3 Dog-Friendly Restaurants and Bars We Love in Traverse City

Tessa Lighty is Oneupweb’s social media coordinator. She’s one of many dog owners in the Oneupweb office. To see even more pictures of her dog, follow her on Instagram.

My dog Morel goes everywhere with me. I’m not even kidding. I couldn’t bring her to a Halloween party last year, and I left after a half-hour. Apparently, I’d rather drink at home with my dog than be at a fun party without her. She’s an angel, just look at her!

brown and white brittany spaniel dog sitting on a forest trail
This is my dog Morel. She’s a one-year-old Brittany.

But I’m getting off-topic. I totally understand how privileged we are in Traverse City when it comes to dog-friendly restaurants, bars, businesses and everything in between. When I go home to see my parents outside of Chicago, I’m always amazed I can’t bring my dog with me everywhere we go (because of a local ordinance).

Nearly every restaurant with a patio in Traverse City lets you bring your dog. In the summertime, there’s no better way to hit the town than with your best pooch by your side.

For me, though, there are three dog-friendly restaurants and bars in Traverse City I feel most comfortable bringing my dog all year long:

Bowers Harbor – The Dog-Friendly Winery That Puts Dogs on Their Wine Labels

Full disclosure – I’m a member of the Bowers Harbor Wine Club. But there’s a reason for it! Their wines are tasty and reasonably priced and they take good care of their members. For me, a big bonus is how dog-friendly they are.

While they do request you keep your dog outside and on a leash, at Bowers Harbor you have more freedom when it comes to bringing your dog along. Their outdoor pavilion and outdoor tasting bar with heaters make it easy to stay warm in the winter and still include your dog. They accommodate if you need a water dish for your four-legged friend and the employees are nothing short of ecstatic to meet the dogs that come in. I can’t remember the last time I stopped by and didn’t have Morel with me.

hand holding a pint of cider with dog in background at winery
We usually take a hike somewhere on the peninsula and then hit Bowers Harbor to quench our thirst.

Three of their wines – Brix, Otis and Winston – feature dogs on the label, and proceeds from sales of Winston benefit Cherryland Humane Society. Their official mascot was Otis, a yellow Labrador retriever. Bowers Harbor has swag for your pup like “Wine Dog” bandanas and water dishes in the gift shop, not to mention dog stuffed animals, wine cork dog cages and more.

The Little Fleet – The OG of Dog-Friendly Spots

OK, I only moved to Traverse City four years ago, but it seems like The Little Fleet has always been the spot to go with your dog.

In the summertime, Little Fleet gives you and your dog plenty of patio options to choose from. A lot of people who frequent The Little Fleet bring their dogs, so there’s lots of opportunity for socialization. Actually, The Little Fleet was the first bar we brought our dog to. It was good for her to learn how to behave in public.

In the winter, the outdoor firepit and yurt means you can bring your dog inside to warm up. The Little Fleet is one of Traverse City’s more laid-back locations when it comes to management, staff and patrons.

brown and white brittany spaniel being held
The first time we brought her to the bar.

Silver Spruce Brewing Company – The New Dog on the Block

Silver Spruce has only been in Traverse City since the fall of 2018, but already has earned its spot on this list of dog-friendly bars.

I remember when my boyfriend said we should check it out back in January. The first thing I did was call to see if I could bring my dog and they said “Yeah, of course you can!” She had been well-walked, and enjoyed time out to Bowers Harbor earlier in the day.

Sitting inside their bar drinking beer in this dog-friendly establishment on Eighth Street (by Family Video) was the perfect end to our winter day.

Silver Spruce Brewing’s beers are tasty and reasonably priced, and being a newer location outside of downtown means more room to spread out – for you and your dog.

It’s Up to Us to Keep TC Dog-Friendly

While I love my dog, I understand not everyone does. It’s up to us to keep Traverse City establishments dog-friendly by being responsible dog owners. Keep your dog on a leash, pay attention to what it’s eating, licking or chewing on while you’re out, and pick up its poop. If your dog is not good in social situations, don’t bring it in the first place. It’s pretty simple.

At any time a restaurant or bar might ask you and your dog to leave. You really have no option but to listen to them. Don’t give them a reason to take it away from everyone.

The fewer fellow patrons who are given reason to complain, the more likely we are to keep this privilege.