Back in March my dreams came true when I welcomed a baby boy into my life – 6lb, brown eyes, dark fur and 16 toes. Yes, after almost 27 years of waiting I finally got a puppy! Now I’ve always been a bit of a party animal and the responsibility of this little creature has slowed me somewhat, but I’m determined to continue to enjoy the city with my new best friend in tow. So this blog is part review on dog friendly hangouts in London, part reaching out to my fellow ‘puprents’ to share their favourite pooch friendly places.
Bale is a little dreamboat (if I say so myself); I always wanted a French Bulldog as they have such a wonderful nature and are the perfect city dog. He’s settled into London life remarkably; riding the tube daily, hanging out in the Ignite office and frequenting the local watering holes of South East London. We’ve managed to explore a fair bit of the city over the last couple of months, with one of my new favourite hobbies being sneaking him into places under my coat pretending he’s a baby in a sling! But as he gets bigger it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to be so inconspicuous so I’m on the search for places that will welcome us with opens arms (or paws).
My Google search history is littered with the phrase “dog friendly places in London”, I have downloaded several not-so-great apps and I have been asking around constantly over the last couple of months for places to go. The main problem I’ve found is that, unlike with children, there is a high degree of variability when it comes to what is acceptable with dogs. Big dogs, small dogs, long hair, short hair, slobbery, yappy, well behaved – some places love all creatures great and small and some are slightly more restrictive and subjective to the breeds they will allow into their establishments.
For the moment though, here are my top 5 places so far (in no particular order!):
- The Fat Walrus, SE14
This place is my local so I’ve got to give it a big shout out. Nestled on Lewisham Way, the recently opened Fat Walrus has been a welcome addition to the South East scene. With their own resident pup, Baloo, this pub welcomes well-behaved pooches of all shapes and sizes. Also important to note that they have an impressive Bourbon selection and mouth-watering menu of delicious comfort food, particularly their vegetarian roast dinner; halloumi stuffed Yorkshire pudding, such a delicious veggie alternative!
- The Magic Roundabout, EC1Y
In the middle of Old Street roundabout is a magical outdoor-indoor space, which Bale and I have frequented almost too often! “Eats-Beats-Booze” – what more could you ask for? We’ve enjoyed casual drinks, DJs and even an all day ‘Afrobeach’ here. As you can see, Bale loved it:
- The Bluebird Café, SW3
Just recently, Bluebird Café on King’s Road hosted a ‘Bites & Bones’ pop-up – over the course of the event pampered pooches could enjoy a luxury 3-course brunch on the terrace. Bale and I moseyed down for the launch party where we were greeted with deluxe dog treats and chicken flavoured dog beer (he’s still a bit too young to be drinking yet!). While this isn’t an everyday offering, the terrace at Bluebird is the perfect Chelsea spot to visit with your furry friend.
- Heal’s, W1T
An unlikely dog friendly activity I’ve discovered in London is frequenting gallery openings and events with my little man in tow. A personal highlight was the Heal’s furniture store’s St. Patrick’s Day event. Celebrating Irish craft, they hosted a fabulous open evening with stalls, DJ’s, free Prosecco (always a plus) and an open run of the shop. Bale wasn’t the only pup there and I hear that Heal’s is always welcoming of (wo)man’s best friend.
OK so I know that Regent’s Park is a pretty obvious place to hang out with your dog, but I recently discovered a meet-up group exclusively for French Bulldogs and their owners. Whilst I’m positive that there are groups for other breeds, it’s a really nice (and free) way to socialise for both you and your dog. After the walk we stopped off at the Smokehouse in the park for refreshments, all very animal friendly!
There are just a few of my discoveries in the short time I’ve been a ‘puprent’ and I’m dying to explore more events and activities so please tweet us with your suggestions! I’m sure that this will become a frequent feature as your recommendations roll in but if you’d like to see what Bale’s up to on a regular basis, you can always follow him on Instagram.
NB – If you want to meet Bale please feel free to pop by our office anytime, he loves meeting new people and the pub next to our building, Shillibeers, is also one of his favourite hangouts if you want to take him for a drink!