Summer in Minnesota can be bliss — you have patios and the lakes and (hopefully) beautiful weather. Which makes it that much harder to leave your dog at home when you head out on the town. You know that guilting look that’s thrown your way when you ease your way toward the door with keys in hand.
Have you considered bringing your pooch with you? Not on a Target run or a trip to the grocery store — but a on date?
“Having a dog around on a first date is especially fun because it instantly gives you something to talk about, and you can see how the other person reacts around your animal,” says Angie Gwiazdon, founder of K-9 Connection, a Twin Cities social group that creates monthly events for dog owners.
We’ve come up with five dates around the Twin Cities where you can have a great time — and bring your dog.
1432 W. 31st St., • 612-825-1572 • www.lucias.com
The food’s superb, and there are wonderful patios. The staff provides a bowl of water for Fido upon your arrival, and when your food arrives, it’s accompanied by homemade dog treats from the bakery. The staff is super-dog-friendly (many come over to pet your pup), and the people-watching is great. One caveat: The tables are close together, so it can get tight. It’s probably best for small- to medium-sized dogs.
MAGERS & QUINN Booksellers
3038 Hennepin Av. S. • 612-822-4611 • www.magersandquinn.com
The book selection is top-notch, and dogs love to roam the aisles, sniffing each corner. The store also has its own dogs — Emma (a Yorkie), Wanda (a Yorkie/shih tzu mix), Tuula (a poodle/min-pin mix) and Trudy (a Havanese) — which can provide its own excitement.
6:30-7:45 p.m. Wed. • Thomas Beach, Lake Calhoun • $15/$12 for your date • www.k9-connection.com
If you really want to get creative, take a dog yoga class (a k a Doga) offered on the south side of Lake Calhoun on Aug. 21. The beginner-friendly class is geared as a time to connect with your pup and stretch.
The class begins with 15 minutes of “socialization” so the dogs — and their owners — can get all of the greetings out of their system. If you have a barking dog, this might not be the best event for you. (My collie barked the entire class, which left no one in a zen state.)
3010 Lyndale Av. S. • 612-721-6088 •www.smittenkittenonline.com
If your date is going extremely well, the indie sex shop Smitten Kitten is also dog-friendly.
OTHER dog-FRIENDLY Uptown SPOTS
Barbette: 1600 W. Lake St., 612-827-5710, www.barbette.com.
Lake of the Isles Off-Leash Recreation Area: 2845 Lake of the Isles Pkwy., 612-230-6400, www.minneapolisparks.org.
Muddy Waters (until 5 p.m.): 2933 Lyndale Av. S. 612-872-2232, www.muddywatersmpls.com.
Paper Source: 3048 Hennepin Av. S., 612-377-0700, www.paper-source.com.
Tin Fish: 3000 E. Calhoun Pkwy., 612-823-5840, www.thetinfishrestaurants.com.
NORTHEAST & NORTH Minneapolis
MPLS PHOTO CENTER
2400 N. 2nd St. • 612-643-3511 • www.mplsphotocenter.com
Yes, the Photo Center allows pups in its gallery. It also has a dog photography exhibit (“Mary Ludington: The Nature of Dogs”) through Sept. 1, so you can peruse the show with your dog at your side. The gallery, which is open until 5:30 p.m., isn’t air-conditioned, though, so you might want to avoid it on the dog days.
ST. ANTHONY PARKWAY OFF-LEASH RECREATION AREA
700 St. Anthony Pkwy., Mpls. • www.minneapolisparks.org
This dog park is heavily woodchipped and is equipped with benches, so you can sit on and chat while your dog runs around. Note: You need an off-leash dog permit, or you could be fined. And bring an old towel so you can clean your dog after all the running/rolling/digging.
THE SAMPLE ROOM
2124 NE. Marshall St. • 612-789-0333 • www.the-sample-room.com
One of the gems of Northeast, the Sample Room’s sizable patio offers much-appreciated shade. The staff will bring out a bowl of ice water for your pup while you partake in delicious wine flights and tasting plates. Plus, Gluek Park is right next door, if Rover needs a bathroom break.
1900 NE. Marshall St. • 612-788-9069 • www.psychosuzis.com
Dogs are allowed on the lower patio, and often get served water before their people counterparts. This is a good spot to gather with a large group of dogs and their owners. You may have to wait for a table, so make sure you can keep your pup occupied. (See Gluek Park, above.)
OTHER NORTHEAST OPTIONS
331 Club: 331 14th Av. NE., 612-331-1746 www.331.mn.
The Bulldog NE. (of course): 401 E. Hennepin Av., 612-378-2855, www.thebulldognortheast.com.
Red Stag Supperclub: 509 1st Av. NE., 612-767-7766, www.redstagsupperclub.com.
Punch Pizza: 201 E. Hennepin Av., 612-623.8114, www.punchpizza.com.
BUTCHER & THE BOAR
1121 Hennepin Av. S. • 612-238-8888 • www.butcherandtheboar.com
The beer garden out back is a wonderful drinking hole for anyone — and her dog. The tables are spaced so there’s plenty of room for your dog to maneuver around, and half of the patio is covered. In the colder months, the staff bring out space heaters and cover it fully. There’s a small garden near the parking lot where dogs can relieve themselves if needed.
1110 Nicollet Mall • 612-332-3908 • www.britspub.com
If you want to visit the bocce courts at Brit’s, your dog must be on his or her best behavior. When you play bocce, your dog must always be attended by someone in your group. If you can meet these requirements, Brit’s makes a fun and unexpected dog date.
TOAST WINE BAR AND CAFe
415 N. 1st St. • 612-333-4305 • www.toastwinebarandcafe.com
This hidden gem, which is tucked away in the North Loop, is extremely dog-friendly. A bowl of ice water and even a few toys are supplied on the small but nice patio. The staff loves to greet the pups. Toast also is within easy walking distance of the North Loop dog park.
NORTH LOOP DOG PARK
3rd St. & 8th Av. N. • www.doggrounds.org
Though it’s fairly small and tucked between lofts and industrial buildings, this dog park is a nice spot to let them run free and chase tennis balls.
OTHER dog-friendly DOWNTOWN OPTIONS
Cafe Lurcat/Bar Lurcat: 1624 Harmon Pl., 612-486-5500, www.cafelurcat.com.
Clubhouse Jäger: 923 Washington Av. N., 332-2686, www.clubjager.com.
Electric Fetus: 2000 4th Av. S., 612-870-9300, www.electricfetus.com.
FRANCE 44 WINE & SPIRITS
4351 France Av. S. • 612-925-3252 • www.france44.com
As long as you stay out of the deli, France 44 is dog-friendly. It offers wine tastings from 4-7 p.m. Friday and 1-6 p.m. Saturday. A good practice is to get your sample and peruse the aisles with your dog so it doesn’t get bored. If you end up purchasing a bottle or two, the cashier may surprise your pup with a treat. Pro tip: On a hot day, a dog with a heavy coat might enjoy a stroll through the beer cooler.
5557 Xerxes Av. S. • 612-424-8334 • www.pizzerialola.com
I prefer late lunch here, since evening crowds scare my pup — and me — away. In the middle of the afternoon, the patio is quiet and you can share pizza and conversation under an ample umbrella, while your dog sips water from a birch bowl. The servers offer handmade dog biscuits and the occasional belly rub.
4321 Upton Av. S. • 612-926-7916 • www.sebastianjoesicecream.com
If you foolishly skipped the ice cream at Lola, or you’re in need of a coffee, Seb Joe’s is another great southwest spot. The ice cream is divine, but the patio is even better. A vending machine offers several flavors of dog treats for only 25 cents.
End the evening with music (and on Fridays, movies!) at the Lake Harriet Bandshell. Cuddle on a blanket, listen to the music and watch the setting sun.
OTHER SOUTWEST SPOTS
Chatterbox Pub: 4501 France Av. S., 612-920-3221, www.chatterboxpub.net.
Trattoria Tosca: 3415 W. 44th St., 612-924-1900, www.trattoriatosca.com.
Turtle Bread Company: 3421 W. 44th St., 612-924-6013, www.turtlebread.com.
ST. PAUL/EAST METRO
NGON VIETNAMESE BISTRO
799 W. University Av., St. Paul • 651-222-3301 • www.ngonbistro.com
Ngon has a gorgeous, quiet patio that offers shade and welcomes dogs with bowls of water. It’s a perfect spot for a romantic evening while your dog naps at your feet.
IZZY’S ICE CREAM
2034 Marshall Av., St. Paul • 651-603-1458 • www.izzysicecream.com
Check out the current flavors on Izzy’s website, which is updated every three minutes, then send your date in to pick up your cone while you secure patio seating with your dog. Don’t forget to get a vanilla Izzy scoop for the hound.
VALI-HI DRIVE IN
11260 Hudson Blvd. N., Lake Elmo • 651-436-7464 • www.valihi.com
There’s ample time for walks between movies, and the bonus of being in your car is that you can provide treats for your date and your dog as well. Just be aware that if you’re seeing a movie with dogs in it, on-screen barking can lead to real-life barking.
OTHER ST. PAUL SPOTS:
Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar: 308 E. Prince St., 651-228-9274, www.blackdogstpaul.com.
The Happy Gnome: 498 Selby Av., 651-287-2018, www.thehappygnome.com.
Shish: 1668 Grand Av., 651-690-2212, www.shishongrand.com.