Ernie can often be found sniffing out the best dog-friendly places in our home town of Southend-on-Sea. Here are a few of our favourites in and around the Essex seaside town:
The Exchange, Southchurch Road, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 2PW (01702 447070): Our local watering hole. Dogs are allowed in the bar and on the outside decking but not the raised restaurant area – although I would definitely recommend trying the food here! Water bowls are provided and the friendly staff are always pleased to see well-behaved pups pop in for a pint.
Utopia Coffee Lounge, Unit 2, The Royals, High Street, Southend-on-Sea (07788 717563): This quirky coffee shop is THE place to go in Southend for a cuppa and enormous portions of homemade cake. The staff welcome dogs (we always go for a table upstairs) and humans will love the retro decor, too. Think mismatched furniture, crocheted throws and an eclectic choice of books. Our favourite.
Mawson’s, 781 Southchurch Road, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 2PP (01702 601781): If real ale is your thing, head to Mawson’s – Southend’s first micropub where dogs are welcomed with open arms. The pub is linked to George’s Brewery in Great Wakering and always has at least eight cask ales on offer, as well as artisan brews, craft ciders and bottled beer.
Clifford’s Barber Shop, Southchurch Road, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 2PU (01702 463932): Guys, do you need your hair cut or beard trimmed? Head to Clifford’s for a bit of a manly pamper. Owner Nickiey is super dog-friendly and even has a stash of Bonios tucked away as a treat for visiting pups. Resident doggo Stella loves making new four-legged friends, too, and is always up for a play.
Sara’s Tea Garden, 64 High Street, Leigh-on-Sea, SS9 2EP (01702 477315): Set among the cobbled streets of Old Leigh, this traditional tea garden loves dogs. Pick up a Doggy Loyalty Card to redeem stamps for sausages or snap a picture of your pup and upload it to the cafe’s Doggy Gallery for the chance to win a monthly dog goody bag and a slice of cake and drink for you. Ernie’s on there (of course) – can you find him?
Ye Olde Smack, 7 High Street, Leigh-on-Sea, SS9 2EN (01702 476765): Humans are almost outnumbered by dogs at this pub. In fact, if you drink in here and don’t have a four-legged friend in tow, you’ll look seriously out of place. Dogs are everywhere at “the Smack”, especially at weekends. Bag an outdoor table overlooking the River Thames if you can.
ATTIC, 48 Eastern Esplanade, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 2ES (01702 468321): This nautical-themed tea room is right on the seafront, but in the quieter part of Southend, past the arcades and attractions. Staffed by people with special needs, the cafe’s name is an abbreviation of “All The Tea In China” but they do a mean coffee too (and lovely, locally-sourced breakfasts). Dogs are very welcome – as long as they get on with resident dachshund diva, Miss Bassey!
The Castle Inn, 181 Little Wakering Road, Little Wakering, SS3 0JW (01702 216521): Recently refurbished, this traditional village pub allows dogs in the bar area and snug, but not in the main restaurant. The Castle serves pub classics such as liver and bacon and steak and ale pie and there’s also a decent beer garden, where you’ll find the Dough Boys cooking up fresh wood-fired pizza.