Having a dog means that you’ve always got a friendly face happy to see you when you come home — but it also means that sometimes you’re limited in where you can go out, if you don’t want to leave your four-legged buddy behind.
Austin, thankfully, is a big dog-loving city with ample parkland, like Zilker Park, where they can run and play. And many of the local bars, with spacious patio areas, are happy to accommodate your pooch while you can lounge with friends. Here are a handful of those places.
6700 Burnet Rd. yardbar.com.
If there was any hangout in town intended just as much for the pooches as for the humans, this one’s it. Yard Bar opened in summer 2015 as a combination dog park, bar and restaurant — with the outdoor patio seating where you eat kept separate from the large, wide-open play area for the dogs — and has since proven to be a delight for both owner and pet.
The canines have tennis balls to catch, obstacles courses to work out and toys to play with, all under the supervision of watchful Yard Bar employees. You can join them in the fenced-in park, sipping a canned beer purchased from the inside bar, or take refuge at one of the picnic tables under a set of leafy trees outside the park. That’s where classic snack and pub food, like spicy deviled eggs and a fried chicken sandwich (called the Yard Bird), keeps us as happy as our pups.
Hops & Grain
507 Calles St., #101. hopsandgrain.com.
The East Austin brewery doesn’t have a very large outdoor area, but make no mistake — Hops & Grain loves all of our four-legged friends. Founder Josh Hare and his wife, Meg, have two of their own and even named two of the brewery’s most well-known beers after them: Pale Dog, now part of the seasonal roster, and The One They Call Zoe, arguably the most beloved Hops & Grain brew.
Plus, Hops & Grain offers brew biscuits in the taproom made from spent grains. So while you’re drinking the latest Greenhouse IPA, your dog has a pretty special treat of his own as well.
Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden
79 Rainey St. bangersaustin.com.
While you sip on some rare small-batch brew only available at a few bars around town, your furry friend can romp around in the off-leash dog park at the back of the beer garden or simply sit at your feet.
The Rainey Street bar also regularly hosts Mega Mutt Monday, which brings in various canine-related vendors, plays live music and has all-day happy hour each time. This month’s event is from 6 to 9 p.m. on April 17 and will have YoDawg Snackery, Dawgtown, Ruff Adventures Photography and more offering their wares and services, along with tunes from the Rollfast Ramblers.
Banger’s recently announced a multi-million dollar expansion that will add 15,000 sq. ft and more than 200 taps to the beer bar. No doubt the massive increase in space will be a boon to the dogs, too.
The Little Darlin’
6507 Circle S Rd. facebook.com/TheLittleDarlinBar/.
Live a little south of town? Welcome to this relatively new dog-friendly haunt off South Congress Avenue and East William Cannon.
A far South Austin dive with locally sourced food and drinks, the Little Darlin’ opened last spring as the brainchild of a group of experienced bar owners who knew exactly what the area needed: a bar that feels more like an old friend’s home, with an expansive backyard, a covered patio with TVs and a split-level interior with booths, pool tables and cold Austin beers. The backyard also has washer and horseshoe pits and — perhaps most importantly for us — lets in dogs on leashes.
Dog House Drinkery
3800 County Rd. 175, Leander. doghousedrinkery.com.
People who live north of town don’t have to drive too far to find a prime pooch-loving place, either, thanks to Dog House Drinkery. The 2 1/2 acre hangout got its start with a large dog park and then added food and drink for the humans. Enjoy those — either beer or wine, and then comfort food like burgers — in a wood-walled bar area covered in funny canine-related sayings (“In dog beers, I’ve only had one”). In there, your pet can stay with you.
But if you’d rather be outdoors with your dog, that’s an option with a choice of three dog parks: the main one (a half-acre off-leash area) and additional ones specifically for small dogs and for special events like adoptions and training. The main park, helpfully, provides easy access to the bar.
1305 W. Oltorf St. theabgb.com.
The South Austin brewpub offers a great many wondrous things for locals: constant live music; easy-drinking house beers like the Hell Yes Helles; mouthwatering pizzas, salads and sandwiches; and myriad events including fundraisers for one of Austin’s biggest nonprofits, Austin Pets Alive. At those fundraisers, the ABGB often has a small-batch American pale ale on tap whose proceeds benefit APA — a series of beers cleverly called the APA!APA series.
On other days, of course, the brewpub and accompanying beer garden is still a very dog-friendly place; like fellow brewery Hops & Grain, the ABGB also has dog biscuits on hand and dog bowls for water.