People love dogs. And, as my friend put it, drunk people really love dogs. Venture out to one of the five establishments listed below and relinquish your guilt about leaving your pet home alone. Here are the five best dog-friendly bars and restaurants in the East Bay:
464 3rd St., Oakland, 510-452-2337
Hours: Mon.-Thu. noon-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. noon-11 p.m. , Sun. noon-9 p.m.
How much more can be written about Beer Revolution that hasn't already been said? For the uninitiated, Beer Rev is a beer lover's mecca — and a great place to bring your pup on a sunny afternoon when nothing but an enormous selection of craft beers will do. The picnic tables out front are dog-friendly, there are 48 beers on tap at any given time, and many more bottles to choose from to take out or drink in-house (for an additional $1 courtesy charge). The selection — seasonal beers; special releases; beer brewed especially for Beer Rev; lambics; gluten-free beer; local, domestic, international brews — is constantly changing, and won't fail to impress. The knowledgeable staff, reasonable prices, and unassuming vibes make this one of the best places to get your drink on with your dog and a few friends. There's even a Dogs of Beer Revolution Facebook page.
Heart and Dagger Saloon
504 Lake Park Ave., Oakland, 510-444-7300
Summer hours: Mon.-Fri. 3 p.m.-2 a.m., Sat.-Sun. noon-2 a.m.
Heart and Dagger Saloon has an enormous dog-friendly courtyard with more than a dozen picnic tables. The unpretentious neighborhood joint serves up affordable drinks from its full bar, including $4 mimosas and $6 Bloody Marys all week long. During happy hour from 4-7, drafts are $4 and well drinks are $3.50. Entertain yourself with Heart and Dagger's jukebox or a game of pinball, pool, ping-pong, or a classic arcade game. Outside food is allowed in (Kwik Way is next door), and there's free WiFi. From June till August, Heart and Dagger hosts "Craft Beer Sundays," with an additional fifth beer on tap featuring seasonal and small-batch beers. Dogs are encouraged outside, so long as they are well behaved and on a leash. And sometimes there are even treats. The bar's motto is "Good spirits for bad people" — add "and their animals."
6702 Hollis St., Emeryville
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 4 p.m.-2 a.m., Sat.-Sun. 2 p.m.-2a.m.
If it's a craft cocktail that you're thirsting for, there isn't a friendlier bar for pets than Prizefighter, which actually welcomes leashed dogs into its open-air interior as well as its attractive lounge-y patio. Prizefighter features a slew of cocktails — some house originals, others three-ingredient classics — all priced at $10. There's also the option of ordering a $50 punchbowl with friends, which serves six to eight. There are a few interesting beers on tap, including a cider. And to boot, Fivetenburger is parked outside on Tuesday nights and some Fridays. There's lots of room to stand inside as well as comfortable seating, making the space large enough to accompany dogs and large groups comfortably.
2265 Fifth St., Berkeley, 510-549-9885
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8a.m.-3:30 p.m., Sun.-Sat. 8a.m.-3 p.m.
Tomate Cafe is a fantastic under-the-radar breakfast and lunch spot with a large patio with shaded picnic tables out front, perfect for hanging out with your pet outside when you can't bear to leave for brunch without him or her. The cafe offers a variety of breakfast and lunch options — like pancakes, omelets, egg plates, bagels, and smoothies — with refreshing twists, including vegetarian and vegan options. Most plates, like the Harvest Breakfast (two eggs with house-made zucchini cheesecake, fried apples, and your choice of bacon or sausage), are $10 or less. There's rarely too long of a wait, and no wait service — you order directly from the counter, which makes the dining experience relaxed and unhurried. On Sundays, there's often a jazz trio playing on the patio.
2318 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, 510-444-8353
Hours: Tue.-Thu. & Sun 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-1.a.m.
Telegraph may be the best beer garden you haven't been to yet. All of its seating is outside — some shaded, some sunny. Choose from twelve drafts (local beers included) or three wines by the glass to sip on with your dog underneath an enormous, colorful graffiti mural on the north-facing wall. If you're hungry as well as thirsty, Telegraph serves up delicious house-made sausages and burgers, including the 50/50 — a burger made from 50 percent ground beef and 50 percent bacon. There are also vegetarian options, like the green-bean sandwich, and a vegan sausage is in the works. It even offers a few options for breakfast. The establishment is low-key and community-minded, featuring poetry nights and a free weekly film screening. You'll feel as comfortable reading a book with your pooch in the sun as downing pints with a group of friends.