Wednesday, 05 October 2016 11:46

Drinking with Doggos: Where to grab a pint, and bring Fido along, too

Written by  Joe Boomgaard
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Levon at Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery & Supply in Ada Levon at Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery & Supply in Ada

Take a trip to Portland or Asheville, Fort Collins or Pittsburgh and you’ll notice many of the breweries share a common theme: They welcome — if not encourage — patrons to bring their dogs. 

There’s just something relaxing about sharing a pint with a few buddies while also enjoying the company of our four-legged friends. Dogs also work as conversation starters with fellow patrons, connecting people over their love of the furry companions. 

For a number of reasons not worth getting into here, many Michigan breweries have been slow to open their doors to dogs, but that could soon be changing. As this report went to press, the Michigan Legislature was considering a bill that would expand the areas where restaurants could allow patrons to have their pups. 

Even now, a handful of West Michigan breweries are dog-friendly, according to this reporter’s firsthand experiences with Levon, a mild-mannered (and very spoiled) black lab mix. Here are some breweries Levon has enjoyed, and where pet owners can start if they want to go drinking with their dogs. 


Grand Rapids

Elk Brewing

700 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids

(616) 238-5227,

The brewery allows dogs on its spacious gravel outdoor patio. Levon approves of the available water bowls. It’s a nice spot for a sandwich and a beer. 


Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery & Supply

418 Ada Dr., Ada

(616) 920-7398,

Bask in the evening light while sitting in an adirondack, sipping on one of the ever-rotating tap list of beers. Levon loved lying in the grass. 


The Mitten Brewing Co. 

527 Leonard St. NW, Grand Rapids

(616) 608-5612,

Levon hasn’t visited yet, but dogs are allowed on the outdoor patio in the warmer months. Baseball, beer, pizza and dogs — It’s like a Norman Rockwell painting. 



Our Brewing Co. 

76 E. 8th St., Holland

(616) 994-8417,

Tucked away on the parking lot side is a small patio. Levon brought his own water and dish, but he didn’t care. Plenty of nearby restaurants offer take-out for people to enjoy as well. 


Unruly Brewing Co.

360 W. Western Ave., Muskegon 

(231) 288-1068,

This is perhaps Levon’s favorite spot. He can get out of the rain (wink, wink) while his people enjoy great beers and nosh on delicious Rebel Pies, the adjacent pizza joint under the same roof. Bonus points if there’s some vinyl spinning. 



Arcadia Brewing Co.

701 E. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo

(269) 276-0458,

A large fenced-in patio along the Kalamazoo River provides the perfect backdrop for enjoying some classic English-style ales. Levon gave the location four paws up. 


Rupert’s Brew House

773 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo

(269) 337-9911,

Levon misses visiting with Captain Stooby (R.I.P), the gentle giant of a mascot at Rupert’s who would let out a signature woof from time to time. He’d love to make a return trip to visit with Uncle Bill, the owner’s new Great Dane puppy. 


Southwest Michigan

Cultivate Brewing Co. 

961 E. Shawnee Rd., Berrien Springs

(269) 422-1324,

Set on a sprawling farm with a large outdoor area and trails to see hops and barley, Cultivate gets craft beer drinkers closer to agriculture. It’s a bonus that dogs are welcome outside, too. 


Traverse City

Brewery Terra Firma

2959 Hartman Rd., Traverse City

(231) 929-1600

There must be something inviting about breweries being based on farms. Terra Firma’s outdoor patio is best enjoyed in full fall colors, with a pooch at your feet. (Levon only wishes he could see the vibrant colors from the maples.)


The Filling Station Microbrewery

642 Railroad Pl., Traverse City

(231) 946-8168,

The old train station beckons visitors to pull up a chair or sit at the outside bar, enjoy the un-salted T.C. air and toss back a few brews. The friendly staff greeted Levon with a fresh bowl of water, which he lapped up willingly. 


The Workshop Brewing Co.

221 Garland St., Traverse City

(231) 421-8977,

It may be set in T.C.’s warehouse district, but Workshop’s great vibe and outdoor seating (in the warmer months) is a welcoming space to grab a pint and plot the day’s adventures. Levon liked watching the waves in the distance.


Traverse City Whiskey Co. 

201 E 14th St, Traverse City

(231) 922-8292,

If the other patrons don’t mind, dogs are welcome on the outdoor patio and inside the bar and distillery. After a long walk, Levon caught a few easy winks, thanks especially to the dimly lit interior.


Dos and Don’ts 

Bringing a dog into a public place brings with it a lot of responsibility on the part of the owner. Here are some tips. 



  • Do call ahead. As a standard practice before you head out to one of these locations, you should always contact the business to be sure they’re OK with you bringing your dog along, even the ones listed here. 
  • Do keep your dog leashed at all times. Your pet always should be under your direct control.
  • Do bring your own supplies and treats. That includes bags for any sort of cleanup and portable water dishes, although many places offer them. 
  • Do keep your space in check. Try to tuck into an out-of-the-way area where you won’t bother other patrons. Have your dog lie down next to you — no barking or begging allowed!
  • Do give your dog some exercise ahead of time. This will tire your pup so he or she will be calmer and more likely to nap, rather than want to go exploring.



  • Don’t bring a dog that has behavior issues around people or other dogs. Only well-behaved pets will be allowed back. Don’t ruin this for the rest of us!
  • Don’t expect special treatment. Servers are there to work, not fawn over your pet. Also, they’re doing you a favor by allowing your dog to visit, so be nice and tip well.
  • Don’t think everyone loves being near dogs. Some people dislike animals or even fear dogs, so be mindful of their needs.
  • Don’t give your dog beer. As much as you love IPA, it’s poisonous to dogs. In fact, eating hops can be fatal for pooches. 


Interested in finding more places that allow puppers to stick around while their people eat, drink or rest? These sites have you covered.

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