“A dog walks into the bar” isn’t far from par in this town. In this case, however, there’s no punch line — Sarasota is relatively dog friendly. Pull a seat nearby and treat your best friend (with a tail) to some dog-friendly spots — or even an $18 filet mignon if he’s into that kind of thing. Here are some top-dog places to have a tail-wagging good time:
The Old Salty Dog
1601 Ken Thompson Parkway, 388-4311
It says it in the name. Although they’re more famous for the Salty Dog hot dog than for a place to bring your pup. Old Salty Dog has two locations, but the one we’re referring to is on the water at City Island and has great seafood and cocktails. It’s a great spot for sunset — whether it’s for happy, rather yappy, hour or for dinner. The atmosphere is equally as great as the food.
431 St. Armands Circle, 388-4415
Café L’Europe is the fine dining of dog friendly. Whether your pup is sophisticated with a well-honed palate, or just plain spoiled — this is the spot. Your dog will be well attended and his water (with ice) will never go dry. There’s not only the option for bottled water “for the pampered pooch,” as the dog menu reads, but there’s also steak tartare, grilled chicken with steamed carrots and dog ice cream, to name a few.
O’Leary’s Tiki Bar and Grill
5 Bayfront Drive, 953-7505
O’Leary’s offers the best view for four-legged-friends. Adjacent to Island Park on the bayfront, it’s the perfect place to go after a long walk. The employees are attentive and typically bring over a cold one, or dog bowl of water, whenever they see a furry patron. There’s often live music to liven the view, which varies from Jimmy Buffet cover songs to steel drums. And there are dogs of all sizes lounging on the deck while their owners enjoy a burger, fries and the company of fido. O’Leary’s is even open for breakfast.
Sun Garden Café
210 Avenida Madera, 346-7170
Dogs may not be allowed on Siesta Key beach, but they’re welcome here. Sun Garden Café is the place where everybody knows your name, and your dog’s, too. This Siesta Key breakfast and lunch staple has a shaded, serene patio space and great food. Perfect for a quiet and relaxed morning.
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