featured photo: Pacific Press

In just a few days, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will take place at Madison Square Garden, and 204 breeds of dogs representing 20 countries will be present for the event.

But while those dogs compete in a legendary New York tradition that has now lasted 144 years, everyday New Yorkers are likely looking for more casual opportunities to participate in the event, during what could shape up to be a pretty cold winter over the next few weeks.  

Think of the New York City Marathon, which took place last November. Sure, you had a friend or two you cheered on during the race, but the weekend itself was more of a celebration, right? Your friend’s dedication to all 26.2 miles quickly became a reason for you and your friends to eat, drink and be merry.

Similarly, just because your dog won’t be participating in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show doesn’t mean he or she will turn down an adventure in New York City. Activity gets them excited—parks, dog-friendly bars, maybe even a photoshoot. Add those up, and you’ve got the look, the excitement and even the culture to rival an appearance in the monumental dog show itself (and yes, you can get tickets to the show here).

We found the best spots to bring your dog along during the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, whether it’s a great bar or a restaurant with a killer menu for dogs. And humans. Yes, some have both. Cheers.

The Wilson NYC

132 27th St.
New York, NY

If The Wilson’s stellar seafood selection wasn’t enough to rope you in, maybe their dog menu will do the trick. When ribeye steak, salmon and grilled chicken breast are on the menu for your furry friend, you know you’re in for a treat. Whether you’re looking for a breakfast buffet, fun dinner date or just a night out with your pup, The Wilson is a solid bet.


Pet photographer Jim Dratfield has photographed pets for Jennifer Aniston, Barbara Walters and others, all while splitting time between New York and Los Angeles and gaining coverage from The New York Times, CNN, USA Today and Access Hollywood. Schedule a photo session for you and your pet, or check out Dratfield’s website here.

Central Park

Central Park is a favorite go-to spot for dog-owners throughout the city. In fact, dogs are permitted to be off-leash before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m. at Central Park, barring several designated areas. If you’re looking for other spots around the city where you can get some fresh air while letting your dog roam, check out Prospect Park and Tribeca Dog Run.


303 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY

This Williamsburg hotspot is the perfect destination to nurse a Sunday morning hangover, especially if you’re looking to bring your pup along. The back porch stays full on the weekends, and the bar’s relaxed vibe keeps Brooklynites coming back for more Bloody Marys time and time again. Drop by Luckydog for a laid-back afternoon in Williamsburg, an afternoon when the noise of roaming dogs is definitely preferable to a lazy weekend alone in one’s home.

Madison Square Park

11 Madison Ave
New York, NY

Jemmy’s Dog Run in Madison Square Park might be just the spot you and your dog need for an enjoyable afternoon in the city. While your pup enjoys what was voted the city’s best dog park in 2015 by the Village Voice, take in some of the city’s best views, or maybe prepare yourself for a tasty burger from Shake Shack, located right in Madison Square Park. Get a whiff of the go-to New York burger joint, and your mouth will be watering more than your dog’s ever has.


If your pup didn’t make the cut for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show this year, not to worry. Maybe all he or she needed was a nudge in the right direction, a little boost of self-esteem. That’s why we looked into some of the best spots in town to get your dog the grooming it needs. Check out Walter’s Pet Style, Unleashed Spa, Towne House Grooming and Pet Supplies, Seaport Paw and The Bark Shop.