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5 Dog-Friendly Dates For Chicago's Dog Lovers

By Staff in Food on Oct 7, 2015 2:55PM

The author's dogs on a date of their own. Photo by Maureen O'Brien.

By Maureen O'Brien

Chicagoans love their animals, and especially their dogs. A man walking down the street with a puppy in Chicago will have a date within the first three blocks. And if a dog can get you a date, why shouldn’t our canine wing-men accompany us? Dog-friendly eating environments are becoming more and more common across the country, and Chicago is no exception.

Here are five great date ideas that include your furry friend.

For the Romantic Dog Lover

There is little more that is heart-meltingly classy than a picnic in the park. And while you could make your own picnic, there are also places in the city that will prep one for you and present it in a stunning basket with wine or craft beer. For this extra special treat, head to one of Pastoral's three locations around the city or order your picnic in advance online. Settle in to the great outdoors and enjoy delicious food in the company of those who make you smile, and multitask with your basket of goodies and your leash in the other. Pro-tip: bring something that will sustain your dog, or you risk losing some of your delicious meal.

For the Dog Lover on a Budget

The dive bar is a classic choice for dog lovers. Since no food is made here, they are often dog-friendly, hurrah! One of our favorites is The Norse Bar in Edgewater. They have an ever-changing monthly beer selection, taken from the finest crafters currently in the business, and they won’t make a fuss of your dog. This is an unpretentious bar: they have beer, they have spirits, they have games (both video and board) and in case your conversation needs a boost, sports play on three televisions. Possibly best of all, they are happy for you to order food and have it delivered right to your booth. All the ingredients of an awesome date without breaking the bank.

For the Food-Loving, Active Dog Lover

The active dog-lover should head to Bucktown and get in line at Small Cheval, arguably one of the best burgers in the city, then take a stroll along The 606. But if you don’t feel like eating on the go, they also have a dog-friendly patio. We recommend you take an evening stroll after rush hour; enjoy the sunset, your delicious burgers, a happy dog, the view of the city and the conversation of your date. You can impress your date with your knowledge of the Chicago food scene, exhaust your dog for the day, and, with the evenings getting chillier, you'll have more excuses for hand-holding and snuggling.

For the Traditionalist Dog Lover

Patios are a godsend for those who want to bring their dog out on dates with them, but you have to be aware of the restrictions. If you can’t get access to the patio without going through the restaurant, then your dog cannot come in. Furthermore, after the summer, many of these patios close and once again, Fido is a no-go. Fizz Bar and Grill in Lakeview is the answer to this problem. They have a heated patio that is open year round and allows dogs. The service is awesome; they serve classic, tasty bar food and with the heaters, your pet can snuggle up and relax. Head down here if you are a traditionalist who likes to eat, drink and be merry the old fashioned way.

For the Fair-Weather Dog Lover

The sad reality of Chicago weather is that it is simply can't always be patio season. But when it is, there are endless patio options around. And one of the finest options, if you feel like spoiling yourself, your date and your dog, is The Promontory. This relative newcomer to the Hyde Park neighborhood comes from the group responsible for Longman and Eagle and serves up some top hearth-to-table meals. While their patio does close in the really cold weather, they will be open well into October. It’s just an added bonus that they so warmly welcome that additional family member.