Dog-friendly dining can be found all over Tampa Bay – some restaurants even go so far as to offer pooch-friendly food menus. In Ybor City, a thriving neighborhood that is chock full of restaurants and bars, dog friendly seating can be found almost anywhere.
My favorite dog-friendly destination in Ybor City is, without a doubt, New World Brewery. Tucked back off a block off of busy 7th Ave under an illuminated Ybor Square sign, the courtyard at NWB is as welcome and inviting as a friend’s cozy backyard. There are stone tables scattered throughout, mixed with picnic tables, a large covered area where bands play some evenings, and a little bar-style seating with stools. The air is infused with a smoky scent from the pork or chicken that is slowly cooking in the courtyard’s corner.
You can even purchase a pork shoulder, with a little meat along the edges, for the low, low price of a nickel! I let my dog chew on it for a few minutes upon my last visit and she was in hog heaven. As soon as it started to crack (strong jaws), I took it away to be safe, but it was well worth the enjoyment she got out of it. The bartender also brought out a water bowl for her, unprompted – which I appreciate. On the human side, you can’t go wrong with a wide array of draft and bottle beer coupled with thin, crispy pizza. I opt for tomato sauce, typically, but NWB offers a few black bean-base pizzas that even I, a sort of picky eater, enjoy.
Over on the main strip, 7th Ave, there are a few dog-friendly places to grab a drink or enjoy a full meal – but before you get there, a quick stop at James Joyce Irish Pub might be in order! They’re not exactly equipped for dogs, but you can get water for your pooch from your server, and the little patio out front makes for some great people watching. Plus, the low walls that flank the patio are a perfect spot to sit with your dog, as long as it’s not too sunny. If it is, there are also a few outdoors bar tables with umbrellas where you can post up with a cold one. I usually go with something on tap – perhaps a draft from Cigar City or a stout Guinness in the fall.
Tampa Bay Brewing Company in Centro Ybor is usually occupied by at least a few groups with dogs on busy days. If your pup is social and behaves well with other dogs, this is a great place bring your dog, sit outdoors, and enjoy local beer and fare, like the famous TBBC Beer Cheese soup. On a day when you leave Fido at home, be sure to give the brewery a tour.
Gaspar’s Grotto is probably my second favorite place to bring my dog in Ybor City. They host a monthly “pets on the patio” event on the first Saturday of every month. Someone even uploaded a video of one of the events to YouTube (not me, but it gives you a nice idea of the relaxed vibe)! The servers at Gaspar’s will bring out dog water if you ask for it. But the reason I keep going back is that the atmosphere there welcomes dogs all the time, not just at special events – there is even a large mural of many different, adorable dog breeds on the courtyard’s back wall. While there, try the Cuban sandwich; wood-fired pizzas, or traditional Spanish bean soup. It’s all so good.
These restaurants and bars score high on my list of dog friendly destinations in Ybor City in part because they offer a little bit of shade for us, and especially for the dog. Other great places that I have been to with my dog in Ybor City include Bernini, The Bunker, The Bricks of Ybor, and Stone Soup Company. I like each of these restaurants but prefer to visit them without my pet because they offer limited shade or seating
On the whole, Ybor City is a super dog-friendly destination for lunch, brunch, dinner or drinks. I recommend visiting one of the places mentioned above and letting me know how your doggie-dining experience went. And if there is a dog-friendly destination in Ybor City that I am missing, feel free to share it in the comments!
– Justine Benstead
Justine is a writer who lives in South Tampa, drinks a lot of coffee, and spends too much time seeking out dog friendly destinations. Follow her on Twitter at @JustineinTampa. She’s a blast!