Where to Eat Austin
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Where to eat in Austin right now: 10 top dog-friendly eateries

Where to eat in Austin right now: 10 top dog-friendly eateries

Banger's Sausage House & Beer Garden dog
Grab your pup and head out to eat. Photo courtesy of Banger's Sausage House & Beer Garden

Patio weather means one important thing in Austin: We can bring our dog to brunch, lunch, or dinner. No need to drop him off at home after hiking, just let him tag along and enjoy a day outdoors. We’ve compiled a list of dog-friendly eateries in all price ranges and styles, from Round Rock to the 78745.

The ABGB
While many local breweries are dog-friendly, The ABGB stands out as the dog-friendliest. As advocates for shelter dogs, they often host adoption events and fundraisers in the ample patio and brew a different APA! APA — an American Pale Ale whose sales raise funds for Austin Pets Alive! — four times a year. But the food is not an afterthought here. The kitchen crafts a thoughtful menu of small plates, pizza, salads, and sandwiches prepared with as many local ingredients as possible, with many vegetarian and gluten-free options available.

Banger's Sausage House & Beer Garden
Banger's is a favorite spot for dog and beer lovers to gather and while the evening away on a picnic table under the trees. Doggy highlights include a fenced-in dog run, plenty of water bowls, and even a special menu for hungry pups. For us, there’s an outstanding selection of brews, house-made sausages, and other specials. We love the ever-changing Yonder Way Farmer Special for brunch, featuring Yonder Way Farms eggs in playful interpretations of things like Frito pie, shrimp and grits, and other creations from chef Ted’s inspiration. For dessert, make any porter, stout, or root beer into an ice cream float. Bangers is also involved in giving back to doggy charities and hosts a fun monthly Mega Mutt Mondays event featuring lots of puppy love and pet-centric vendors.

Contigo
Aside from having one of the best dog-friendly patios in town, Contigo is a favorite hangout for locals seeking a laid-back spot where they can enjoy excellent cocktails; a fine selection of wine and beer; and fresh South Texas ranch-inspired fare prepared with super fresh, local ingredients. Where else can you find house-made charcuterie, veggie-centric small plates, and main dishes like rabbit and dumplings served at picnic tables under the stars? Plus, the seasonal cocktail program from bar manager Nicole Cruz always offers interesting and delicious libations. We recommend bringing Benji over on Sunday for a casual brunch with friends, or grab him on a weeknight after work for fantastic happy hour specials.

Greenhouse Craft Food
Folks in Round Rock don’t have to drive all the way into Austin to find a cozy diner offering farm fresh seasonal fare and local craft brews where they can dine alongside their four-legged buddy. Greenhouse has a small patio that welcomes well-behaved doggies, and although there’s no dedicated menu for them, chances are they may snag a bite of that juicy burger made with freshly ground local beef. The regular menu focuses on simple fare like sandwiches, soups, and salads, but they offer daily chef’s specials that go beyond the bun. Whatever you do, try their signature poblano gouda soup or the unique green chile queso with fresh corn pico.

The Little Darlin’
Folks in the 78745 are flocking to this hangout for its convivial atmosphere and huge dog-friendly, grass-covered patio. Now also open for lunch, the Darlin’ serves classic American fare with a Southern twang and a hint of gourmet, from Antonelli’s cheese plates to grilled pimento cheese sandwich with house-pickled cherry peppers, chili-stuffed cornbread, and fried catfish po’boys. There are vegetarian options like grilled butternut squash and kale dotted with pepitas, feta cheese, green olives, and sherry vinaigrette, and hearty entrees like 44 Farms tri-tip steak with pomme puree, broccoli, Fresno chiles, and Bordelaise. While food this good could use a much better wine selection, the bar features a solid beer list with local choices and a full bar that features ice cold Fernet on tap and frozen cocktail specials.

Opal Divine’s
North Austin residents are lucky to have the last remaining outpost of this beloved, locally owned pub. Opal’s was one of the first Austin establishments to allow our furry family members on the patio, and the Marina location remains true to that standard. The unfussy atmosphere is matched by the pub-grub menu, which uses lots of locally sourced ingredients. We’ve always been partial to the fish and chips, but the Philly cheesesteak taco comes in a close second. Here, your pup can enjoy treats from their own menu, like Fido Froyo from Chloe’s Barkery and house-made puppy patties in three different sizes. Wash it all down with a killer selection of tequila and whiskey, Texas brews, and excellent margaritas.

Ranch 616
We love hanging out on the patio of this funky and happening downtown spot. Doggies are always welcomed with a bowl of cool water while their owners enjoy what may be the city’s best margaritas and nosh on seriously good South Texas-style fare. On a warm spring day, nothing beats the heat like the signature Ranch Water — tequila, Citronge, and fresh lime served in a tall, ice-filled glass with a Topo Chico — and you’ll be hard-pressed to find more delicious fried oysters anywhere (oh, that amazing green goddess dip!). Carnivores should take note of the framed burger, a freshly-ground Angus patty stuffed with a daily chef’s choice ingredient, and the chicken fried quail should be on your bucket list.   

Sala & Betty
This sweet spot on Airport Boulevard serves hearty home-style fare and overstuffed sandwiches for lunch and refined, eclectic dishes for dinner. The super friendly, laid-back atmosphere is complemented by an ample covered patio where all four-legged family members are welcome. General manager Diana Salazar is a huge dog-lover and will personally come greet your pooch with a bowl of water and a treat, and will gladly give you drink recommendations from the small but thoughtful craft beer and wine list. From the sandwiches we recommend The Sala, smoked chicken, mixed greens, cilantro mint yogurt, and house-made fries in a crusty roll (all sandwiches are available in a gluten-free cauliflower tortilla), but don’t overlook the gourmet burger made with Wagyu beef. The dinner menu changes seasonally and uses products from local farms.

Vinaigrette
Located just south of the river, this New Mexico transplant boasts one of the loveliest patios in Austin under the shade of a majestic oak. Owner Erin Wade loves dogs, so they are always welcome and there are plenty of water bowls available for them. For you, they feature fresh, inventive salads topped with healthy proteins, and an array of cool cocktails made with fresh-pressed juices. There’s a new 3-6-9 Happy Hour Monday through Friday, from 2:30-4 pm, featuring select $3 juice drinks; $6 juice cocktails; and $9 salads, including our favorite, Eat Your Peas. Brunch includes New Mexican-inspired chile dishes, turmeric mimosas, and a killer Kale Mary made with kale, celery, Thai bird chile, and fresh grape tomato juice with horseradish, soy, and Tru Organic Garden Vodka. 

Yard Bar
Yard Bar is really a dog park that happens to have a sweet little restaurant and bar. Find a picnic table, walk to the window, and order from a menu of gussied-up comfort foods like spicy deviled eggs, addicting hush puppies, Frito pie, and sandwiches, all made from scratch with farm-fresh ingredients. Of course they have a doggy menu that includes local Bones & Co. sliders and homemade ice cream. The bar is no slouch, with a legit cocktail program that offers creative mocktail options, a list of Texas-only beers on draft and in cans, and good wines on tap. Let Pickles romp around with his fellow pups under the watchful eye of the park rangers while you and your friends catch up over drinks and snacks.