A Dog Walks Into A Bar


From top: Dog-friendly Oscar’s, Smithfield, Dublin 7; Doggie Date Night at Doyle’s Corner, Phibsboro, Dublin 7


Recent repeal of Irish law has lead to an emerging market for Dublin businesses.

John Donlon writes:

Sitting in a trendy bar in Dublin’s northside, Tippi is young, fair-haired and catches more than her fair share of approving glances.

Having been given a complimentary drink and food by the bar staff, she’s feeling fairly gregarious and happy to be here.

While she’s not a party animal, there are a fair few watering holes between Smithfield, Stoneybatter and Phibsboro where she knows she’ll always be welcome.

This wasn’t always the case and until relatively recently, she would have been shown the door and told where to go in no uncertain terms.

That’s because Tippi is a 3 year old Bichon-Pomeranian mix and a patron of the many now dog-friendly pubs and cafes on the city’s northside.

Where the default in the past would have been ‘no dogs’ (except guide dogs), premises in the capital are increasingly taking the ‘lead’ from the custom on the continent and allowing our furry friends.

Tippi’s ‘dog mother’ and bar manager at Doyle’s Corner bar in Phibsboro, Ciara Kellagher told us about that establishment’s recent ‘Doggy Date Night’ promotion and their dog-friendly policy.

Ciara says:

“It was a promotion we did to get a lot of traction on social media, every Wednesday night, you and your partner, friend, whatever, could come in for a two-course meal, a bottle of wine for €40 and you could also bring your dog with you, who also got a doggy beer too.”

With pet ownership steadily increasing from already-high levels, in Ireland, it’s little wonder that a number of establishments are sniffing around this emerging market.

While the promotion was a success in and of itself, garnering Doyle’s some always-appreciated pup-licity online, the real motivation behind it was to get the word out about the new management’s pro-canine position.

Ciara adds:

“The main thing was kinda to make people aware that we’re a dog-friendly bar, that was the main thing. We did kinda stop it after a while because the word got out there that we were dog-friendly anyways and we didn’t need to push the promotion because people were coming in with their dogs anyways’.”

Doyle’s has the benefit of being structured so that they can provide both a dog-friendly and dog-free area depending on your preference.

Ciara adds

“It was not dog-friendly before we took over the bar, but when we took over we made the decision because the bar is split into two halves, our snug bar is dog-friendly but if you don’t like dogs you have the option of sitting in the lounge bar’.”

Given that the presence of dogs in almost any business in Ireland is a relatively new phenomenon, the public seems to have taken to the change fairly rapidly.

The reaction, says Ciara, has been…

 “…mostly positive, we’ve only had one complaint from a woman who was allergic to dogs, but we did tell her that if you had made us aware, we could have told you that you can sit on the other side.”

Ciara cites the recent repeal of a 1950s law in Ireland which has paved the way for publicans to decide whether or not they want to allow domestic animals on their premises.

She says:

“It was only very recently that the law in Ireland was changed to allow dogs in premises that serve food. I think Dublin’s only now starting to pick up on the trend of that, and more and more there’s more bars and cafes allowing dogs.”

Just down the road, in paws-itively cool Smithfield, Oscar’s bar and cafe share the enthusiasm for our furry friends, though in their case they have found a different way to balance their customers preferences.

Leo Ward of Oscar’s, he relates how they’ve taken to the dog-friendly boom in their own way.

He says:

“It’s a cafe bar, but it would also work as a restaurant. We are perfectly accepting of dogs on the outside, the smoking area. On the inside we wouldn’t really take many in.

It’s more of a case if you go there on a Saturday during the day it’s brunch, it’s kind of a restaurant vibe. There’s a lot more food going, so it’s a health and safety thing.”

The common theme across various venues is that this is seen as a fun, friendly but overall lucrative walk in the park for Dublin pubs. He outlines the amount of leash this idea has been given.

Says Leo:

“The outside area we have dog bowls, doggie treats, we’re quite supportive, we even have dog beers and all. We do a ‘doggy brunch’ the odd time, that’s all outside. It’s almost like a play area. You get a doggy meal, we do a meal deal where you get your breakfast, you get a doggy beer, you get tea or coffee with it, so it was nice.”

They’ve paid heed to potential fallout and their pro-dog policy is brought to heel at the door.

Leo adds:

“There would have to be a line drawn, because of the amount of food service. Dogs shed, there’s germs, things like that, but on the outside it’s perfect, there’s Smithfield square, it’s a nice bright open place, it attracts a real nice crowd.”

There seems to be a level of positivity and collegiality present across the workplaces we spoke to with regards to their new leash on life.

‘”I’ve been there now over a year and we’ve never had an issue with dogs outside. We have actually a stray dog, I think he lives in Smithfield square.

We call him Ziggy, he comes and sits outside all the time and we give him a water bowl and feed him sausages. It’s almost our pet dog, he comes and visits us every day. We’ve given him a name and all, so he’s ours now. We’re all dog people in there, there’s no one against it.”

With public sentiment and the ‘furry pound’ both on their side, it looks like this trend has been adopted graciously and is here to stay.

John Donlon is a Galway-based freelance journalist.

Previously: Dog Friendly Pubs In Dublin (Publin)

Doyle’s Corner pic: Dublinbypub

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20 thoughts on “A Dog Walks Into A Bar

  1. Spaghetti Hoop

    That’s a very long post to simply promote some dog-friendly pubs. I’ve had an awful experience of a ‘pub-dog’ attacking me on entry to an Oxford pub, Irish-owned as it happened. The beast even had the same name as meself as I found out as ‘we’ were both roared at.

    I was in the old Front Lounge last week on Parliament St., which has re-branded into a sort of barking mad, post-hipster, messy-chic, sit-on-a-pallet kinda place and there were dogs everywhere. Couldn’t hack it at all, especially with food and drink being served, but where they’ve lost one customer they’ve probably gained two – all six legs of them.

    1. Brian The Lion

      I’d say you’re a delight to be around in a pub Spaghetti Hoop. “AND Another thing I don’t like is …”

      Also, that’s not Doyle’s Corner.

      1. Spaghetti Hoop

        Ah now. I’m just really fussy about not sharing a pub or restaurant with animals – domestic, wild, farmhouse. (Got bitten by a ferret in the Halfway House once.)

        1. Boj

          +1 rabies shot.
          Keep em outside and away from me please.
          I was once attacked by a big bad dog on Talbot St. and while I was fending it off, I kicked it a few times. I’m tellin you…I thought I was going to get arrested. Empty headed passers by wanted to report me for animal cruelty. Thankfully I had a mature Garda with a head on his shoulders. He basically told me to get the hell outta there. So went to hospital with stitches to my forearm and shoulder and a lovely big needle! T’was a good Easter Sunday!

          1. Boj

            Big and bad and fared better than I but no doubt its dead now.
            I like to play the long game to get the last laugh :-)

  2. Andrew

    Pubs to avoid so.
    I wonder with the undoubted rise in dog ownership has the issuing of dog licences increased commensurately? One dog isn’t enough for people these days

  3. George

    I was in a pub late at night and there were two dogs there. The pub was very very warm, crowded and quite loud. One of the dog owners brought one of the dogs to our table and sat down uninvited and without any prior interaction though they had their own table. We looked at him blankly, he seemed to be expecting us to be delighted. It was definitely not in the dog’s best interest at all to be there and clearly done for attention.

  4. Charlie

    Adoring dog lovers are only marginally worse than cyclists. Lock ‘em up outside the door. We don’t want your smelly babies in our bar.

    1. shortforbob

      Dog owners seem to be frequently unaware of how bad they smell. Then again there are plenty of non dog owners who smell terrible too, but the dog doesn’t help.

  5. some old queen

    Pantibar has been dog friendly for as long as I remember- so much so the queens nick named it ‘the pound’- herself was not amused.

    Its nice to see as ‘no pets’ is a standard clause in tenancy agreements these days so some who would like to have a dog can’t. It is not everyone’s cup of green tea but certainly doesn’t harm trade either. Depends on the dog of course because Fifi the rottweiler may not be as welcome as Hannibal the Yorkshire terrier.

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