It's a dog's life

Driving Amber through the best dog friendly addresses of London. A real discovery

21-08-2013

Amber's gourmet tour starts with a cappuccino at Greensmiths in Lower Marsh. Dogs are more than welcome here and there in London. Let's find out where

Britons think of themselves as a nation of dog lovers: dog owners are aplenty in fact, and even a built up city like London has many green areas where it is possible to walk our four legged friends. Nevertheless, even a simple task such as picking up a loaf of bread is not easily achieved if in the company of a dog, whether small or large. Despite no law forbids the presence of a dog in a shop or a restaurant, many places, seeing us with our gorgeous and well behaved French basset Amber in tow, tell us we are not allowed in.

Doggity, the dog friendly app

Doggity, the dog friendly app

So, in the last few months, we’ve tried to spend our hard earned cash in places where, with the mind as well as the doors more open, we can take our little friend with us. The main thing is to always ask before booking a table or walking through the door. To help choose, there is also an app called Doggity, where users are encouraged to post reviews of dog friendly places they check out. Living on the south side of the Thames, one of the areas we visit more often is Bermondsey Street, full of eateries and bars not far from Borough Market. Without a doubt it is one of the most dog friendly streets in town and local pet boutique Holly and Lil has put together a map of the area indicating shops and restaurants where dogs are welcome, starting from their next door neighbour the Garrison (a gastro pub who does a mean brunch).

The Italian restaurants in the area are on a par: in the famous Zucca as well as in the more classic Antico dogs are accepted and they can be by their owners while these enjoy a meal and a glass of wine. Around the corner, the venues who make the most of the pedestrianised Bermondsey square – just like the nearby Table – are all dog friendly. What better way to enjoy the British summer (said without sarcasms this year) than sitting al fresco with your canine best friend?

Gourmet's best friends

Gourmet's best friends

We love having a coffee at Greensmith’s, our local on Lower Marsh, before going off for a bit of shopping in quirky vintage shop Radio Days or Waterloo Body Station. Our Amber loves dropping in to wave her tail to owner Rebecca and smell the wonderful aromas of the products on sale, all made in the UK and strictly cruelty free. For lunch, we have plenty of choices: sometimes we go to Laughing Gravy, where Amber gets loads of cuddles and dogs are welcome on the cosy street front terrace. The owner is himself a dog owner and has no problems welcoming them on the outdoor area.

After a walk in the beautiful Imperial War Museum park (where poo bags and a water fountain are available), we often grab a beer and a traditional Shepherd’s’ pie at historic pub the Three Stags. Dogs are welcome inside as well as on the terrace (with a personal water bowl too) and the whole menu is sustainably created: fresh vegetables cycled over from a Docklands farm, fish from Cornish day boats and honey from the rooftop beehives. And the food is great, too

There's always a red carpet at Gaucho Grill, 64 Heath street

There's always a red carpet at Gaucho Grill, 64 Heath street

However, above all, the restaurateur that is truly London’s dogs’ best friend is Jorge Coelho, the manager of the Hampstead branch of Gaucho Grill chain. The first Sunday of each month he organises Doggy Sunday, a themed event where the guest of honour is the dog. On the spacious outdoor terrace the tables are laid out to leave enough room for pooches to play and make new friends. Toys, tennis balls, treats and, on the hottest days, even a splash pool to cool down! For humans, a three course meal with a bespoke cocktail. The waiting staff, super patient, perfectly juggles trays of food and dogs of all sizes running around everywhere. A dog’s dinner for sure, but a fabulously fun one!
 


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