WHERE do you take a ginger dog to lunch? Why, to The Ginger Dog, of course. This glorious little corner local in Brighton’s gay hub, Kemptown, is part of an independent chain around the city that sprang out of the Gingerman restaurant. I don’t think, though, Hove’s Ginger Pig serves pigs, except upon a plate.
A spoof royal wedding video involving red setter ‘Kate Puggleton’ and ‘Prince Woofiam’, a Portuguese Estrala, dressed as the soon-to-be-married royals as they tied the knot in a mock ceremony
It was a haven after a long morning’s walkies exploring dog-friendly Brighton. After romping along the seafront and window shopping in Bloomingtails Dog Boutique in The Lanes we could have snacked in Chubby Chops Cafe while Captain Smidge, our itinerant chihuahua, chilled out in their canine play area, but the culinary allure of The Ginger Dog won out. Smidge was greeted with a gravy bone; we settled for pints of welcoming West Coast IPA. The dog declined our sweetbread starter, but wolfed his tithe of chicken fed to him under the table.
If only the world of dining out was always this pet-friendly. Still there aren’t many places as as amenable in this direction as Brighton.
Dog barred from Royal PavilionMuch may be down to the liberal spirit of the place and the aforementioned gay population. Still there are no-go areas even here. Dog are not allowed on the beach in the summer months, on the Pier any time or in the Prince Regent’s glorious architectural folly, The Royal Pavilion and mainstream shopping opportunities are limited. Smidge was much more welcome in Brighton’s “Latin Quarter”, North Laine with its plethora of leftfield stores. It’s a great city for walking and not just along the promenade. For added interest beyond sea air and views try a Ghost Walk around The Lanes area. It costs £8 an adult. Dogs go free.
There are a surprising number of hotels that accommodate your pet. After good vibes from using Airbnb we’d been keen to try out rival private home rental site HouseTrip, which badges any of its worldwide properties that are pet-friendly.
As it happened the Brighton property at the top of the HouseRrip list was free the night we were in town – and happy to accept a well-behaved pooch. The owner even left him a classy rubber dog chew as a present. The three-bedroom Warehouse Des Res Central Brighton is not a bargain option at £303, but it’s a huge, wildly quirky living space over two floors (the pictures tell the story) and just five minutes from the beach.
It’s also right next to Preston Street with its wall-to-wall choice of all the world’s cuisines, while, if you’re self-catering, the Taj Food Store on Western Drive is an Aladdin’s Cave of Middle Eastern and Asian ingredients.
Many Brighton pubs admit dogs. A local specialist canine photographer has compiled a list. Worth checking with the individual hostelries first. My favourite Brighton pun, The Evening Star on Surrey Street, for instance, only allows dogs in the outside area. Still worth it to sample the Dark Star range, including that great lunch pint, Hophead.
Kemptown’s always a good bet, perhaps teetering over the edge in its dog-friendliness. I like the Metrodeco tea and cocktail salon in Upper James Street (right) for its 1930s Parisian style opulence, but visit their website blog and you find a spoof royal wedding video involving red setter ‘Kate Puggleton’ and ‘Prince Woofiam’, a Portuguese Estrala, dressed as the soon-to-be-married royals as they tied the knot in a mock ceremony. Twee.
The nearby Brighton Rocks Bar in Rock Street even displays its own poem in praise of pooches:
“Our Brighton Rocks which art in Kemptown, Hallowed be thy name. Thy doggies may come, And visit post run, To sprawl in front of our fire. Give us each day your love unbound, And forgive us our hangovers, As we forgive your Lucifer breath. And lead us not into sad pubs, With rules of exclusion. For thine is the kingdom, Bichon or bulldog, Forever and ever. Woof.”
For a much straighter dine out with your dog experience I highly recommend our stop-off en route to Brighton, The Griffin 18 miles north east at Fletching. It merits a Michelin mention and is a Slow Food stalwart, and also makes the Good Beer Guide (don’t miss the benchmark English Bitter from Harvey’s). It would certainly make any list of the best pub gardens. Full of dogs for Smidge to fraternise with, naturally.
Neil Sowerby stayed as a guest of HouseTrip, www.housetrip.com, @HouseTrip.
HouseTrip is one of the largest online holiday rental marketplaces in the world that allows homeowners to list and rent out their properties to guests for short-term stays. The Times newspaper rates it as one of the 50 top travel websites. It allows hosts to list their properties for free and simply decide which dates their place is available. This means hosts can offer homes the days they are out of town. Prices are often very reasonable (our Brighton stay was at the top-end).
Dog-friendly Brighton information link.
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