For eight years, Melissa Barton had a dog that needed a lot of extra care, which made it tricky to get out and about because many bars and restaurants don’t allow dogs.
“It was like having an infant for eight years,” she said.
The frustration led to an idea. And the idea ultimately transformed into a business opportunity, which opened its doors to the public as the Doghouse Drinkery & Dog Park just north of Austin in Leander.
Barton opened her business in 2012, and it has been attracting more dog-lovers ever since. There’s a half-acre, off-leash fenced dog park where small and large dogs can play, and the canines are allowed inside as well.
The bar serves a wide-ranging assortment of beers and wine. A food trailer operates Thursday through Sunday.
“We offer a little bit of everything out here,” she said. “It’s different.”
Dog owners have to check-in at the bar where they sign off on the rules of the Doghouse Drinkery & Dog Park and trained staff quickly evaluate dogs to ensure they’re not aggressive. There’s a $5 fee for one day, and a year-long membership costs $50. They have trained monitors watching the dog park to ensure that no children are in the fenced-in area and that the dogs behave.
“It’s like a Cheers bar,” Barton said. “There’re no barriers here. Everybody pretty much knows everybody.”
Austin Has Many Dog-Friendly Establishments
Barton’s bar is unique. But Austin has dozens of patios where dogs are welcome. Almost all require leashes, which makes sense. A leash comes in handy if you need to step inside, where dogs are usually not allowed, to use the restroom.
Most establishments have water bowls available. Some even have treats. But it’s wise to bring a bowl and treats with to make your time more worry-free.
Here’s a look at a few popular dog-friendly establishments in and around Austin.
- Doghouse Drinkery & Dog Park, 3800 County Road 175, Leander: As described above, it’s one of the most wide-open places to bring your dog, kick back with a few beers and watch a game.
- Spider House, 2908 Fruth St.: With a dog-friendly patio, eclectic decor, great food options and every coffee and alcoholic drink you can think of, it’s a great place to bring your furry friend. There’s a nearby open space boulevard and Adams-Hemphill Neighborhood Park if you want a quick walk.
- Scholz Garten, 1607 San Jacinto: A prime spot near the Capitol downtown, Scholz is one of the city’s oldest and most historic bars. Have a pint and chill with your pooch in their shaded biergarten. Waterloo Neighborhood Park is about three blocks away if you want to get a little stroll in with your dog.
- Opal Divine’s, 3601 S. Congress Ave: Great food, crisp drinks and plenty of patio space for you and your dog to relax and socialize.
- Draught House, 4112 Medical Parkway: With a nice patio, regular visits from food trucks and one of the city’s most extensive beer lists, Draught House is a prime destination to bring your pup. Ramsey Park, just a block west of the bar, is a nice place to get a little walk in before or after.
- Crown & Anchor Pub, 2911 San Jacinto: This little bar and grill is popular among students. It has a nice shaded patio for you and your canine to enjoy. It’s just a couple blocks east of Adams-Hemphill Neighborhood Park
- Central Market, 4001 N. Lamar: Dogs can’t go grocery shopping, but they hang out with you on the big patio where there’s a tasty cafe and live music in the evenings. Check out the playground and walking trail just a few feet away.
- Barton Springs Saloon, 424 S. Lamar: Just a short jaunt from Barton Springs, which has a great place to jump in the water with your dog just east of the pool area, the saloon is a prime spot to relax on the patio with your dog. A couple blocks away is Auditorium Shores, which has an off-leash dog park.