Hi! I’m Melissa Misthal, a guest contributor to this wonderful New Jersey-centric blog and manager of Dog Friendly Central NJ and @monmouthdognj! I have the best hobby in the world: finding dog friendly places wherever I go! New Jersey, as a whole state, has so much to offer all of its residents and visitors throughout the year, and that includes bringing your dog along with you for fun times. When we first got Brie, our morkie-poo, a few years ago, we realized if we wanted to go out, we’d have to leave her home. But we didn’t want to accept that and decided to find and document places that are dog-friendly and share this useful information with the world. Through our exploration we like to say that Brie is the “unofficial mascot of New Jersey!”
The Raritan Bayshore area of New Jersey, encompassing the northern cities of Monmouth County, is a hidden gem of restaurants, shops, activities, and beaches, with views of the Raritan Bay and NYC skyline. We feel like we could write forever about all the great places in the area, but we will keep it to our top picks we have visited so far.
KEYPORT: an adorable town with community engagement, Keyport has a beautiful waterfront to walk along and it is conveniently down the street from the downtown area. June is the month for dog-friendly activities as the town hosts a “Dog’s Night Out” event with pet-themed vendors and live bands. Another event is the “Gardenwalk” where you follow a predetermined map to view beautiful gardens, some of them being dog-friendly! The best part after each of these events is being able to dine with your dog at a few restaurants that have outdoor seating.
McDonagh’s Pub, a restaurant staple of downtown Keyport, has an outdoor patio that is dog-friendly! The area is special in that it is covered and has multiple TV’s. Take your pick and sit comfortably while enjoying American and Irish fare, picking one of their over 80 beers, and eating their burger, which was rated one of the tastiest burgers at the shore by Jersey Shore InMotion in 2018! There are usually dogs hanging out with their family and they host Yappy Hour events with Tito’s Vodka drink specials. Check their Facebook page for their next Yappy Hour and also their “Dogs Day Parking Lot Party” where they close off the parking lot and have doggie pools, toys/treats, games, food/drink specials, and live music.
2 W Front St, Keyport, NJ 07735 ( 732-264-0999)
Old Glory Kitchen + Spirits is a really cool place that was formerly a church, providing an intriguing look for the restaurant. Their large outdoor patio is dog friendly and most tables have umbrellas! The menu boasts over 50 canned beers and a wide selection of classic American food along with daily specials.
84 Broad Street, Keyport, NJ 07735 (732-497-5555)
HAZLET: a franchise restaurant, this particular Stewart’s Root Beer is very special as they allow dogs at their cute park-like outdoor space. There are three picnic tables at the rear of the restaurant where dogs are allowed and it is so peaceful, you forget you are right on Route 36! If you need a doggie water bowl, the staff is happy to bring one out. All Stewart’s locations are different and the Hazlet’s menu is HUGE! Really something for everyone, including vegan options! This place’s popularity has grown with the addition of their vegan menu! Vegan chicken parmesan, pizza, spring rolls, and much more. The pizza is especially a big hit with vegans and non-vegans (it tastes SO GOOD). They even use a separate fryer for all vegan orders. They also have their classic and delicious regular menu that includes burgers, hot dogs, salads, and those famous fat sandwiches! And who can forget their signature frosted mug of root beer and other Stewart’s beverages. We love that the owners are dog friendly and friendly to all diets!
274 State Route 36, Hazlet Township, NJ 07734 (732-495-5969)
ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS: walking into Zoe’s Vintage Kitchen‘s dog-friendly outdoor patio is like finding a special and adorable secret. A comfortable and cozy place to have breakfast, brunch, or lunch, Zoe’s has diner-esq options with new menu changes coming soon. This is a place you end up going to while on vacation (or a staycation!) and it is so nice we can enjoy it with the pups! The restaurant is open everyday from 7:00am-2:30pm. Let the owner Dolly know that Brie sent you.
77 Center Ave., Atlantic Highlands, NJ 07716 (732-708-9637)
HIGHLANDS: Truly a food mecca of the county, the list is long for dog friendly restaurants. Here’s a few:
If you want to have a staycation in NJ, then make sure The Seafarer Bar is on your list to visit! An all-outdoor bar with a tropical and colorful setup, dogs are allowed in the Skipper’s dog patio area. The patio is covered by a tent and includes a craft beer bar. You can also order at the main bar for cocktails and the food truck for a meal, but dogs must stay on the patio, so take a friend with you to be able to order at the bar. The doggie area has picnic tables and a cozy lounge area with Mexican blankets and our bartender brought Brie a bowl of water. This is the type of place you find while on a trip to an island!
1 Atlantic St, Highlands, NJ 07732 (848-300-2392)
Bahrs Landing Restaurant celebrated their 100th anniversary in 2017 and we are happy to report they have dog friendly seating at their outdoor tables! Breathe in the fresh sea air, as you dine dockside and overlook Sandy Hook and the Route 36 bridge! Check their website for the latest menus; there is so much to offer (when we went, their Oktoberfest menu was a new addition!). And when you post about your experience on social media, you can tag your pet with #dogsofdockside
2 Bay Ave, Highlands, NJ 07732 (732-872-1245)
Moby’s Lobster Deck & Ice Cream is a unique restaurant in that all the dining tables are outside with options to be under the sun, umbrellas, or wooden canopy, and all tables are dog friendly! Order at the “snackbar,” then wait for your number to be called to pick up your food/drinks. You can also get ice cream! Relax and enjoy the views of the Shrewsbury River, Sandy Hook, and Route 36 bridge.
2 South Bay Ave., Highlands/Sandy Hook, NJ 07732 (732-872-1245 x4)
Another cool place to take your pup is The Chubby Pickle! They have a covered outdoor space where dogs are allowed and a fun menu of bar food. Our waitress immediately brought over a water bowl for Brie and was so friendly! There are also fun trivia nights where you can play outdoors with your dog (there is a speaker system so you can hear the game)! The outdoor seating is limited, so get there early! Be sure to check their on-line schedule for upcoming events!
23 Bay Avenue, Highlands NJ 07732 (732-872-7000)
For a great meal and drinks with relaxing views, check out Inlet Cafe! Right across the river from Sandy Hook, they have a varied menu in a comfortable setting. Dogs are allowed at their outdoor tables on the right hand side. This place gets packed, so go early! A very peaceful place to enjoy on a nice summer day.
3 Cornwall Street, Highlands, NJ 07732 (732-872-9764)
We have so much more to explore in the Raritan Bayshore and all over NJ, and cannot wait to share with you our dog-friendly findings! As always, while bringing your dog to any place, please keep them leashed, clean up after them, and bring water/food/treats. Something we always recommend is to “call before you go” to verify dogs are allowed, as sometimes rules change. If you’d like to follow where Brie goes next, catch her on Facebook and Instagram. Special thanks to Greg for inviting us to guest-post on his brilliant blog!