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Where You Can Eat, Drink and Bring Your Fur Baby in Melbourne

Put an end to the separation anxiety.
By Imogen Baker
June 28, 2018
By Imogen Baker
June 28, 2018


in partnership with

Put an end to the separation anxiety.

While not every venue in Melbourne has made its courtyard a palace to pooches (yet), some places have realised that everyone loves a happy pupper — and they encourage you to bring your fur baby to eat, drink and get groovy with you. So even if your pooch is a cantankerous diva who guilts you for leaving them at home, demands their Instagram be updated every hour, on the hour, and simply cannot survive without a puppercino in the morning, you have options.

One day we hope to live in a world where you can't eat a slice of pizza without a thousand baleful eyes staring at you, silently begging for a taste — a happy place where doggo and human co-exist on every dance floor. But, until then, you'll have to seek out the watering holes that explicitly welcome four-legged mates. We've hit the streets with poop bags and an American Express® Card in-hand, and — after many beers, pats, sloppy kisses and bequeathments of 'good boy' status — we've found Melbourne's best dog-friendly bars (which could really just be classified as Melbourne's best bars thanks to the high doggo quotient that makes up their clientele).

Pro-tip: to maximise the number of dogs licking your face, just slip some bacon bits in your pockets to attract the attention. Works a treat.

Got yourself in another dining situation and need some guidance? Whatever it is, we know a place. Visit The Shortlist and we'll sort you out.

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    After two years of careful restoration by owners Ben and Emma Bangay, Flatiron Side Door has just opened in Kew with all the things we love: an amazing drinks menu, a hand-carved bar, art-covered walls, and a stunning, magnolia-lined (dog-friendly) wine garden for those lazy afternoon sips.

    And the pair knows that with a leash around your wrist and a coffee-negroni in hand (yes, that is a thing you can order here), the food menu has to be snacky. The kitchen’s serving up a concise snack-happy lineup of salumi and cheese platters, breads and dips, and artisan pizzas. Definitely worth a trip in the car with your head out the window.

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    Only 50 metres from the hustle and bustle of Brunswick Street, The Rainbow Hotel has a classic pub vibe with a reasonably progressive dog policy: all good pooches welcome — albeit through the side door. The undercover outdoor courtyard (complete with pool table) is the perfect place for an afternoon bev with your best furry friend. Or hair of the dog, with your hairy dog.

    And for a bite you really can’t share, no matter how mournfully your dog looks at you, we recommend the spicy buffalo wings with blue cheese sauce — only for humans. The pub runs great daily meal specials, too, if your pup is lucky enough to get a mid-week outing.

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    You won’t find a more Melbourne establishment than Industry Beans. Nestled in an old warehouse in a quiet corner of Fitzroy, this minimalist cafe takes the business of coffee very seriously. The menu is broad, evolving and beautifully presented. And the coffee — roasted in-house — is some of the best you’ll find, with beans sourced from all over the world.

    Although the inside can get a bit busy on weekend, the outdoor seating area is perfect for a spot of brekky or lunch — especially because it’s dog-friendly. The courtyard makes it easy to order takeaway coffee on the fly and not get the leash tangled in chair legs.

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    The Tipsy Cow Malt & Vine Co.

    The Tipsy Cow is a dog-friendly whisky bar in Port Melbourne. Need we say more? Ok! It has a huge drinks menu that’s chock-full of creative cocktails and more liquor than you can shake a stick at.

    The interior is beautifully decorated, in a rich, old-world style (think leather and rugs), and features both indoor and outdoor seating. So your pooch can curl up with you on the gorgeous chairs, or join you at the bar. It doesn’t currently serve much in the way of snacks, so make sure you and Fido eat before you leave home.

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    St Kilda’s Staple Providore is run by Allpress alum Evan Lindau, and he knows exactly what people want: simplicity, good food, and dogs. The buzzing footpath dining area that makes up a decent portion of Staple’s seating capacity is doggo-friendly and perfect for people watching.

    For a simple bite (to fuel you for a couple of laps chasing birds around Albert Park), grab the Staple: a soft boiled egg served with sliced tomato, avocado, hummus, sumac and toast. Or try the beef brisket hash (scraps of which will be perfect as a reward for your well-behaved pup) with seeded mustard, fried egg, watercress and horseradish aioli.

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    Everything at Madame Brussels, from the pink walls to the fabric flowers lining her white wooden archways, will transport you right into a tacky 60s wedding catalogue. Time to crack out that wedding dress you bought for your dog! And to think, people said you’d never use it.

    During the day, well-behaved and leashed puppers of all varieties are welcome with open arms. Once you and pooch are settled in, we recommend trying one of Madame’s cocktail jugs. A sunny rooftop is deserving of a Pimms bursting with lemon and currants, or a fresh Moscow Mule.

    Madame Brussels also offers a range of tasty morsels and bar snacks, but, with a plate of frosted cupcakes perched upon the bar, it’s impossible not to long for something that, rather appropriately, matches the decor. Just make sure you BYO doggy snacks.

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    Kensington, with its many parks and family-friendly establishments, is the perfect hood for canine-friendly activities. And Henry St Brewhouse, tucked away in an industrial corner of the inner west suburb, is the most perfect of all. It’s a distillery and bar designed with families, groups and pups in mind — that means nothing breakable.

    The bar has a rotating selection of ten taps including a co-op porter with neighbours Rumble Coffee Roasters. At the moment, the bar is only open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights until 11pm, just in time for doggy (and dog parent) bedtime.

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    Arbory, the 150-metre long bar that runs along the Yarra behind Flinders Street Station, is a Melbourne institution. You’ve probably already visited for a riverside bev or espresso martini from the tap. But did you know it’s also dog-friendly? It makes sense, really — all that outdoor space and relaxed atmosphere is perfect for pooches and people alike.

    Once you’ve found your table, the standout choice on the menu to be the double cheeseburger. Your dog will definitely approve of the beef patty, but the bacon, brioche bun, mellow and creamy Monterey cheese, sundried tomato relish, slip of lettuce and pickle all work together to elevate this burger to superstar status.

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    If your pooch, like most pooches, goes absolutely wild for the beach, you’ve probably already found yourself at Republica right on St Kilda Beach. The sandy courtyard brings in weary dog owners of all varieties and reinvigorates them with cocktails and snacks while their puppers recover from chasing seagulls. If you’ve worked up a serious appetite chasing Rover, we recommend the roasted barramundi, mussels, cider cream, peas and potato dumplings for a filling meal.

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As you drink and dine with your American Express, reap all the sweet rewards of being a Card Member. Explore the many ways American Express has your back here

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