your four-legged friend can have a social life as robust as yours. 3404 Wisconsin Ave. NW and 7150 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda.
This Capitol Hill haunt, with string lights on the patio and great views of the Capitol dome, boasts one of the most dog-friendly features on this list: a menu for your mutt. Pupsicles, bones and specials such as the “Gravy Train,” with beef and rice in gravy, or a steak dubbed “The Hungry Dog,” are served in little bowls that are sure to be big hits with your furry friend. The menu has human options as well, including an indulgent foie gras mousse and, for brunch, a decadent s’mores French toast. 415 New Jersey Ave. NW
This Shaw hangout can get pretty packed, but the outdoor beer garden offers a wide selection of beers, massive pretzels and dog treats at the bar. It’s definitely a see-and-be-seen place, even for neighborhood dogs (such as Loki, whom we met on a recent visit). Dacha scores big with any dog parents who might be nervous about their fur-babies wandering off into the bustling neighborhood: The garden is completely enclosed. Not close to Shaw? Dacha recently opened a second location in Navy Yard, and there’s also another dog-approved patio on the way. 1600 Seventh St. NW
This Navy Yard restaurant and bar opened in 2017, but its waterfront views and proximity to Nationals Park have already made it make it a popular place for dog owners to hang out. (Bonus points for starting here before one of the many “Pups at the Park” events at the stadium this summer.) The patio area is spacious enough that on a recent visit in April, a birthday party was going on for an adorable goldendoodle. Be sure to try the fresh oysters, crudos paired with a craft brew or “The Saltier Dog,” its spin on the classic grapefruit juice and vodka cocktail. 79 Potomac Ave. SE
The only brewery on this list has a smallish patio at its Shaw brewpub and kitchen, located next to the Howard Theater, but it makes up for the tight space with handcrafted brews and excellent food options. (The warm pretzel bread with beer-honey mustard is a must.) As for dogs, they can relax on a quieter street thanks to relatively light traffic and enjoy some water and the many, many belly rubs patrons tend to give them on their way in and out of the restaurant. Bonus points: The brewery opened its Brookland production house and tasting room, which also features an outdoor patio, in 2015. 624 T St. NW
With a name like Wet Dog — honoring the memory of Lilly Sophia, the owner’s late golden retriever — it’s safe to assume your pooch is welcome here. With regular “Yappy Hours” and a fenced-in yard, this bar, situated a stone’s throw from the 9:30 Club, has a long menu of drinks and some burger options. Beyond offering a place for you and your dog to relax, Wet Dog supports charities such as the Humane Rescue Alliance, offering adoption-themed happy hours for your dog-less friends. 2100 Vermont Ave. NW
This Tex-Mex chain’s Columbia Heights outpost — across the street from the Civic Plaza and a few blocks from the neighborhood’s (unofficial) dog park at 11th Street and Park Road NW — is a great spot to eat after taking your dog on an adventure. The menu has all the items a transplanted Texan might crave, in addition to Peruvian lomo saltado, and a patio with plenty of places to tie up your pup and grab a frozen margarita. Waiters kindly offer water to dogs while you eat, and bottomless chips and salsa with tableside guacamole make for a great, if simple, evening out. With four Virginia locations, this restaurant also has options for suburban dogs as well. Multiple locations. Check eltiogrill.com for a full list.
A small gem tucked into Georgetown’s Cady’s Alley, this Austrian bistro is a laid-back option for diners and their dogs. The outdoor patio has ample seating, with umbrellas to help combat the sun, a menu that’s a coffee lover’s dream and an equally long list of desserts. (Decadent options include made-to-order dulce de leche beignets.) An added bonus: a roving bloody mary cart during weekend brunches. The alley location, coupled with a large retaining wall, ensures minimal foot traffic — and a nice respite from the hubbub of M Street for you and your dog. 3315 Cadys Alley NW