The Bottom Line: Can I bring my dog into restaurants and cafes in New York City?

In New York City, restaurant workers and dog friendly customers alike are often confused on whether our pups are allowed to join us at the table.

Dining al fresco with your pup.

As of early 2016, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (what a name, right?) authorized “operators of food service establishments to allow companion or pet dogs to accompany owner-patrons in certain outdoor dining areas of their establishments”. There are certain rules the restaurants have to adhere to, but as a customer you just need to find a dog-friendly restaurant with outdoor seating and you and your pup are good go!

When it comes to restaurants and food establishments in New York City, support dogs follow the same rules as companion dogs. Service dogs are allowed in every restaurant and food establishment, no matter what.

How about bringing your dog inside cafes, bakeries and restaurants?

So legally you can’t bring your dog into the restaurant unless they are a service animal. The law won’t support you wanted to share your morning coffee and croissant with your fur baby, but in practice you may be able to bring your dog inside. From experience, often chain restaurants and cafes are extremely lenient about bringing your dog inside their establishments — particularly if you are not sitting down to eat.

Verdict: If the weather’s great, call ahead and ask the restaurant if you eat outside with your pup. Want to toe the legal line? Give it a shot. The worst thing that will happen is that you will be asked to leave.

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