Summer days are great for long, lingering meals on the tail end of an outing with your pet. Lake Merritt, the large tidal lagoon in the center of town, is one of Oakland’s most popular jogging and dog-walking venues and a great place to go for a leg-stretch. Linger over an upscale lunch or dinner at Lake Chalet Seafood Bar, a special-occasion venue; or indulge in Italian comfort food at Barlago Italian Kitchen, where heated outdoor tables take the chill off the often brisk marine air. Tuesday-Friday happy hours feature discounted draft beers, wine and antipasti specials.
Speaking of beer, one of the city’s best-known watering holes, Beer Revolution on Jack London Square features 48 beers on tap, dog-friendly patio tables and a very mellow vibe. Heart and Dagger Saloon is another local’s hangout with a cool, kick-back ambience. It features a large patio with shaded tables, a diverse libation selection, free Wi-Fi, and a jukebox covering every musical genre known to man and dog. Be forewarned that H&D is cash only, no credit cards.
If all that glass-lifting inspires an overnight stay, look no farther than the Waterfront Hotel in the heart of the vibrant Jack London Square dining, shopping and entertainment district. Fittingly for a hotel with water frontage, the décor at this boutique Joie de Vivre property is nautical. It’s affordable as big-city hotels go and there's never an extra charge for dogs (unless they eat the furniture, that is).
For lunch or dinner on the square, try Fat Lady Bar & Restaurant, a family-owned establishment with Victorian décor, lots of memorabilia, a colorful history, dog-friendly umbrella tables and a menu heavy on pasta and seafood. At Bocanova, you and Furry can rest your paws on a waterfront patio while enjoying Latin-inspired entrees such as day-boat scallops in Brazilian curry sauce or low-cal starters such as jicama wedges with chili and lime.
Feel like a pre-meal hike? Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve is a 208-acre oasis tucked behind the historic (and dog-friendly) Claremont Hotel in the Berkeley and Oakland Hills. An ecological corridor on an urban fringe, the preserve supports a mosaic of vegetation types, from grasslands to woodlands. Picturesque hiking trails are the main attraction for DogTrekkers, who can paw their way up the steep trail that climbs three-quarters of a mile from Stonewall Road to the ridge top for panoramic views of Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. Sit a spell to drink it in, and give your dog a pat for sharing this aerobic adventure.