We caught up with writer Jess Toale and her pup Clive the bulldog in their stumping ground, Covent Garden, to hand over a copy of our autumn issue with their contributing article inside – fresh from the printers! Read on for Jess’ recommendation on dog-friendly places to paws for a coffee (or treat!)!
It’s been the perfect time to be a new pet parent. The city’s pedestrianised streets have brought its cafes and restaurants spilling out into the open air. Most have been happy to welcome dogs and their owners to their outside spaces and terraces. Clive the Bulldog joined my little family during the depths of lockdown. He arrived just in time to stem the rising despair I felt after being kept indoors for months. Since then he has been my faithful companion, exploring a newly awakened London. But as the autumnal nights draw in, and a chill fills the air, the summer’s outdoor social distancing solutions are fast losing their appeal. So as we’re forced back inside, we’ve been seeking out the West End’s most dog-friendly venues. Here are some of our favourites:
🐾 Abuelo – Southampton Street 🐾
If you’re after a beautifully crafted Australian brunch experience, Abuelo is the place for you. The interiors and menu have been designed by its architect owners. You’ll find items as diverse as smashed pumpkin on charcoal, activated sourdough bread and a pulled pork croque monsieur. If you’re lucky you’ll even spot Clive’s friend, the resident Goldendoodle, Anni. @abuelocoffeelondon
🐾 The Espresso Room – New Row 🐾
This is a veritable poochie paradise and one of our most regular spots. The Espresso Rooms became a lynch pin of the local community as lockdown restrictions eased. It’s also a regular stop for dog-owning Covent Gardeners after their morning meet-up at St Giles churchyard. Small in size but big on vibe, it’s a great spot to grab a coffee and a pastry and catch up onlocal gossip before a stroll around Covent Garden. @theespressoroom
🐾 Ole & Steen – Charing Cross Road 🐾
I couldn’t contain my excitement when this branch of Swedish bakery Ole & Steen re-opened. It had always doubled as my local bakery and ‘office’. I was even more delighted to discover they were happy to let me stroll in with Clive. We love coming here in the mornings to pick up some freshly baked bread and delicious pastries or just to sit and while away the time in its light and airy atrium. @oleandsteenuk
🐾 Kingly Court – off Carnaby Street 🐾
Don’t know what you fancy to eat? When in doubt, we head to Kingly Court. It’s colourful.It’s got variety. And crucially it’s outdoor seating is undercover. I love the fresh Mediterranean food at Whyte and Browns or grabbing an acai bowl at Acai Berry. Both outlets are more than happy to give Clive a bowl of water and a ton of attention. If you’re looking for something a bit closer to Old Compton Street, Balan’s Soho Society is also dog-friendly! @carnabyLondon @whyteandbrown @acaiberryfoods @balanslondon
🐾 Liberty London – Great Marlborough Street 🐾
No trip to London is complete without a bit of retail therapy, and Soho’s most famous mock Tudor department store welcomes shoppers and their four-legged friends. Staff are always thrilled to see Clive when we wander in, and Clive has a blast exploring all the nooks and crannies of the building. Their online store also sells a range of dog toys, treats and clothing. @libertylondon
🐾 The Duck & Rice – Berwick Street 🐾
Last but not least, if you’d like to take advantage of the city’s late night offerings, the Duck and Rice brings together upmarket Chinese food by Alan Yau with the ambience of a Soho boozer. It’s not just dog-friendly, it’s positively pro-pooch. Check out their Instagram stories where they proudly feature the latest canine visitors. @theduckandrice
🐾 Hideaway Coffee – Smith’s Court 🐾
Tucked away in a quiet courtyard, the aptly-named Hideaway Coffee is a new discovery of ours. Recently reopened after lockdown, we love it for a morning coffee and catch up on the emails or for a post-dinner espresso away from the fray. Just off Brewer Street, it’s easy to imagine you are far from the hustle and bustle of Soho. They also serve a range of breakfast items and smoothies. @hideawaycoffeeKingly
Tip from Jess; “St Giles play group for doggies is is a good place to meet other dog-owners from the local community, everyday at 10am.” (Lockdown restrictions will apply from Thursday 5th November 2020).
Follow @clivethebulldog‘s footprints 🐾 on Instagram!
This article was originally published in My Soho Times autumn issue. Sign up to have it delivered straight to your inbox!
Photos: Kai aka The Soho Girl, and courtesy of Jess Toale where stated.
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