Is Cleveland a Dog-Friendly City?

Who better to ask than the people who live in a city whether or not it’s dog friendly? The verdict on Cleveland from its residents? The city is dog-friendly, but it could be more dog-friendly.

I got a lot of feedback in my recent survey about how the city could be more dog friendly and what services dog owners are most interested in. Regarding the dog-friendly atmosphere here, dog owners think there are some good things going on, but would like to see:

  • More dog-friendly restaurants and shopping locations
  • More dog events and chances for dog owners to socialize
  • More indoor options for exercising your dog
  • More dog parks

(Just as a reminder, here’s a list of dog-friendly patios and dog parks. A lot of new additions in recent months!)

Besides just amenities for dogs, several people mentioned dog welfare issues like removing BSL (breed specific legislation), providing free or affordable access to training resources for  pet owners and better access to affordable vet services, as ways to make CLE a more dog-friendly city.

Although around 60% of respondents said the city is dog-friendly, around 40% said it isn’t. The responses from those who said it’s not dog-friendly were:

  • Too many people who have dogs here do not train them and makes for little fun walking your own dog when they let their run amok either off lead or on a flexi.
  • Few options, especially training and exercise opportunities, especially on the east side there’s almost nothing
  • Not enough walkable areas with nearby green space and businesses that welcome dogs.
  • BSL in surrounding cities; constantly overflowing and run down pounds; lack of dog friendly shops / restaurants

Dog- Friendly Business Wish List

So what dog-friendly businesses are Cleveland residents most interested in? Indoor play options topped the list, followed by a dog-friendly café option of some sort. Other ideas suggested:

  • More dog bakeries and locally made supply stores
  • An indoor track to walk in the winters
  • Dog splash pad, owner / dog swimming, more dog parks with small dog only areas
  • Some gyms have child care while you work out. I’d like to see doggy day care so I could work out.
  • I would love to see more support/communication between businesses and large owner groups. A large breed specialty store would be great!

The Dog-Friendly List

Based on these results, Clevelanders probably won’t be surprised to see that we didn’t make the latest list of dog-friendly cities as rated by SmartAsset. The financial consulting company rated cities on their dog friendliness based on several factors: the city’s dog accessibility, as in the number of dog parks, dog-friendly shopping areas and dog-friendly restaurants, as well as the city’s quality of life, including walkability, weather and housing costs.

Cleveland will always lose out in the weather category, but we definitely have an opportunity to increase our dog friendly rating by improving on what we all said we need more of –  dog parks and dog-friendly restaurants!

Here is the list of the most dog-friendly cities in the U.S.:



Thanks to everyone who took the survey! We got close enough to my response goal that I did draw a name for the gift card prize. The winner is Rebecca Stolarsky! I’ll be in touch to arrange how to get your prize.


Dog-Friendly Neighborhood Guide: Lakewood/Edgewater

So here it is finally- the first dog-friendly* neighborhood guide! Since I live in Lakewood it only made sense to start here. Although I asked a lot of people and did a lot of research to make this as comprehensive of a dog-friendly guide as it can be, I have probably missed something. Please let me know if I’ve missed anything and I will update.

In my research I did uncover that Lakewood has a few more dog-friendly places than I realized! For the best patio selection in Lakewood, hit up Detroit Ave. There are quite a few spots in the central Lakewood area. If you make a visit to Lakewood though, you definitely have to check out Edgewater and/or Lakewood Park. Both parks have great lake views, making them beautiful scenic walks for you and your dog.

If you’re looking for a nice lakeside walk for you and your dog, and maybe a dog-friendly patio to visit after your walk, check out these Lakewood spots:


1. Edgewater Park
6500 Cleveland Memorial Shoreway

If you visit Edgewater a lot, you’re bound to see me there with my dogs. I love walking around with them and sitting and staring at the lake. Besides beautiful views for your walk, you can also visit the dog beach which is just west of the main beach. There are signs that direct you where to go.

2. Clifton Wine Bar
10427 Clifton Ave.

This is one of my favorite patios to take my dog to in Cleveland. Its spacious size makes it great for dogs of all sizes and the staff is always very accommodating of dogs. Not to mention they have a great wine list and delicious martinis and pizza.

3. Pet-Tique
10906 Clifton Ave.

This small pet store has a great selection of pet clothes and unique toys. The store also hosts “yappy hours” periodically through the summer. Check out their website for more details.

4. Barroco Grille
12906 Madison Ave.

This Latin American casual eatery on Madison has a small patio area that allows dogs.

5. Pet Supplies Plus
14839 Detroit Ave.

This pet store chain has a large selection of toys, treats and food for all animals. It also does on site grooming as well.

6. Lakewood Park
Belle Ave. & Lake

Lakewood is full of great parks with a lake view. We love to hit up Lakewood Park for a leisurely stroll around the park. This park has a beautiful view of the skyline and lake.

7. 16 Bit Bar + Arcade
15012 Detroit Ave.

Just found out this one is dog friendly! Dogs are welcome outside on the patio.

8. Humble Wine Bar
15400 Detroit Ave.

You don’t have to leave your dog behind when you want to enjoy some delicious food and wine. Humble Wine Bar allows dogs on their patio every day of the week.

9. Merry Arts
15607 Detroit Ave.

This Lakewood bar has great patio and casual atmosphere perfect for hanging out with your dog.

10. Lakewood Dog Park 
1299 Valley Parkway

Located in the Rocky River Reservation, a little down from the Marina (on the left side), the park has a small dog area and a large space for dogs to run and play.

11. Pet’s General Store
16821 Madison Ave.

A Lakewood tradition, Pet’s General Store has been in business for over 30 years. Located on Madison Ave., the Pet’s General Store serves animals of all kinds and is definitely worth a stop!

12. Furry Nation
16621 Madison Ave.

A locally-owned pet store, the Furry Nation recently moved from its location on Detroit Ave. and is now located at 16621 Madison Ave. This store has a great supply of toys and dog gear and very helpful staff members to help you find what you need.

Ohio City is next, so email me at with any tips on the best dog-friendly spots (especially any parks, I don’t know of any…)

*Please note: currently the city of Lakewood bans pit bulls. The ordinance says: “No person may keep, harbor or own pit bulls or canary dogs in Lakewood, Ohio, with exceptions for dogs in the city on the effective date.” It’s a totally pointless law and I agree with some readers that it does make the city lose some points on the dog friendly scale.

Dog Friendly Spotlight: Barrio Tremont

For the latest Dog Friendly Spotlight, Hunter reviews my favorite – Barrio in Tremont!

My mom is always talking about this place called “Barrio.” I was actually starting to worry that she might leave me to go live there, that’s how bad it was. Then one day, she got really excited because she found out that she could take me to Barrio. I guess there are some places I’m not allowed? I don’t really get it.

So anyways, Mom was pretty excited to take me to her “favorite place.” I have to admit, I was pretty impressed when we got there and I saw that we had our own private entrance! I like to make an entrance, you know, make sure that everyone sees me, so this was pretty cool. Right away I could tell everyone was really happy to see me. They even had a water dish all ready for me at the table when we sat down. VIP treatment all the way! Just the way I like it. No wonder Mom loves this place.

Barrio's dog "VIP" entrance next to Press Wine Bar.
Barrio’s dog “VIP” entrance next to Press Wine Bar.


I was just relaxing and enjoying the admiring glances from all my fans around me, when two dawgs sat right next to me. I had to say something, of course, to let them know I was here first. Everyone around me totally understood, but Mom didn’t like it too much, so I let it go.

I got some sniffs in with my dawgs and we relaxed and just hung out. I could smell some really good stuff, but all I got were a couple of treats from Mom. Oh well. Maybe next time.



Final Bark: 5 (out of 5) Dog Biscuits! There’s lots of room to spread out and I got VIP treatment. My kind of place.

The details:

Barrio Tremont
806 Literary Rd.


Mon–Thurs: 4pm–2am
Fri: 11am–2am
Sat + Sun: 11am–2am




Dog Friendly Spotlight: Nighttown

I often feel bad that I don’t cover the dog friendly scene on the east side as much as I do on the west side. It’s not on purpose, though, it just seems that there are so many more dog friendly places on the west side. (But please let me know if I am missing any patios.)

That’s why I was excited to read about Nighttown opening two new patios last summer – one of them specifically for dog lovers. The jazz club/restaurant/bar has two outdoor patios, one is semi-enclosed and the one directly in the back of the restaurant is for us dog loving patrons.

Nighttown is a Cleveland favorite, noted for its live music as well as its innovative menu. The restaurant serves brunch on Sundays as well as lunch and dinner every day. I went for Sunday brunch on my visit. It was a little confusing figuring out how to get seated at the patio, since there was no staff outside and I couldn’t bring my dog inside to find a hostess. My friend waited outside with the dogs while I found a hostess to get seated.


For some reason on our visit the dog friendly patio was empty. It seemed maybe we had just missed a brunch rush, or maybe due to the impending rain people didn’t want to risk sitting outside. Although I like that Nighttown has its own dog friendly patio, at least on my visit, sitting out there felt like being banished. Especially since the other patio was filled with people.


I am appreciative of any place that makes a special effort to include dogs, so I am assuming it just felt this way because no one else was out that morning. The service was definitely very dog friendly. The hostess came out and brought some water for the dogs and gave them the attention they were craving (which is very important for my dog).

The Verdict: Any place that promotes that it has a dog friendly patio is a good place to visit in my opinion. Although the atmosphere was slightly tainted by the fact the patio was deserted on my visit, it’s still a large, spacious patio perfect for enjoying a meal alongside your dog.

12387 Cedar Rd, Cleveland

Mon-Sat from 11:30am-3pm
Brunch on Sunday 10am-3pm
Dinner Sun-Thur 3pm-12:00am
Dinner Fri-Sat 3pm-1am

Dog Friendly Spotlight: Townhall

Ohio City is hands down the most dog friendly neighborhood in Cleveland. There’s more dog friendly bars and patios there than any other area in Cleveland. Hunter and I recently tried out a new spot, Townhall, to see how it compared to other local dog friendly spots in the area.

Townhall is a newer addition to the Ohio City scene, featuring a restaurant/bar on one side and a fast-casual café and juice bar on the other side. In addition to an impressive beer selection, they also serve a number of vegan and healthy food options.

The large patio is out back and has its own entrance so you can enter with your pet from the outside. The patio tends to get very crowded on weekends, so if you do plan to come with your dog you will want to come early (dogs aren’t allowed on late night weekends anyways). In addition to some tall tables with umbrellas, there’s some cabana-style tables on one side of the patio. It’s a good looking patio, so Hunter and I were excited to check it out.

dog friendly patio
The patio

My only complaint about the patio is that there wasn’t really an easy place to hook up the dogs. The tall tables and chairs aren’t ideal for a dog friendly patio. They do provide water bowls for all their dog visitors, so that is a nice dog-friendly touch I always appreciate!

dog friendly patio

For some reason Hunter wasn’t on his best behavior on this patio outing. There weren’t any other dogs there, but there was something going on in the next parking lot over that he felt the need to bark at periodically. When you have a fairly reactive dog like Hunter, it’s bound to happen sometimes. If you feel at all that your dog is bothering those around you, it’s best to take action. My advice is to remove the dog from the patio and take him on a quick walk until he gets it out of his system.

dog friendly patio
What Mom? I’m a perfect gentleman.

The Verdict: It’s definitely a fun patio and I felt like everyone was comfortable with dogs being there, but I don’t think it’s a patio I’d take Hunter to very often. The combination of the tall tables and the tendency of the patio to get really crowded ranks this spot a little lower on my dog friendly patio list.  The food and drinks are good though, so if you haven’t been and want to take your dog out, it’s not a bad option.

1909 W. 25th St., Ohio City

Dogs are allowed on the patio every day of the week (not late nights)

Mon – Fri: 11:00 am – 2:30 am
Sat – Sun: 10:00 am – 2:30 am



Dog Friendly Spotlight: Clifton Martini & Wine Bar

You may not know this about my dog Hunter, but he’s a big fan of wine bars. The ambiance, the wine, and, most especially, the patios. One of his favorite neighborhood wine bars is Clifton Martini & Wine Bar. Located on Clifton Ave. just outside of downtown, the wine bar has a large outdoor dog-friendly patio.
I’ve seen a dog almost every time I’ve been to Clifton so Hunter is not alone among dogs in his love for this place. On his last visit, he brought along his buddy Sampson and they both enjoyed some patio and people-watching time. Sampson, who is a bit of a loner, especially liked the spacious patio so he could have space to himself.
One of Hunter’s favorite things is that the servers bring him his very own bowl of water. Hunter likes a little VIP treatment when he’s out on the town (I didn’t tell him that all dogs get a bowl of water).
Lucky for Hunter, I also love this place for its delicious food and happy hour specials. From 4-6 p.m., Monday through Friday the specials are $3 off martinis, $2 off wine by the glass and $1 off drafts. And on Sunday, buy a bottle of wine, get a pizza free.
If you’re looking for a good place to spend these last nice days of fall, Clifton Martini & Wine Bar is a great choice.

The details:
Clifton Martini & Wine Bar
10427 Clifton Blvd
Cleveland, Ohio 44102
(216) 965-0221
Dogs are welcome on the patio any day of the week

Dog Friendly Spotlight: Lucky’s

Most dog-friendly brunch places are just a Sunday thing but at Lucky’s in Tremont you can take your dog to brunch any day of the week. My dog and I went there recently to enjoy their delicious food and dog-friendly patio. I think Lucky’s has one of the best brunches in Cleveland so if you haven’t checked it out you really should.

Based on how small Lucky’s is and how crowded it gets on weekends it’s not really a place I’d recommend taking your dog to on the weekend. But, of course, it all depends on your dog. I took my dog on a weekday since he tends to get a little excited about people and dogs so I know it’s not always best to take him somewhere busy. Plus, the patio consists of six long picnic tables so there’s a chance on busy days you may be sharing the table with others, which could be problematic for some dogs. Since my dog and I went when it wasn’t busy, we had a table to our own and he was able to just sit and relax. No other dogs were there, but the staff and other patrons seemed welcoming of my dog.

One good thing about their patio is that it’s covered, so you can even go on one of those overcast days when it could rain at any minute. The tables in the middle and closer to the garden don’t really have anything to easily attach your dog’s leash to, so you’ll want to sit at one the tables on the outside near the street, as those have chains on them that you can attach your dog’s leash to.

And, if you go for brunch – I recommend the waffles. They are delicious!

The details:

777 Starkweather Ave
(216) 622-7773

Mon – Fri: 7:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sat – Sun: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Dogs are allowed on the patio

Dog Friendly Spotlight: Luxe

I think most Clevelanders would agree that Luxe has one of the best patios on the west side. If you are a dog owner in Cleveland you definitely don’t want to pass up a chance to sit on their patio with your pup.  My dog and I visited this weekend to enjoy some good food and outside time together.
Photo courtesy of Luxe’s Facebook page (Somehow I forgot to get a shot of the patio)
Although dogs are welcome every day of the week, it’s on Sunday that dogs really have the spotlight. The restaurant hosts a Bow Wow Brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is promoted a lot on their Facebook page, so there was a good amount of dogs there on our visit. The dogs were all well behaved; there was only a couple rounds of barking choruses (which, of course, my dog was an enthusiastic participant in every time). Each week Luxe chooses a Bow Wow Brunch Dog of the Week, who is featured on its Facebook page and receives a gift certificate for a free bath at the Mutt Hutt. Can you believe neither one of these cuties were selected? (Although Sampson, on the right, is a former winner, so you don’t have to feel bad for him).
On their best behavior, of course
Since the patio is great and the food is delicious, I’d definitely recommend adding Luxe to your list of dog friendly spots to hit up. I will say I was a little disappointed that the servers didn’t bring any water or offer any treats or anything special for the dogs, since it is advertised as a doggie brunch. I’ve heard there are some dog menu options, but nothing was mentioned and the server and most of the staff seemed a little indifferent toward the dogs. I have heard of more dog friendly experiences from others who’ve been before, so maybe it was just an off day. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt since I was able to sit on a gorgeous patio and eat a delicious brunch with my dog, so it wasn’t really all bad.

Dog day at the beach

I recently took my dog to check out two local doggie beaches. The two dog friendly beaches that I know of, Columbia Rd. Beach in Bay Village and Bow Wow Doggie Beach in Stow, offer very different experiences for dogs, but my dog had a blast at both.

Columbia Rd. Beach
I didn’t know about this beach until a Dogs in the CLE reader informed me of its existence (I LOVE reader tips, hint hint). It seemed to be one of those hidden spots that no one really talks about much. Located where Columbia Rd. dead ends into Lake Rd., this dog-friendly area is a great place to take your dog on a casual stroll on the beach or play a little catch. I took my dog on a Monday in the early afternoon and it wasn’t too crowded. Considering that it’s not a very large stretch of the beach, I imagine it could get crowded during peak times though.

The sign out front requests that dogs stay on leash, but most of the dogs that I saw there were off leash. It is kinda hard to play catch with a dog on a leash, so it’s understandable most weren’t. However, as always, use caution if you want to take your dog off leash. Especially if it’s his or her first time at a beach since many dogs tend to run when scared. The beach is not fenced in and if you have a runner she could pretty easily take off. All in all, I would say Columbia Rd. is a great place to introduce your dog to the beach, since you can leisurely take a stroll and let him test out the waters in a fairly contained area.

Bow Wow Beach

Once you’ve introduced your dog to the beach at Columbia Rd., the next step is to take him to Bow Wow Beach. This is the ultimate in doggie beaches. Located in Silver Springs Park off of Stow Rd., the 7.5 acre beach offers several different fenced in areas for small or large dogs, a dog agility course, a dock jumping area and doggie wash area. I have to admit I was a little overwhelmed when I took my dog. The park is huge and there are dogs running free everywhere. I was glad to see that there was a fenced in small dog area that was actually fairly big and contained actual small dogs. This area is fenced in away from the lake, but it’s a good spot to go if your small dog needs a break or doesn’t love the water. I also learned later that main area surrounding the lake is the large dog area, and that there is a small dog area with lake access as well right by the other small dog area.

Besides the lake, there is a dog agility course (that no one used when I was there) and lots of open space for your dog to roam around. The beach is all fenced in, but there is A LOT of space, so you might want to make sure you’ve practiced your “come” command before letting your dog off leash here.

Swimming tips

I’ve been told that all dogs instinctively know how to “doggie paddle” but I took it slow and let my dog test out the waters. He wasn’t too into it at first, but was definitely curious. He was much more into it the next time, splashing around and chasing dogs in the water. I kept him on leash for our visits, but next time I will try off leash with these tips* from the AKC about how to make sure your dog can swim. Or, maybe I’ll get him a stylish life vest. Just don’t judge me if you see us out at the beach.

  • Never throw your dog into the water.
  • Start in shallow water, and call your dog’s name. You can also try to coax him in with a treat or toy – but always keep your dog within reach.
  • Another way to introduce your dog to the water is with a dog that already swims and is friendly with your dog. Let your dog follow his friend.
  • If your dog begins to doggy-paddle with his front legs only, lift his hind legs and help him float. He should quickly catch on and will then keep his back end up.
  • Swimming is a great form of exercise, but don’t let your dog overdo it. He will be using new muscles and may tire quickly.
  • Be careful of strong tides that are hazardous for even the best swimmers.
  • Never leave your dog unattended! You should always be in a position to help him get out of the water


Are there any other beach areas you take your dog? I’ve also heard of dogs at Edgewater, and seen a few at Rocky River Park, but I don’t think those are officially dog friendly. Email me at if you know of any others!