Who Let the Dogs In? | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Who Let the Dogs In?

Bend's restaurants and bars put out the welcome mat

Annelie Kahn

"We have water dishes, shade, etc., and we love having dogs," says Crux manager Aaron Childers.

In fact, originally, Crux had planned to be an off-leash dog park and bar; however, they could not find an insurance company to underwrite the idea (insert boos and growling here). Even so, the concept remains, as evidenced by the wide-open fields filled with corn hole games and free-form packs of kids playing—and, of course, one of Crux's original and classic beers, Off-Leash, a refreshing and lightly hoppy session IPA.

Even if not an official dog park, most evenings at least a couple dogs are visiting, lounging like a panting rugs on the patio or curled under the shade of a table.

"Dogs are more than welcome," Childers says. "We love dogs. We only ask that they be kept on leash and stay outside on the patio or our grassy lawn area. Only service dogs are allowed inside."

And Crux is far from alone. Dozens of restaurants in Bend proactively allow dogs to join for dinner and drinks, from dogs resting at the feet of patrons eating at Zydeco's sidewalk café to the lawn at Worthy Brewing.

"We only have complaints if people aren't following the leash rule and their dog is bothering another dog or someone's kids," Childers say. "Unfortunately, some people feel privileged and don't think their dog needs to follow the rules."

The Lot is another favorite hangout for dogs (and their owners).

"The fact that the whole establishment is essentially patio seating makes it very welcoming for our furry friends," explains Miranda Paul, who serves beer at The Lot. While she says there aren't any regulars, it seems known that the space is dog friendly, a message that seems to travel informally through dog-owners and is also promoted by websites like BringFido.com, which lists dog-friendly venues around the country and even has "pet friendly travel experts" available for free phone consultations.

There are plenty of favorite—and welcoming—spots around town. At Spork, the canine clientele isn't just tolerated, it's celebrated. Whatever doggie diners need—from bowls for food and water to affection—the staff is happy to provide.

"This is a such a dog friendly town and it's a bummer for a lot of people if they can't bring their furry friends," explains Colin Moore, a manager at Spork. "It adds to that sort of family-friendly Bend vibe."

And the dogs return the favor. Moore says it's not uncommon for passersby to be drawn in by an adorable puppy only to find themselves asking about the food and making plans to return in the future.

"I think it's rad that we are able to do it," Moore says.

Riverside Market is also a popular stop for local dog-lovers. With water dishes ready and waiting and designated spots to tie off the end of a leash, the neighborhood eatery welcomes canine companions.

"This is Bend, Oregon, so everybody loves to bring their dogs with them everywhere," explains Riverside employee Ruby Wanko. "Especially on this side of town, people just walk where they go."

She says people living in the area often stop by for a beer while walking the dog, and she enjoys seeing her four-legged regulars.

"One of our regular customers just got a golden retriever puppy," Wanko says. "It's so stinking cute."

And though the market doesn't do as much to promote the dog-friendly vibe as it used to, owner Melanie Brent says to look for a doggie happy hour coming soon.

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