Corrie Watson doesn’t like leaving her dogs at home when she goes to work. At Kent & Co. Wines, a spot on eclectic West Magnolia Avenue in Fort Worth, she doesn’t have to — her border collie and boxer are welcome to stay on the porch.
“I can’t get enough time with my dogs,” said Watson, a co-owner of the wine bar. She knows that’s how her customers feel, too. “Our dogs are cooped up, and our view is that they are a part of our family. On a beautiful Sunday, they should be right there with us.”
Kent & Co. is among a growing number of dog-friendly restaurants in North Texas where people can bring their pooches, usually as long as humans and their canine companions stay on the outdoor patios.
Euless recently adopted an ordinance allowing dogs on patios if restaurants follow guidelines.
To dine at dog-friendly Arlington bars or restaurants, dogs must be rabies-vaccinated and registered with the city, an official told The Shorthorn, the University of Texas at Arlington student newspaper.
While most restaurants allow dogs only on the patio, Caves Lounge allows them inside — preferably on a leash, bartender Jake Dority said.
“We encourage dogs all the time, but on Sundays we have Sunday Funday and we cook out on the back patio,” Dority said. “The only nights I would suggest not bringing them is on karaoke nights just because it gets so busy and loud, and sometimes that can give dogs anxiety.”
UT Arlington seniors Jordan Tyler DuBois and Sydnee Parkhurst said their dog Kinsler loves adventures and meeting anyone who will pet her. DuBois said she liked that Caves didn’t make them walk through a back gate to bring their dog in.
“They brought out a water bowl for her, and everyone on the patio fawned over her,” DuBois told The Shorthorn.
Iconic downtown Arlington eatery J.R. Bentley’s owner Dana Ladd said her restaurant started allowing dogs to dine on its patio when it reopened in April after a July 2013 fire. “Everyone on staff loves having dogs around,” Ladd told the student newspaper. “It’s nice that dogs are being welcomed in businesses, so we would like to get the word out.”
Under the state health code, cities and counties may grant zoning variances allowing dogs at restaurants as long as the eateries follow rules such as posting signs saying dogs are welcome on patios and the employees don’t interact with the pooches.
Fort Worth follows state rules allowing establishments to have a zoning variance for dogs to be on patios as long as the canines are not inside the restaurant, city spokeswoman Cindy Vasquez said.
“For sanitation and safety we require the businesses to be diligent in their cleaning and prevent cross-contamination,” Vasquez said. “The employees are not allowed to interact with the dogs.”
There are exceptions, of course, for service dogs and police dogs.
Recently, the Euless City Council approved an ordinance paving the way for restaurants to allow canines on patios, as long as the establishment meets certain sanitation requirements.
The move was in response to Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar — which has a Dallas location — submitting a site plan to open in the upscale Glade Parks development. Euless will decide case by case if dogs are allowed on restaurant patios, said Mike Collins, director of planning and development.
Bedford, Hurst, Keller and Southlake don’t have ordinances allowing dogs at restaurants.
It’s becoming more socially acceptable to have your dog with you.
Morgan Page, general manager of Bravo Cucina Italiana restaurant in Fort Worth
At the Bravo Cucina Italiana restaurant on South Hulen Street not far from Texas Christian University, dogs are welcome on the patio. General Manager Morgan Page said guests love having the option to bring their beloved pets.
Most who bring their canines are either empty-nesters or retired, she said.
“It’s becoming more socially acceptable to have your dog with you,” Page said. “It’s a big thing in Austin and Europe.”
Bravo welcomes dogs year-round as the patio has heaters and a portion of it can be closed off.
Dog-friendly patios are growing in popularity in Fort Worth, said Beth Hutson, CEO of Hutson Creative, whose clients include Bravo.
“Many businesses are not only animal enthusiasts themselves but realize the importance that pets have in their owners’ lives,” she said. “We’ve definitely seen an increase in canine-friendly patios and special events geared towards dogs amongst our clients.”