One of the things I have noticed since moving to New Orleans is how dog-friendly this city is. Maybe it's because my boyfriend, Chris, loves his dog, Leila, and spoils her rotten, but there really are a lot of New Orleans establishments that think everyone should join in the fun, whether you have two legs or four.
I started thinking about this after Chris and I recently enjoyed cheese and wine at St. James Cheese Company, an adorable cheese shop and restaurant. We chose the place because the eatery allows dogs on the patio, and Chris thought it would be fun if Leila tagged along. I was a little apprehensive about this outing because while I like dogs, I've never loved other people's dogs in public places. While my family always had a dog growing up, I never really considered myself a “dog person.” (I think I take after my mom who introduces the family dog as “the marriage compromise.”)
However, after I started dating Chris, I quickly learned that for me to love Chris, I had to love Leila, too. And since we have been dating, I really do love Leila and I've found that I am becoming more open to dog-focused activities. Our date at St. James Cheese Company got me thinking about all the places that allow dogs in New Orleans. So below are a few places I have either experienced or heard about from friends. I know there are a lot more, but here are the places I've heard about the most:
St. James Cheese Company
Like I said earlier, Chris and I enjoyed wine and cheese at St. James Cheese Company over the weekend. We enjoyed the delicious cheeses, while Leila sat on the patio. We did feel kind of weird at first because we were the only people on the patio with a dog, but we got over that quickly. No one seemed to care, and the man who brought us our cheese even complimented Leila. It was very pleasant.
Bark in the Park
This actually happened back in April, but I suggest all dog-lovers look for Bark in the Park Day with the New Orleans Zephyrs next year. Chris and I took Leila to Zephyr Field because dogs were invited for one day to sit on the levee behind the outfield. When we got to the ballpark, we paid $6 per human (dogs got in free) to sit on the levee, and we received a free T-shirt and a “just-in-case” poop bag for Leila. There were also big blue water dishes set up throughout the levee area so dogs could help themselves to water in the hot sun. It was a funny afternoon. There were dogs of all types, but they all stayed with their owners, so the afternoon wasn't the chaos I expected. It was also for a good cause; 50 percent of the proceeds went to the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Bark Park at Lafreniere Park
One day Chris and I were looking for a dog park for Leila and we found the Bark Park at Lafreniere Park in Metairie. While City Bark at City Park gets the most attention for dog parks, it requires that your dog have a permit, and Chris and I didn't want to wait for that. I wrote about our experience at Lafreniere Park for New Orleans Magazine, so you can read more about it here. All in all, it’s a very nice park because it has a place for large dogs and a place for small dogs, and it has a hose to clean off your dog when you’re ready to leave.
City Bark at City Park
Chris and I have not brought Leila to City Bark at City Park yet because, like I said before, dogs have to have a permit and it’s $43 per year (or $38 if you’re Friends of City Park member). There is a permit you have to fill out, which you can do here.
Mid-City Yacht Club
As much as people drink in New Orleans, it only makes sense that they would invite their dogs to come with. At Mid-City Yacht Club, dogs are allowed both outside and inside. I do get a little nervous when people don’t have their dogs on a leash because there’s a lot of traffic that goes by that bar and sometimes I worry that one of the dogs is going to get run over. However, the people at this bar always seem relaxed and so do the dogs.
It makes sense that a bar named "The Bulldog" would allow dogs. The bar has two locations in New Orleans – one Uptown and one in Mid-City – and both are dog-friendly. I haven’t brought Leila here yet, but I have been here and they have an impressive beer selection.
There are many, many more places, so if you have a favorite dog-friendly spot, feel free to leave a comment.