Boston Is Officially Welcoming Dogs to Restaurant Patios and Beer Gardens

The city is accepting applications now for its new “Dog Friendly Spaces” variance.

A dog sits on a chair at an outdoor dining table with smiling people

This could be you and your dog on a Boston restaurant patio soon (except that the dog won’t be allowed on the chair). / Photo by ViewApart/Getty Images

Good news for good boys: Boston’s finally planning to (officially) allow dogs on some restaurant patios and in beer gardens. Maybe you’ve already been taking your canine companion out to eat and drink with you for years; if you know where to go, there are spots in the city that quietly skirt the current no-dogs-allowed-on-restaurant-patios rule. But especially in the last few years, Boston’s been cracking down. (Meanwhile, in Everett, there’s a whole bar made for dogs and their owners.)

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Now, in a 180 sure to excite dog lovers within Boston city limits, the policy is changing. Per a May 4 announcement from Mayor Michelle Wu, the city has begun accepting applications from restaurants and beer gardens that wish to create Fido-friendly spaces, which will go into effect as early as June 1 if approved. It’s part of a continued effort to make the city more family-friendly and dog-friendly, according to the announcement.

The process will be run by the city’s Inspectional Services Department’s Health Division, and all Boston beer gardens and restaurants with outdoor dining space are eligible to apply. The fine print: The dogs-allowed spaces must be completely outdoors in a designated area where no food preparation is conducted and no tableware is stored. Dogs must remain leashed or in a carrier, and a person who brings a dog is responsible for its behavior, including not allowing it to eat off of plates or sit on tables and chairs. And possibly the hardest rule to follow? Employees will not be able to pet dogs while on the clock. Good luck to all.

Do you run a Boston restaurant or beer garden and plan on applying to be dog-friendly? Give us a shout via email with your details; we’ll be compiling a running list. (Photos of dogs on patios enthusiastically accepted.)