By Natalie Harms
I don’t have a pup to call my own — we gals at It’s Not Hou are cat ladies — but I am a proud dog aunt and love finding spots for me, my friends, and their furry pals a place where we can all hang.
A good dog-friendly spot is more than just an outdoor space. Look out for water bowls — re: the horror of trying to give your dog water out of a cup — and plenty of shade. Extra bonus points if a place has an indoor space for dogs (usually, these are places that don’t serve food). It’s also important to find the places that actually like having dogs around — who will give a good boy a good boy head pat.
Houston is amazing for dog lovers. There is so much to do around town with your fur baby, and this is by no means an end-all, be-all list. Check out some of these tried-and-true spots and let us know your go-tos in the comments.
Best brewery: 8th Wonder or Karbach
Honestly, Houston’s breweries are completely set up to be great, dog-friendly places. Usually, breweries have a lot of space to work with, plus if they don’t serve food, that usually means that dogs can go inside the space too. Karbach has a lot of great space to work with, plus their restaurant has a patio so you can hang out in the beer garden or grab a bite. 8th Wonder is also a great downtown option — and it beats Karbach when it comes to space available for playing.
Best coffee spot: Throughgood Coffee
Three words: mini dog park. What an awesome concept — you enjoy your coffee while your doggo makes a friend!
Best dog parks
When it’s not flooded, which is kind of often — the park doubles as a retention pond basically, Johnny Steele is a fun, big park for dogs of all sizes. There’s even a water feature that puppers love.
Danny Jackson Family Bark Park
This Galleria-area park is a hidden gem. It’s huge and has a fun water feature to play in. There’s tons of room to run around. It’s not necessarily human-focused, so you might have to stand in the sun while the pup’s at play.
This was the first Houston neighborhood park in Houston to allow dogs to legally run free, off-leash in a designated dog zone. There’s also a picnic area and sprayground adjacent to the 9,000-square-foot dog area.
Best neighborhood: EaDo
I set out to make this guide and I quickly realized how many dog-friendly places were right on top of each other. I might be going out on a limb by not picking the Heights, but c’est la vie.
One of the newest breweries in Houston, True Anomaly, is dog friendly both on its patio and inside. Pitch 25 has a covered patio area that’s quite large and allows you to have your pup on a patio but not have to worry about rain. Of course, Truck Yard, with its massive patio, is dog friendly, but I warn you of crowded Friday and Saturday nights. Discovery Green has a dog run just on the other side of the highway, so counting it as EaDo. Further east, East End Hardware and the New Potato are dog friendly as well! Moontower Inn is great for dogs and pairing beers with wild game hot dogs — don’t knock it til you try it.
Heights: Good Dog
Speaking of hot dogs, the Heights’ location of Good Dog (there’s also one in Montrose) has two patiosplus amazing hot dogs.
Montrose: Backstreet Cafe
You might not think of Backstreet as dog friendly, but the semi-fancy neighborhood spot boasts of being one for the dogs.
River Oaks: Piggy’s
Obsessed with brunch on Piggy’s patio. It’s quite large and the tables aren’t too squished together which means perfect for pups. Parking however…. not so easy.
Upper Kirby: Mia’s Table
Full disclosure, haven’t been to this spot in quite a while, but Mia’s wants you to know that it is very dog friendly.
Washington: Henderson Heights
Henderson is kind of tucked away off Washington, but it’s a great spot for casual bar fare, swings, outside game watches and more.
Multiple locations: Barnaby’s
Who in all of Houston could omit Barnaby’s?! The dog friendly chain is even dog themed! And they have a wicked happy hour.
I mean, it’s in the name. Underdogs is dog-friendly both indoors and outdoors. It’s very much a dive. A dog dive!
Upper Kirby: Kirby Ice House
Kirby Ice House is massive and perfect for pups! Plus, there are always food trucks outside so you don’t have to tie up your dog to venture inside to order food or anything.
Montrose: Bar Boheme
So much of Bar Boheme is outside, which — along with its frozen mojitos — makes it prime for the dog days of summer.
Heights: The Barking Pig
Hey, the pig is barking, after all. You’re always sure to find fellow canines out on the barking patio.
Deep Heights: Cottonwood
Cottonwood brags about its jumbo patio, and the fact that it’s kid-friendly until 9. So all the babies — furry and otherwise — are welcomed.
Everyone’s favorite hammock hang is also a good spot for dogs! Maybe even share your Luigi’s pizza crust with them…