So it’s a nice summer evening, and you’re ready to go out to grab a bite to eat, but your significant canine, Marco, says, “Take me, take me!!”
You look into those deep brown eyes and say, “I’m so sorry Marco, but restaurants don’t allow dogs.”
Guess what, Marco, now they do, thanks to a Health Department order. It just has to be a place with an outdoor seating area, such as a patio, that can be accessed directly without having to go through the indoor dining room. There are dozens of places in dog-friendly Nashville that will happily let you sit with your human while he eats.
The Health Department ruling from October 2010 was made possible by a state law from the same year that allowed municipalities with populations greater than 100,000 to pass bills allowing the presence of dogs in outside eating areas.
Here are just a few of the Nashville dog-friendly patio restaurants, in no particular order:
1. Jackson’s Bar and Bistro
Jackson’s in Hillsboro Village near Vanderbilt University is a great eclectic place to bring your dog. There’s plenty of covered outdoor seating in an open, airy, and upbeat space, and they offer lunch, dinner, and late-night dining. Dine on everything from gumbo and Caesar salad to wine-steamed mussels and steak frites, to the signature Buffalo feathers, while the fun waitstaff attends to the needs of your four-legged friend. You can also have brunch on Saturday and Sunday.
There are plenty of affordable options for your meal, along with martinis, draft beers, and lattes. And don’t forget to finish with the house specialty – cookie dough egg roll. Jackson’s sprawling, dog-friendly patio has been voted best in town more than once. It’s heated in winter and covered year-round.
1800 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37212
With a name like “Fido”, you just KNOW they’re pet-friendly – after all, it’s a former pet shop turned café. We’re not sure whether Fido is a coffee house or a restaurant, but we do know that Fido likely buys more regionally produced and organic food than any other restaurant in Nashville, and the daily specials board is filled with the Chef’s inventive dishes.
Fido is welcome to rest at your feet at the front sidewalk tables while you dine on Nashville’s finest mix of organic, exotic, and junk foods. Enjoy the famous Local Burger (local beef, lamb and cheddar with caramelized fennel & fig aioli), the Liberal Salad (greens, fruits & nuts), to whole grain pancakes and desserts made on the premises. And a part of their proceeds goes to dogs in need!
3. The Dog of Nashville
Again, how could a place with a name like this NOT be dog-friendly? Adam Deal, owner of The Dog of Nashville is from Chicago, where hot dogs aren’t just food, but works of art. He features specialty hot dogs, and continues to cook up new recipes and hot dog concepts. The Dog of Nashville has won numerous awards including Best Chicago Style Dog, Best Spicy Specialty, and Best Onion Rings by the Nashville Scene.
“The Dog”, as it’s called, has a laid back, casual, and fun patio to hang out – and don’t forget to bring your furry friend! So stop in to say “Hi” and grab one of the best hot dogs you’ll ever eat!
2127 Belcourt Avenue
Nashville, TN 37212
4. Tennessee Brew Works
What can be better than Craft Beer plus Craft Food, unless it’s the HUGE patio where you can sit and enjoy it all with your dog? Their hand-crafted, brewed on-site beers include IPA, Belgian, Stout, and several other year-round and seasonal styles.
Tennessee Brew Works includes an industrial taproom with oak barrel tables, a patio, and live music, including areas where you can overlook the brewing operation. And for eats, try the Five Beer Burger – it’s fantastic! They use five different beers, one each to enhance the flavor of the bun (Extra Easy), onions (Country Roots), sauce (Southern Wit), ketchup (Basil Ryeman), and pickles (Cutaway).
809 Ewing Ave
Nashville, TN 37203
5. Café Fontanella
Yes, you can take Marco and sit and eat on the scenic porch or patio of Barbara Mandrel’s former home! Here is what Buddy from Live Oak, Florida, had to say about his experience: “Treated like Royalty! My people took me here for an afternoon of adult beverages and appetizers. I was treated to loves, pets, and so much attention. I want to go back. My people said the service was outstanding.”
In the hills just minutes north of downtown and inspired by flavors from the old world, Café Fontanella gives you a unique and authentic Italian dining experience. Try any of the non-Americanized, traditional Italian dishes, and don’t forget to finish up with cannoli for dessert!
4225 Whites Creek Pike
Nashville, TN 37189
6. Bunganut Pig
The Bunganut Pig Pub & Eatery, a downtown Franklin staple, has a large patio where you can sit and dine with your significant canine. You even get to have live acoustic music featured on the patio each night during fair weather. Shaded by a natural canopy of trees, the outdoor area can accommodate approximately 70 people [or dogs :)] and offers a great outdoor ambiance. Marco can watch as you play a friendly game of corn hole with your friends, old or new.
“The Pig” as it is called by the locals, has an extensive menu featuring everything from fried bologna to filet mignon and “the best burger in town, guaranteed.” They also have healthy choice dining options in their non-smoking, family- and dog-friendly, live music venue.
1143 Columbia Avenue
(Across from the historic Carter House)
Franklin, TN 37064
7. Puckett’s Grocery
If you’re downtown, don’t worry, you’ve still got some nice spots where Marco can join you for dinner. Puckett’s Grocery has sidewalk tables where you can enjoy the city vibe while dining on delicious Southern fare. Their warm and hospitable ambience extends to your furry friend as well. Do the most important meal of the day right with King’s French Toast, Bubba’s Eggs Benedict, Country Grilled Platter, and Andy’s Skinny Omelet from their breakfast menu.
People have enjoyed what Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant has to offer for years. Puckett’s is where families gather for a great meal, business deals are made, and guests come from all over the world for the taste of Nashville’s best food and live music.
500 Church Street
(corner 5th and Church)
Nashville, TN 37201
8. Castrillo’s Pizza – Inglewood
How much more dog-friendly can a restaurant get than to have their very own dog park right next to the outdoor tables? Go around to the side to enter Castrillo’s – they don’t have any indoor seating, and you and your dog can have dinner in their pretty, fenced-in outdoor area. After all, they want to make sure that both you AND your pet feel like valued customers!
Castrillo’s Pizza is a neighborhood favorite. Family owned and operated, they take pride in providing good quality Italian food and customer service to all of their Inglewood neighbors – including Marco!
1404 McGavock Pike
Nashville, TN 37216
9. Urban Cookhouse
When you go to Urban Cookhouse, you’ll probably be surprised that there’s not a single burger on the menu. Nor are there any chicken wings or French fries. Their fare is almost all prepared on two Big Green Egg Kamado grills, featuring locally and regionally sourced ingredients.
There’s not even one microwave in the place, and they have more fresh vegetables than they do meat. All their sauces and vinaigrettes are made fresh every morning and everything is cooked from scratch.
And the best news is that you can take Marco out with you to “Buy Local, Eat Urban,” because they have not one, but two outdoor patios where he’ll be welcome!
10. Frothy Monkey
The Frothy Monkey is located in a converted craftsman style house in the 12 South neighborhood. You’ll enjoy the great atmosphere, Marco will appreciate all the water bowls outside on the porch and patio, and he’ll enjoy the company of the other dogs enjoying the patio with their humans.
Frothy Monkey is a food-centered coffeehouse where they roast their own coffee and bake their own bread and pastries, and where you can get any meal of the day, including cocktails. You can even come here just to enjoy the vibe – it’s the kind that brings out your creativity.
2509 12th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37204
11. Music City Bar
Here at Music City Bar & Grill, close to Opryland, is a covered, dog-friendly outdoor patio, juke box, pool table, and live country music 7 nights a week. How can you beat that?
They offer live traditional country, alternative country, and acoustic music. It’s a bar, so it’s 21+, but they won’t card Marco. You’ll have your choice of appetizers, salads, burgers, sandwiches, pizza, and the largest selection of draft beer in the Opryland area.
2416 Music Valley Drive
Nashville, TN 37214
12. 12 South Taproom And Grill
This is a great spot to relax with the pup at the end of the week. It’s definitely dog-friendly, and has a wait staff that really knows beer. The menu choices are hot, made-to-order, culinary delights. At the Taproom, you and Marco can enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and live music to top off your hectic week.
Their awesome outdoor seating area is a dog’s paradise, and service is easy-going yet attentive. You’ll love the laid back vibe here.
2318 12th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37204
13. Drifters BBQ
Drifters is a great little hole-in-the-wall restaurant that serves barbecue, Tex-Mex, and a variety of sides. It’s a family friendly, non-smoking place with good food, a good atmosphere, and a huge dog-friendly outdoor seating area. And if you happen to have a friend with you who is vegetarian or vegan, there are numerous options for them, too.
Drifters has live outdoor music on two huge patios, one of which is tent covered for winter. And in the heat of the summer, they’ll try to make sure that you and your furry friend have a place in the shade, and they’ll bring him a big bowl of water.
Elyse in Main said: “My Corgi and I take lots of road trips and this is one of our best finds yet. The staff and the food are amazing. They saw us walk up and came right out to seat us. They made sure we had a table in the shade and brought a big bowl of water. When I ordered a combo platter and mentioned the chicken was for my dog, they not only made sure it had no sauce, but separated it from the other food so it didn’t get anything she might not be able to have on it.” Now, that’s doggy love!
So bring Marco to hear the music and smell the hickory at Drifters in the heart of Historic East Nashville at Five Points.
1008-B Woodland Street
Nashville, TN 37206
And don’t forget – this is just a sampling of the dozens of pet-friendly restaurants in Nashville! Where do you take your dog with you to dine? Please tell us about your favorite in the comments below.