Let’s be honest, the worst part about going out to socialize is having to leave your perfect pooch at home. Stress no more, we have four vibrant venues which welcome your little bundle of joy with open paws. In fact, a lot of these venues are more accommodating to the furry kind of customer than they are to humans. The days of leaving your better half are over; leash up and treat your pup to a day session at one of these fine establishments.
Leonard’s House of Love
3 Wilson Street, South Yarra
If you haven’t experienced Leonard’s House of Love yet, then this should be the first stop on your list. I must admit, I have a huge space in my heart for this hidden gem. Located a stone throw from Chapel Street on a little back street behind Jam factory; yet far enough that you are at peace from the hustle of the main road. The moment you walk in to Leonard’s, you feel the love. Hosting a warm atmosphere, a calming décor, attentive and overly friendly staff as well as a menu to die for!
Leonard’s is exclusively dog friendly, with plenty of outside space with heating to keep you warm in the winter months; throughout the summer there is lots of shaded space to protect you from the Melbourne rays. So you and your pooch can survive the four season days without a care in the world. The menu is a perfect combination of comfort food and guilty pleasures to fill you up all year round.
The best part about Leonard’s, is it will never break your bank account. Mondays are made so much better at Leonard’s, with nachos and a jug of coopers costing you only $20! They never fail to please at this perfect little spot in South Yarra, both human and dog leave with a massive grin on their face!
Federation Wharf 1-9, Melbourne
We’ve sniffed out a good one for you – Riverland Bar is calling you and dogs of all types to come visit and lounge by their waterfront. Escape Melbourne’s hustle and bustle with your furry friend at this urban beer garden hideaway. Conveniently located on the banks of the Yarra, this iconic venue is an easy go-to spot in the CBD as it’s found just below Federation Square.
With plenty of outside space for you and your four-legged pal, you’ll be enjoying flawless Melbourne city views with a drink in hand, and a water bowl for your pooch. It’s the ideal spot for beers and bites whilst enjoying a relaxed, warm atmosphere. There’s undercover areas outside if you’re needing some shade, but also plenty of open air if you’re wanting to enjoy some sun. That doesn’t sound ruff to us!
College Lawn Hotel
36 Greville Street, Prahran
If you haven’t had a Sunday session at College Lawn Hotel yet, then are you even a Melbournian? College Lawn hosts one of the best beer gardens you will find on the South side of the Yarra. It is well known for its big Sundays throughout the summer, and with a ridiculous amount of TVs plotted across the 4 bars, there is no better place to watch some winter footy or keep up with the Bledisloe cup than the Lawn. The beer garden is the perfect spot to take your pooch for a date, they even host a quarterly event called Paws on the Lawn where pups are the guests of honour and everything is paws related. Who better to wingman you than your furry friend? Hosting several heaters across the venue, College Lawn is prepared for all weather conditions throughout the winter, as well as several under cover spots to keep you and the pup cool in the hot summer months.
The menu is jam packed with traditional pub grub meals to keep you filled, including a mouth-watering Parma which I guarantee you will return for the following week. Throughout the week there are plenty of daily specials to get excited about, including a $20 burger and beer special on a Wednesday and $15 Parma’s on Thursdays. You will never leave College Lawn Hotel hungry, and the meals are big enough that you can treat your pup to a couple of chips if they are being good!
I assure you, spend one day at the College Lawn and you will continue coming back. This treasure ticks all the right boxes!
The General Assembly
29 S Wharf Promenade, South Wharf
Explore the dark, mysterious interiors of the General Assembly, without having to get lost in the CBD. Encompassing Melbourne’s hidden back streets and alleyways, this restaurant can be easily found next to DFO and Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre – so it’s the perfect place to bring your four-legged best pal after a good shop.
Jam packed with Melbourne’s latest food trends, classic and unique cocktails and 49 taps of ice cold beer, you are guaranteed a good time! Its walls feature street art installations, mirroring Melbourne’s hidden laneways and its hanging lights will take your back to dim-lit summer nights. With live music every Friday, Saturday and Sunday and remarkable waterside sights in its spacious outdoor area, you and your pooch will be coming back for more! With a venue this good, your Dalmatian would say that it hits the spot!
59 Bourke Street, CBD
If you and your pooch have a taste for the finer things in life, then Madame Brussels is definitely the place for an outing. Located in the heart of the CBD, however hidden on the 3rd floor of a building you would not expect, you may need to get your pup to sniff it out first.
As you approach the entrance, you instantly feel like you have walked in to a dreamland. Welcomed by the most
beautiful friendly staff, all dressed in white tennis gear, the cocktails will not be the only thing getting you and your dog drooling. Some of the finest cocktails come out of the bar, along with exquisite cheese and meat boards to keep your tummy from rumbling. The luxurious indoor garden is equipped with loungers for you to relax in as the attentive waiters bring you over a signature Moscow Mule; while the rooftop terrace hosts a view to die for and heaters to keep you nice and toasty.
What better way to spend your day than being waited on hand and foot looking over the city skylines, make sure your pups in bed by the evening though, as once the sun sets its humans only allowed!
Federation Wharf, 15-19 Federation Drive
As one of Melbourne’s hidden gems tucked away below Federation Square, we’re sure that this venue will keep your dog’s tail wagging for days. Pilgrim boasts an all-Australian menu with locally sourced produce and spectacular waterfront views. The restaurant’s wooden features contrast the green trees and sparkling waters that surround you.
With its wide, outdoor area open to your furry friends, it’s no wonder that Melburnians keep coming back here! Its undercover outside space is perfect for Melbourne’s temperamental 4-seasons-in-one-day, and will keep you and your pooch visiting in rain or shine. Enjoy $5 Happy Hour drinks from 4:30-6:30pm from Sunday-Thursday, which includes all Australian beer, wine or bubbles. You won’t be the only one sipping the afternoon away, as Pilgrim will also treat your four-legged friends with complimentary water– cheers to that!
Welcome To Thornbury
520 High Street, Northcote
If it’s good food, craft beer and an overload of dogs you want, this is the place for you! Welcome to Thornbury is the second largest beer garden in Melbourne and it is jam packed with goodness. Accommodating over 80 different food trucks on a monthly basis, rotating from day to day; each visit will be a little bit different to the next. The drinks list entertains a selection of crafty local beers, Australian wines and cocktails by the jug to keep you hydrated. There is always something going on at Welcome to Thornbury to keep you and your pooch entertained, whether it be a mimosa festival or a vegan veg out!
To celebrate the existences of our favorite furry friends, on the third Wednesday of every month, Welcome to Thornbury hosts a “Good Dogs of Darebin” with the assistance of Good dog behavior & training. The event is a dedication to all things dog, with rotating guests from several animal rescue centres and training centres. It is the perfect time to introduce your pup to others and learn a few things about our four-legged friends.
So the next time you are organizing a get together for you and your human friends, why not make it an even bigger party and bring all your pups along; it is a dogs life after all.
The Boatbuilders Yard
23 S Wharf Promenade, South Wharf
Generous outdoor decking, open air, fairy lights and a dog-friendly space? We know, it sounds too good to be true but we’re being fur’real! You can find the Boatbuilders Yard nestled behind Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and DFO, right beside the Yarra River.
Surrounded by sparking waters and sky-high buildings, and the Polly Woodside sailing ship in plain sight, it’s easy to sit back and take a break from your week. Find your own way to relax with multiple zones to chill out, including a Bocce sand pit and custom-built Corona garden. You won’t be the only one unwinding, as dog bowls are provided for your furry friend so that they can enjoy the beautiful Melbourne views with you.
294 Glen Huntly Rd, Elsternwick
Just like Ariana’s song, this place is an absolute hit! Bang Bang sits proudly in the heart of Elsternwick, and is inspired by French Indochine flavours. With sizzling deals like $15 curries on Tuesdays from 5-10pm and $5 Happy Hour from 4:30-6:30pm, it’s no surprise that this this is a local hot spot.
Enjoy a drink guilt-free, as you watch your furry friend enjoy themselves at the dog park right next door or enjoy their company in the vast outdoor, undercover space that Bang Bang offers. Chill out and enjoy its laid-back vibes amongst the business of your week!
By Mia Mildren and Grace Soetopo