Sniffing out dog-friendly patios in Calgary

Dogs may have been banished from a formerly pooch-friendly Inglewood microbrewery, but some Calgary businesses still welcome furry friends. Not everyone welcomes the idea.

Few places allow you to have a drink with your dog at your feet in Calgary and some say that's a good thing

The news that dogs are no longer welcome at an Inglewood microbrewery raised questions about which businesses will accept pets, and debate over the practice. (Danielle Bauer/

Dogs may have been banished from a formerly pooch-friendly Inglewood microbrewery, but many Calgary businesses still welcome furry friends.

Cold Garden Beverage Company had become a popular, pet-friendly hangout since opening three months ago, but Alberta Health Services recently put the practice to an end.

While it's not easy to find a place to enjoy a drink with your dog at your side, there are some options in Calgary. 

Alberta Health Services has issued licences allowing dogs on the patios at Ranchman's and Vin Room.

The Vin Room, which has its patios open to dogs at two locations from Sunday to Wednesday, is offering a "Puppies and Prosecco" event later this month that combines dog training with a glass of wine or prosecco.

For dog owners who want a bite to eat or some coffee, another option is ordering take-out and finding seating on a sidewalk or hitting up a food truck. The benches outside Caffe Beano is a popular spot for dog lovers.

"Benches and tables on sidewalks that are outside of the food permitted facility's approved premise are public space, and thus, not regulated," according to a statement from Alberta Health Services.

Vets to Go has an extensive online list of businesses in Calgary and Banff that welcome leashed and well behaved dogs, such as garden centres and Bass Pro Shops.

Cold Garden's pet-friendly policy made it one of the most popular microbreweries for dogs like Mowgli, pictured above. (@pauliepervert/Instagram)

Be sure to double check before heading out with a dog, however. The list was last updated in April, but there's no telling when a policy can change or a business close. 

Debate over allowing dogs

The Calgary Eyeopener received a lot of reaction to news that dogs were no longer allowed inside Cold Garden.

Calgarian Lindsay Roberts said pet owners should remember they chose to own a dog.

"As someone who is actually really allergic to dogs, (I'd like to) say that by adding these environments where dogs are available, it actually excludes a lot of humans from partaking in those areas," she said.

"I'm respectful of the fact that people love their pets. Pets are wonderful, but they don't belong in restaurants and all public places."

On the other side of the debate, Jay Nelson wrote that Alberta Health Service's decision was unfortunate.

"I think it's a shame when people create a fun, creative and comfortable space only to have it taken away due to regulations. Hopefully common sense will prevail. Tap rooms similar to Cold Garden were key elements to the growth of the craft beer market in the U.S. and other parts of Canada."

The view from England

In England, many pubs are dog-friendly and sometimes even have a resident pooch.

Dogs have been allowed in the Narrowboat Pub in London since it opened in 1863 (although the name has changed plenty of times).

"We've always allowed dogs. We are family friendly and we see dogs as part of the family," said manager Matthew Kelly in a telephone interview with the Eyeopener. 

"I thought Canadians would be the same as the English, seeing pets as part of the family, seeing them as an extension of their children. They are a big part of their lives for a big part of the time, surely you'd want to take them where you want to go."

The rules at his pub require a dog to be on a leash and be well behaved. While he's asked the owners of poorly behaved dogs to leave, he's never seen a dog have "an accident" inside.

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener