For some of us, they are almost as important as our children. For others, they are our children. There is no question that Mobile is a town that loves its pups. I’ve been guilty of falling for an animal. My last dog, Zona, was an English/pit bulldog mix that I used to semi-joke about hoping she’d outlive me. She didn’t. So now I have to honor her by making sure I die of smoke inhalation from 112 birthday candles. I’m proud to say that everyone I hang out with loves their four-legged companions beyond measure.
I believe that was the genesis for this idea. Enough friends talk about dining al fresco with dogs and want to know every place in our area that offers dog friendly service. I felt it was a good idea to take a stab at an informative piece. There is a website called bringfido.com that can point you in the right direction, but the information isn’t near complete and is in some instances misleading. Every restaurant on this issue’s list was either visited in person or contacted by phone and gave me permission to print their facility as a dog-friendly dining experience.
If your restaurant was overlooked, I apologize. I’d love to hear from you, but I really wanted to let people know of true dog friendly spots, not places with a courtyard or a sidewalk that are iffy about it. I also didn’t include the many corporate venues that allow animals, just locally owned. Other than geography there is no order to this list or ranking system, it’s just a list.
Downtown and Oakleigh
Callaghan’s: Let’s get this one out of the way. I see more dogs there on “Sunday morning coming down” than I do Bloody Marys. Share a piece of bacon with a fuzzy face at brunch. Then let your dog have an omelet. Dave, Cheryl or Jordan will bring a water bowl.
Heroes Downtown: That outside deck is perfect for taking in Cathedral Square and having a bite with ol’ Blue. I’d recommend keeping the crawfish and spinach dip for human consumption. It’s too good to share and maybe a little rich for my mutt. Heroes on Hillcrest isn’t really set up for dog entrance.
Blind Mule: Dogs are allowed in the courtyard at this place with one of the most underrated burgers out there.
Wintzell’s: That’s right. There are only two tables out front, but many of us forget about the courtyard in the back. It’s perfectly fine to have your Schnauzer with you as you suck down oysters. What could be better than that?
OK Bicycle Shop: Whether your dog prefers Mexican or sushi, he can get both in the courtyard. But the habanero margaritas are for the 100-pound minimum weight class. Best to abstain, Snoopy.
The Garage: Sure, it’s only popcorn here, but you can bring the dog inside. Enjoy a beer in the air conditioned digs instead of on a sidewalk.
Cream and Sugar: You can’t deprive a dog the occasional cake ball, right? The corner of George and Savannah is now serving Cammie’s Old Dutch ice cream. Just in case you need another reason to stop by.
Mellow Mushroom: That midtown location is dog friendly on the patio. Live music every Wednesday night is good for the mutts who like to shake their butts for some great pizza.
Shrimp Basket: Florida Street and Old Shell Road is accommodating when it comes to paw prints. Just sit out front.
Carpe Diem: Alan Tolson and the gang love their dog friends. The porch is complete with dog bowls and plenty of treats. Please drink responsibly and do not leave your espresso unattended.
Satori: That front deck of Satori is also a great place to start your day with a cup of Joe and a panting dog.
Los Arcos: It’s a small courtyard, but if Rover is into Costa Rican/Indian fusion you will make the trek.
Ollie’s: Only the Hillcrest location has a patio, but the food is as good as the MiMo location. There isn’t any place suitable at the loop for a spaniel on a Mediterranean diet.
Hungry Owl: Dogs even have their very own run out in West Mobile. You get to sit at the Growler Bar and enjoy some great food and good company with your best friend.
Tacky Jacks: No other causeway restaurant allows dogs, and Tacky Jacks is conditional. They are only allowed downstairs, and that section doesn’t open until 4 p.m.
Here are a few hotspots across the bay. Gumbo Shack is down an alley favorable for furry friends. Pinzone’s has outdoor seating for dogs. Pelican Patio on Church Street welcomes critters. You can bring your own food to Fairhope Brewing Company’s taproom, but you must eat outside if you bring your dog.
Pirate’s Cove: It’s far from Mobile, but I had to include it as a dog destination. I don’t think there is a place on earth that is as friendly to dogs as this place. Get your cheeseburger in true paradise as the dogs roam free. Don’t worry. They have no reason to wander off. RIP Tiki!
I hope this helps those who appreciate the company of man’s best friend. Remember it takes only minutes to hurt or kill a dog or a child, so never leave either in a car for any amount of time in the summer months. I’d love to see more restaurants open their arms to the well-behaved, unconditionally loving members of our families. But there is a flip side. If you can’t control your dog then keep it at home. Let the good ones have their day with mom or dad and friendships will be born.