These Howard restaurants cater to your furry friends (and one even offers menu items for your pets)

It’s a warm weekday afternoon as Raquel McKenna, 27, sits on the patio of a Columbia pizza joint, enjoying lunch with her family — three teenage cousins and Dylan, her dog. As they eat, Dylan, a 5-year-old mutt, sits patiently at McKenna’s side, wagging his tail, licking her hand and wishing, with baleful eyes, for a treat.

“I love him to death,” says McKenna of Rockville. “When I go somewhere without him, I count the hours until I come back. I take ‘Dilly’ everywhere I can; it’s nice to eat out with a dog and not get shooed away.”


A generation ago, dogs like Dylan would have been turned away from restaurants. But the times, they are a changin’. At places like Pub Dog, the aptly named venue where McKenna eats, canines are welcome outside, where pet treats and water bowls are provided and tables are bolted to the ground to anchor their leashes.

Pub Dog’s menu is a tribute to pooches with pizzas named “Pupperoni,” “Baja Chihuahua” and “Old Yeller.” Stenciled paw prints grace the windows of the restaurant, and doggie signs hang inside.

Pet-friendly since 2007, Pub Dog has seen an increase in canines of late — as many as 10 dogs during happy hour on Friday (3 p.m. to 7 p.m.), says Caitlin Fisher.

“We understand the need to enjoy dinner with your best friend; it makes the experience more meaningful,” says Fisher, Pub Dog’s marketing manager. “We’ve watched some regulars grow from puppies, like a miniature dachshund, a Great Dane and a bull terrier named Rex.”

Owners scoop up any accidents. Since dogs are likely to polish off leftovers, there are usually few table scraps for employees to clean up afterward.

McKenna and Dylan, a rescue who lost all of his front teeth early on, have been at Pub Dog “at least 10 times,” including last year for McKenna’s birthday.

“Pizza, good beer and dogs,” she says. “It doesn’t get any better than that.”

At Rams Head Tavern, in Savage, patrons share the front patio with their pooches and order off a popular doggie menu featuring Mutt Meatballs (ground turkey, oats and Parmesan cheese), Rover Rice (with USDA beef tips) and Bowser Beer (malt barley and chicken stock).

The six-year-old menu is “all human-edible, and the dogs just slurp it down,” says Royal Bundy, vice president of marketing for the Rams Head Group. “Our chefs enjoy making the food; sometimes they’ll come out to see who ordered it. Rumor has it a dog owner once got the meatballs for himself.”

Often, the wait staff will slip outside just to scratch a head or a tummy.

“Who doesn’t love to say hi to a dog?” says Bundy, who has two of her own.

Special occasions can bring pups to Rams Head.

“‘I’m here for my dog’s birthday’ is the most popular reason,” Bundy says. Sometimes it’s the other way around. Several years ago, a 5-year-old boy arrived with his parents and their mixed breed named Dexter.

“The child’s birthday wish was to eat cake with Dexter, so they sat on the patio and had dessert. It was the cutest thing,” Bundy says. Dexter, 9, washed his cake down with a $6 Bowser Beer.


Visit The Wine Bin in Ellicott City some Friday evenings and this is what you’ll see: a parking lot filled with dogs of all shapes and sizes and their owners who are sipping free drinks, mingling and dancing to the dulcet sounds of a live band.

Twice a month, the Wine Bin hosts a “Yappy Hour” that draws as many as 100 people and their pets — though, in truth, there’s little yapping going on.

See Lou Sinbazo? She’s clutching a glass of wine in one hand and her little dog, Pickle, in the other, swinging and swaying and doing the samba. Sort of.

“She loves to dance,” Sinbazo says of Pickle, a 2-year-old rescue from Hurricane Irma in Puerto Rico. Sinbazo and her husband, who live in Ellicott City, bring Pickle to acclimate her to others and “to learn other people’s dog parenting styles,” Tommy Sinbazo says.

To many attendees, their pets are their kids.

“Our daughter just graduated from college, and now we have Stanley,” Richard Stearns says of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi who, in sniffing out a bit of popcorn, has wrapped his leash around his owner’s feet.

Stearns and his wife, who live in Owings Mills, adopted Stanley from a breeder after a two-year wait.

“More and more, we live in a dog culture,” Jeanine Stearns says.

The Wine Bin’s owner sensed as much when he started Yappy Hour 10 years ago.

“People try the wine, listen to music and socialize with their dogs,” says proprietor Dave Carney of Catonsville. Each event is a fundraiser for a pet charity.

“It’s a win-win,” says Carney, who also allows pooches inside the store. There, a customer kneels in a wine aisle, discussing his choices with his leashed buddy; nearby, another dog lays contentedly, legs splayed on the cool floor.

Outside, the band, a local group called Mandy & Otis, breaks into a honky-tonk version of “Ain’t Misbehavin’.” Two Great Danes take the tune to heart. Mike and Bodie, 100 pounds each, sit quietly on either side of their owner, like giant bookends, as David Earle chats with passers-by.

“They’re just like kids. You have to socialize them and put in your hours, and this is a great place to do it,” says Earle, of Columbia. “Business owners now realize that people are mental about their dogs, and spend as much money on them as on kids — so why not let them into restaurants and bars?”