Dog-friendly cafes are no longer the stuff of your dog’s bacon-scented fantasies. Edinburgh’s cafe and coffee-shop scene is increasingly accessible to dogs; in fact, some establishments positively encourage four-legged visitors, such as the gems listed below. Which is a bonus for us, when we’re starving, need a snack, and hate to leave our best pal tied up outside. Though the secret win-win of dogs in cafes is that no one will ever know who that extra side of sausage was really ordered for. *Guilty face*.
Address & map: 1E Ashley Terrace, Edinburgh EH1 11R
Situated next to one of Edinburgh’s most popular dog parks, Harrison Park in Shandon, this furniture upcycler-turned-cafe has been dog-friendly since opening in 2017. You’ll spot hints of the owner’s former life in the colourful art prints on the walls, and the cleverly salvaged antique tables and chairs. Enticing smells from the kitchen (think: bagels, savoury croissants, sourdough toasties, and all the avo you could want), plus an open jar of dog treats, prove that food is priority no.1. Well, food and dogs. The list of local pooches that class themselves as regulars is pretty long: Heather the Border Collie, Hector the black Labrador, Charlie the Jack Russell, Darcy the Red Setter, Cassie the Rough Collie, Frank and Carlo the French Bulldogs…so many, in fact, that Tea & Sympathy has created two doggy walls of fame (pictured above), featuring Polaroid snaps of their most special customers. Sorry humans.
2. Bross Bagels
Address & map: 19 Queensferry Street, Edinburgh EH2 4QW (plus branches in Portobello, Leith, Bruntsfield and Stockbridge)
“Dogs go bananas for bagels,” laughs Canadian Larah Bross, who started Bross Bagels in 2017 after failing to find an Edinburgh equivalent to the doughy, filling-stuffed bagels from her Montreal hometown. Back then, she likely didn’t expect dogs to feature as some of her most popular clientele. But as Bross Bagels has expanded to five cafes that allow dogs, it’s rumoured those wide-eyed canine customers bag more attention from staff than the human ones. And they certainly leave bigger drool patches. Water is provided, and sometimes dog treats, though many owners find the only way to swerve their dog off the scent of their own bagel is with a £2 karnautzel–a mix of tomato sauce, cheese, and Canadian-style sausage that’s like catnip for good boys.
3. Burr & Co.
Address & map: 20 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 2P
Owned by The George, the dog-friendly Edinburgh hotel next door, Burr & Co. has a soft spot for dogs that’s even softer than a cockapoo’s fur. As the sight of regular punters Nala and Simba–two dreamy miniature dachshunds–propping up the, er, floor, will prove. OK, they have been sighted above the floor. Dogs are so welcome in this cafe that they’re even allowed onto the seats (clean paws, permitting); the only place pups can’t venture is behind the counter. Even if your dog says that it wants to go there to drop off its CV for a job, we all know that they’re really after a BBQ pulled pork and smoked cheddar ciabatta. Free dog treats are available, though, and the team is even contemplating introducing a small dog-friendly menu. Watch this space.
Address & map: 107 Dalry Rd, Edinburgh EH11 2DR
If you wander into Chapter One Coffee Shop and swear you see a barista that looks decidedly…dog-shaped…well, you might not be seeing things. Dogs are held in such high regard here that there are no restrictions on where they can wander to–including behind the counter. Sadly, training any one of the five regular pooches to make a cuppa and prepare a vegan breakfast is taking a little more time to master than hoped. An old dog and those tricks, hey. Staff admit that welcoming doggy customers into their cafe truly makes their day, with cuddles treated as a main event rather than a quick scratch-and-dash. All food is 100% plant-based, not that your hairy meat-fiend will notice–with soups, falafel paninis, vegan cakes and cinnamon rolls all sending him into slobber mode. OK, and you too.
5. Door 127
Address & map: 127 George St, Edinburgh EH2 4JN
Tucked inside Eden Locke, one of Edinburgh’s coolest boutique hotels, Door 127 looks like one of those impossibly chic coffee houses that your dog would get expelled from in two seconds. The reality? Not so much. Sure, Door 127 is devastatingly good-looking (second only to your dog, of course). It’s a hip, mint-hued cafe-bar, whose wicker chairs and laptop-beavering crowd make it as Instagrammable as it is thirst-quenching. But the owners also really, really love dogs. There’s a doggy water bowl, treats from time to time, and an everyone’s-welcome policy as long as they don’t eye up a snooze on the furniture. In 2019, Door 127 even held a Puppy Picnic–a canine buffet (with coffee and croissants for owners) open to both handbag- and hound-sized chums. Ever bought your dog a fancy outfit, designer harness, or cute carry case that feels a tad OTT for Edinburgh’s dog parks? Door 127 is the dog-friendly cafe to show it off in.
6. Café MILK
Need proof that Cafe MILK, the stylish eatery inside the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, is dog-friendly? Just ask Stan. Not, in fact, a man; but a French Bulldog with a soft-spot for sniffing out a MILK breakfast burrito. Or a plate of honey-roast ham. He’s one of several pooch pals that frequent the MILK branch near Victoria Park–where all dogs are welcome provided that they can keep themselves under control. If that’s thrown a spanner in the works, check out MILK’s sister cafe–a coffee shack inside doggy favourite, Inverleith Park, where there are no rules. Hurrah. Both MILK venues offer water and liver cake for dogs, plus a possible tummy tickle if the pups smile sweetly.
Address & map: 9 Brandon Terrace, Edinburgh EH3 5EA
Ask any local why Blue Bear Cafe is so buzzy at the weekends and the answer will include the insanely good brekkie menu (come to mumma, blueberry French toast), the relaxed atmosphere, and how cute the dogs are. Two words: resident puppy! He’s a fox red Labrador called Burford, and while he’s not always in (hey, a pup’s got to pee), he gets a lot of love from customers. Blue Bear Cafe allows all dogs to join their brunch-hunting humans; the only rules are no dogs on the chairs or tables (no matter how small and cute), and on-lead only so they don’t follow their noses into the chef’s domain. As a reward, doggy treats are on hand, plus designated dog bowls if guilt-tripped owners decide to share some scrambled egg, sausage or vegan haggis from the signature Build You Own Bear breakfast.
Address & map: 2 Polwarth Crescent, Edinburgh EH11 1HW
We’re not saying that dogs get better treatment at Piecebox Cafe than at home, but they are welcomed in with a bowl of water and a chopped-up sausage. No wonder your dog starts pulling on the lead when you’re out walking in Polwarth. As well as a cute-and-cosy atmosphere, appetites are warmed with hearty classics like mac n cheese and 100% Scottish steak burgers, plus a growing range of yummy vegan options. Look out for special dog-themed events, too. In 2019, Piecebox Cafe welcomed Pup Up Cafe–a company that travels around the UK hosting pop-up puppy cafes–to launch Edinburgh’s first one-day Dachshund party. Sausage is definitely a theme at Piecebox Cafe.
Heading out for lunch and can’t bring your better (OK, hairier) half along? Rover.com’s trusted dog walkers and sitters in Edinburgh will happily step in on those moments when you need an extra pair of hands. Leave this list of dog-friendly cafes with them so they find the perfect pitstop for humans and pooch alike.
Featured image: Bross Bagels