dog friendly cafes

Are There Dog-Friendly Cafes In Melbourne?

While most cafés are dog-friendly these days, we've rounded up the best of the bunch where you can be sure your pup will be comfortable while you enjoy your brekkie. Think spacious outdoor seating, treats for your dogs and bowls lovingly kept filled with fresh water. 

When you've been stuck at work all week, there's nothing better than spending some quality time with your doggo first thing on the weekend. At these cafes, you and your pup can stick together—bonus points for places with water bowls and doggie biscuits.

There’s only one thing we enjoy more than the token smashed avo and a latte on a Saturday morning. A delicious brekkie with a tail wagging at my feet. Luckily, with so many dog-friendly cafes in Melbourne, you won’t have to leave your mate on the curb.

Guide To Melbourne’s Best Dog-Friendly Cafes

Parco

Parco is another in a long line of Melbourne cafés that have hermit crab-style, taken up residence in teensy weensy, repurposed buildings. That’s not a bad thing. So much of Parco’s charm comes from how it stoically serves Carlton from a tiny old power substation marooned on a spit of land opposite Argyle Square.

Before friends and Parco owners Jarrod Balme and Adrian Pagano decided to make something of space, the substation had been abandoned for at least 20 years. Together with Fitzroy’s Therefore Studios, the duo transformed the building into a café serving hand-to-mouth meals perfect for the streams of commuters making their way into the city each morning.

It wouldn't be a Melbourne café without some form of avocado on some form of bread – at Parco, that means a generous smoosh of avo on a slab of rye, topped with earthy pink beetroot, slivered nuts, pepitas and a grilled lime for a little smoke. 

The breakfast banh mi is an all-time favourite for guests and staff, with the combo of maple bacon, fried egg, pickled carrot, coriander, cucumber and miso mayo on a milk bun proving a winner.

Meats are sourced from Meatsmith, bread and pastries from Dench, and the smooth caffeinated brews come courtesy of Coffee Supreme. Those popping by at lunch choose a short menu of sandwiches, soups or salads, plus pastries (many of which are housemade). 

Dining at Parco is unsurprisingly outside due to space constraints, making it a popular option for dog owners and dog spotters. Shade umbrellas help keep the summer sun at bay, while in winter, blankets are doled out for anyone not wearing enough layers.

Rudimentary

Melbourne has a way with shipping containers. We’re used to drinking in them (see Section 8 and Arbory), and now we can eat in them. Rudimentary – a cream-and-caramel-coloured shipping container conversion – has sprouted up like a metallic mushroom on the site of a former car park in Footscray. Yes, it’s in once rough-as-guts Footscray: an area known for its plethora of cheap Vietnamese street eats, not its banging brunch spots.

We wish we were one of the lucky locals, contentedly nesting here with their Macbooks and Small Batch Roast lattes. Those locals get seven-day access to chef Shane Donelly (owner of nearby Yellow Ledbetter café; ex-Duchess of Spotswood). 

Any man who serves up a breakfast dish of braised pork belly is all right by us, especially when pork scratching-style pig’s ear crisps, two perfectly fried eggs, red chilli shards and a slice of sourdough, licked with sweet-sour tamarind sauce, are added to the mix.

We’ve got beef with pork-loving Shane, though. How are we supposed to choose between a sourdough toastie with Gypsy ham, house-made waffles with crunchy pancetta, or that pork belly: butter-soft in one mouthful; pork-toffee-caramel chewy the next? Shane, you’re making pigs for us.

It’s not all pork a-go-go, though. A refreshing dish of ocean trout – house-cured with salt, sugar and a secret spice blend, served on a Nike swoosh of tangy beetroot sauce, with puffs of crème fraîche, purple discs of peppery radish, pickled cucumber rolls, sweet nashi slices and brioche – acts as an oceanic palate cleanser.

Thankfully, the inevitable over-ordering (we demolish three breakfast dishes between two and leave with house-made salted caramel doughnuts) won’t sting your wallet: $17 for the pork belly is the menu’s loftiest moment.

Owner Desmond Huynh’s background in architecture sings through in Rudimentary impeccable styling: mid-century leather desk chairs in beguiling shades of petrol blue, sand, taupe and olive; an old-school wall clock; orchids; battered office lockers doubling up as a table in one corner. Even the Stüssy-shirt-clad waiters are eye-bogglingly handsome.

We want to sit here daily and admire the waving lucky cat, the exposed filament bulb lights and the chefs nipping out to pluck herbs and veggies from the planter boxes. On sunny days, we want to idle in the AstroTurfed garden. Above all, we want more of that porcine menu. This is Footscray 2.0.

dog friendly cafes

Crate

Crate is tucked away in the back streets of Heidelberg Heights, and while they're best known for brewing specialty coffee and cooking up tasty food, you'll also find gorgeous outdoor seating with water bowls for your pup. 

Dog House

This Collingwood café has a 

dog-only menu, filled with such delights as dogachinos (made with lactose-free milk, of course), kangaroo mince, turkey muffins and smoked pig’s ears. Your pup is king here, with mini couches, dog accessories for sale and plenty of other pups for your furry friend to meet.  

Fourth Chapter

This bright and airy café in Prahran bakes up handmade dog treats so that your little friend can have a tasty snack while you enjoy breakfast. 

The Farm Café

The name may conjure up visions of babies sprouting from giant pea pods or of some unsavoury sweatshop affair, but we checked and found that the Children’s Farm is 100 per cent science fiction and cruelty-free.

It never ceases to amaze us that mere hopscotch throw away from Abbotsford Convent, you can suddenly be in the countryside facing off with a pig called Typhoon. 

The existence of the 7-hectare farmyard and gardens may be consistently surprising. Still, it isn`t that much of a secret, as proved by crowds of bike riding or baby toting brunchers, but if by chance you find an ignorant friend, it makes for a pretty impressive (and literal) rabbit out of the hat revelation.

The café doesn’t boast a huge menu, but what they have gets a million brownie points for using produce they can reach from the kitchen door and for actually being seasonal, rather than just hijacking this catchphrase du jour.

Go healthy(ish) with green pea and halloumi fritters offset by tomato herb salad and a solid kick of acidic yoghurt ($14.50), or hit up their goat`s toast with chevre, sweet and earthy beetroot relish, avocado and if you want, a pretty decent poached egg ($13.50). 

Meat is definitely on the menu in bacon, ham and house-made sausage roll form, but when your breakfast comes with a view of a doe-eyed cow, you might feel slightly less sadistic if you go vegan.

Staff are of the knitwear attired variety and have the sort of kind and relaxed demeanour you would expect from those who work in a fairytale farmyard all day. However, they are still on the ball and able to deliver a latte with just the kind of caffeine rush you want before being set loose in a paddock of goats.

Sitting in the sun with peacocks and chickens scratching at your feet and bushland in front of you is about as pure as an all-nighter at Revolver is dirty, so if you need some good or want to pay some moo cows like the kids, the farm is good for what ails you.

If you’re looking to give your puppy a well-appreciated day out (let’s be real: dogs appreciate everything) and score some home-style cooking while you’re at it, look no further than The Farm Cafe. 

Nestled away in the Collingwood Children’s Farm, you can kickstart the day with a ‘farmer’s breakfast’ of poached eggs and Berkshire bacon with pork sausage, potato cake, roasted tomato, mushrooms, spiced relish and toast before wandering through the grounds together. 

With a small menagerie of lambs, hamsters and goats on-site, your dog can have a chance to catch up with some other animals too.

A Minor Place

You can rest easy that your pup is likely to get the same amount of close attention as you at this down-to-earth Brunswick cafe ́, which is home to a sizable outdoor seating area and thick, fluffy pancakes that will keep you coming back for more. 

Pontoon

Pontoon is a glamour model masquerading as a breezy beach shack. The fit-out by George Livissianis, whose stamp is on the trendy Sydney joints Apollo and the Dolphin Hotel, hits a Scandi nautical-but-nice vibe with consummate ease. 

A thick rope is twined around pillars on the deck, eyeballing the beach just metres away. At the same time, inside, it’s all textured surfaces, from herringbone concrete tiles on the floor to a honeycomb of rattan suspended above a long central bar. 

Seating options? Take your pick from skinny clusters of tall tables – perfect for posing around in best Mad Men guise –along with picnic tables and low banquettes.

It’s a party place (ably transmitted by its Instagram tagline “40 speakers. DJs. Outdoor deck”), and the prism is also a good way to understand the menu, which is strictly Mediterranean with a focus on share plates. You'll find heaps of cured meats, pickles and seafood, as well as wood-fired offerings and hand-made pasta. 

With all the salt floating around the place – and we’re not just talking about Port Phillip Bay – you’ll be needing a drink. There are enough taps to satisfy the beer nerds, while the wine list makes a virtue of local heroes without neglecting the Old World (jugs of Pimms are a note-perfect addition to the cocktails list). 

You’ll need to remember your table number when you go up to order everything at the bar. It’s a time-consuming process on a quiet Wednesday lunchtime, so clearly, it’s something that will need to be ironed out before the crowds reach critical mass over summer. But that’s summer in St Kilda.

Code Black

Who doesn’t love the smell of roasting coffee over breakfast? Better yet, the aroma of a craft coffee roaster in full gear? This is the compelling setting for Code Black – the café arm of the Code Black Coffee roastery in Brunswick.

The warehouse conversion with its black brick and dark chipboard walls is surprisingly airy, with plentiful seating inside and out. A long polished concrete bench dominates the room, and raised seats behind it let you admire the barista in action. A cupping (coffee-tasting) room dominating the end of the hollow space serves to remind the goings-on next door.

Code Black Café offers generous brunch servings from 7 am and lunch from 10 am. Their menu showcases some interesting ingredients and offers plenty of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. Want to take home a piece of the action? Code Black Coffee is available for sale by the door.

Cromwell Streat

You can dine al fresco with your dog and feel good about doing it: the café does well by employing at-risk youth. For many of them, Streat is the first job they’ve ever had and could be their leg up out of homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction and mental illness. 

Kew Nursery and Café

Kew Nursery and Café

 is kid-friendly, dog friendly and even vegetarian friendly. It's a great one-stop-shop – take a run in nearby off-leash Victoria Park, then rehydrate your dog, get your gardening supplies and knock back a cappuccino all in one hit. 

West Beach Bathers Pavilion

Dogs love running along the sand, sniffing washed-up sea life and, of course, swimming in the waves. Head to the West Beach Bather Pavilion and do a responsible Instagram frolic on the beach before pulling up at one of the outdoor tables for a cocktail or a coffee.

The bayside views at West Beach Bathers Pavilion attract everyone from locals wanting their morning coffee to larger groups needing a stylish function space. The original building is almost 100 years old, dating back to the 1920s. 

The pavilion has plenty of nostalgic charm, and Art Deco touches. The building makes the most of its location with floor-to-ceiling windows and an outside area that melts into the sand. 

Naturally, you can find lots of seaside favourites on the menu. As the season's change, so does the menu, but you can always get a crisp serve of fish and chips, Spring Bay mussels and Tasmanian ocean trout. West Beach Pavilion is also dog and child friendly, and it's perfect for a post-swim pick-me-up. 

Argos Loves Company

 Step into Argos Loves Company, and one thing becomes immediately apparent – These guys like dogs. Books titled How To Keep A Dog, The Book of Dogs and Games Dogs Play (poker, right?) line the shelves while a large portrait of a white canine bounding through a field hangs proudly above the coffee machine. 

There is astroturf lined outside areas for you and your four-legged mate to hang out in, capped off with a commitment to RSPCA approved produce throughout.

149 Brunswick St, Fitzroy.

The Flying Duck Hotel 

While more of an afternoon and late-night option, The Flying Duck hosts once a week ‘Mad Dog Mondays’ where you can enjoy a pint or a cocktail while your companion bounces around their tented beer hall making friends. Seeing it in person it’s almost like speed-dating for dogs. And even if you don’t have a pet, pulled pork sliders seem to taste better when you’re petting a pug in between entrée and main.

67 Bendigo St, Prahran.

dog friendly cafes

Fitzrovia 

With pavement seating and a dog-friendly courtyard, Fitzrovia is welcoming punters big and small into its world of all-day dining and local comfort food. Overlooking Albert Park, you’ll be fighting off your dog when their thick-cut bacon with gruyere potato cake lands on the table.

2/155 Fitzroy St, St Kilda.

Abbotsford Convent Bakery 

The Abbotsford Convent is a fantastic place to kick back on a Sunday. Dogs are allowed to enjoy the grassy haven, too, as long as they’re kept on a lead. Take a seat outside the bakery choose from their handcrafted selection of baguettes, pies and cakes before taking in the Convent’s astounding Gothic architecture. They’re also churning out wood-fired pizzas, cooked in ovens first built in the early 1900s.

1 Saint Heliers St, Abbotsford.

Priscilla Jones

Priscilla Jones welcomes dogs with open arms. Their menu is all about wholesome and fresh takes on the tried and tested classics, adding an ingenious twist while they’re at it. Apricot pancakes served with vanilla mascarpone, fresh apple, and candied almonds makes for a very attractive choice, and they’ll even serve up doggy snacks so ol’ Rover can join in on your brunch action too.

21 Graham St, Albert Park.

Cafe Vue

Is your dog a particularly cultured pooch? Then perhaps he’d enjoy a trip down to Cafe Vue at the Heide Museum of Modern Art. If you call within 24 hours, notice the staff can prepare a picnic hamper to wander out into the Heide gardens with. It’s well worth walking into the sculpture park, featuring outdoor works from Anish Kapoor, Anthony Caro and Neil Taylor.

7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen.

Kanteen

Perched over a bend in the Yarra, the riverside Kanteen cafe is a hybrid between indoor and outdoor dining. They’ll serve up a water bowl for dogs, while you can go for a rye melt or musli with fresh yoghurt and fruit. Covered with large sticks, it kind of looks like a big nest. Well worth a look in when you’re after an open space with some well-cooked, unfussy food.

150 Alexandra Ave, South Yarra.

Pillar of Salt

With a leafy courtyard out the back, Richmond hot-spot Pillar of Salt is the place to go for top quality food and coffee while your four-legged friend gets comfortable underneath the table. Perpetually busy, the wait is worth it to try the kimchi, corn and sweet potato fritters alone.

FAQs About Melbourne Cafes

The best dog-friendly cafés in Melbourne. While most cafés are dog-friendly these days, we've rounded up the best of the bunch where you can be sure your pup will be comfortable while you enjoy your brekkie. Think spacious outdoor seating, treats for your dogs and bowls lovingly kept filled with fresh water.

There are 13 pubs and 4 breweries in Melbourne allowing dogs inside. There would be many more if all of the councils would be a little more understanding to our pups.

Basically, dogs in pubs and restaurants are fine as long as the outside area isn't enclosed, you can get to it without needing to go inside, the dog's on a lead, they stay out of food prep areas, and don't come near surfaces where food is served.

According to Victoria's Food Standards Code, businesses may allow dogs into outdoor areas that are not used for food preparation. They're not allowed in enclosed areas, defined as areas substantially or completely closed by ceilings, roofs, windows or walls.

Come and enjoy the fun of watching your dog run happy and free in Doggy Play Park, Melbourne's first private dog park. Located in Heatherton, Doggy Play Park consists of 3 fully fenced and secured parks, and we are pretty sure we have created your dog's new favourite place on earth!

Conclusion

Dog owners know that finding a cafe or restaurant that allows dogs inside can be a real challenge. Luckily for Melbourne dog owners, there are plenty of cafes that allow canine companions inside. In this blog post, we'll explore some of the best dog-friendly cafes in Melbourne

From quirky to traditional, we've got you covered! So don't leave your furry friend at home next time you go out - check out one of these great cafes instead.

Resources:

The best dog-friendly cafés in Melbourne

Melbourne’s top dog-friendly cafes

Beat’s Guide To Melbourne’s Best Dog-Friendly Cafes

Best Dog-Friendly Cafes in Melbourne

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