Ask the Critic: Where Do You Like to Dine Al Fresco With Fido?

With weather this glorious, whose "fur kid" isn't antsy to get out of the house and join you for a bite to eat?

My pal Sarah and I spend a good deal of time talking about our dogs and their funny antics, and she's even written a column about taking her pup all over downtown. If anyone knows the lay of the land down there, it's Sarah, and sadly, the only place she's found where she can go with her dog is a certain bar downtown she'd rather not mention. Granted,it's a great bar, but aren't there any restaurants that allow dogs? I figured I'd do the homework and share it with Chow Bella readers.

On page 8 of the county health code for food establishments, it goes into detail about animals being prohibited unless they're service animals. Why would any restaurant ever pimp its pet-friendly patio, in that case?

According to Johnny Diloné, public information officer for Maricopa County Environmental Services, "if an establishment has a patio with an outside entrance and the patio tables are not being served by the establishment" (i.e., if there are not servers waiting on you), it is fine to bring your pet -- at the discretion of the restaurant.

Thing is, there are lots of great restaurants with lovely patios *and* table service that do allow pets -- apparently illegally. Some of the best ones that come to mind are those I can't mention!

In downtown, you can safely grab one of the sidewalk tables at Tammie Coe, bring your dog to the outdoor patio bar at Nine 05, or hang out in front of Z Pizza or behind Baja Fresh.

La Grande Orange in East Phoenix is always a popular destination for people and their pooches. Tempe's House of Tricks allows dogs in the outdoor bar area. At CityNorth, Press Coffee Food Wine has a "Yappy Hour" on Saturdays.

Firesky Resort promotes itself as "one of Scottsdale's most pet-friendly hotels," and Hotel Valley Ho is as well. And coincidentally, tonight is "Yappy Hour" from 4 to 7 on the Crave Cafe patio at the InterContinental Montelucia -- complimentary wine and cheese tastings and $5 glasses of wine for you, and purified ice water in martini glass-shaped dog bowls, complimentary treats, and an animal reiki specialist on hand for the canines.

I'm sure there are many more great spots around town. Where do you like to go? Please give me a heads-up in the comments section!


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