Home Food + DrinkBars Can I Bring My Dog Inside Your Business? Here’s What to Know in NJ

Can I Bring My Dog Inside Your Business? Here’s What to Know in NJ

by Stephanie Spear
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Nice summer weather is here and it’s understandable that locals would want to mix up the usual dog-walk route by picking up an iced coffee at a favorite coffee shop or stopping in for a quick bite at a cafe. After all, there are few things better than an outing with your best friend — but it can be challenging to know the official rules when it comes to bringing your dog to Hoboken or Jersey City restaurants and businesses. The Hoboken Girl took a look at the laws that govern dogs going into retail food service establishments. Read on to learn more about the rules restaurants must follow when it comes to being dog-friendly.

new jersey restaurants dog rules

By the Books

The regulations examined here govern pets. An animal that has been designated as an emotional support or medical alert companion has a different set of rules. An official designation with proof is required for those animals.

Read More: Rescue Dogs Of Hoboken + Jersey City: Our Readers Share their Furry Friends

When it comes to retail food-serving establishments, dogs (and all other animals) are not permitted inside the venue. This is a New Jersey state law that offers few exceptions, none of which would permit a sunny afternoon with Fido at your favorite ice cream shop.  The law falls under the health and safety regulations governing food sanitation in retail food-serving establishments. That means that should an inspection take place at the food-serving retail establishment while a dog is somewhere it shouldn’t be, the establishment would get penalized. The penalties range from monetary fines to a suspension or termination of the operator’s license.

What Does the Hoboken Health Department Say?

The Hoboken Girl reached out to the Hoboken Health Department to learn more. A spokesperson said, “The Hoboken Health Department enforces New Jersey State Law regulating pets in dining establishments while of course allowing service and emotional support animals as per state code.”

In 2020, a law was proposed in the State Senate with the goal of “permit[ting] dogs in outdoor seating areas of restaurants under certain circumstances; codifies current requirements concerning live animals in food establishments.” Chloe’s Pet Access Law passed in the Senate in 2020 and as of January 2022, it’s pending in the Assembly Agriculture and Food Security Committee. If passed, the law would expand the circumstances under which a dog is allowed at an establishment that serves food.

See More: A Guide to Dog-Friendly Beaches in New Jersey

Local Choices That Allow Dogs

Even if your four-legged pal can’t come inside a restaurant or bar, there are plenty of patios, parks, and other areas where you can bring your dog. Individual bar and restaurant owners have the option to permit dogs on the patio or in certain areas. The same applies to retail establishments like a bookstore or clothing shop: if food is not being served, then it’s up to the owner.

There are several dog-friendly bars in Hoboken, including Tally-Ho, which hosts a Yappy Hour every Saturday as a fundraiser for the Liberty Humane Society. The event’s tagline is, “Dogs Welcome, Humans Tolerated,” and it runs from 2PM to 6PM. Drink specials include $15 draft pitchers and $7 mimosas, with $1 from every draft pitcher going to the Liberty Humane Society. Ale House and Schmitty’s are also very dog-friendly options — but grab the full list of bars here.

Many retail spots in Hoboken are also dog-friendly, including clothing retailer a X d, which has a private backyard for your pup to enjoy, and Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse, which has dog life jackets so your pup can join you for an outing on the Hudson.

Several Hoboken spots even have dog-specific menu items – to be enjoyed on the patio or sidewalk, of course. A local favorite is the food truck Amanda Banana’s take on a pup cup: dairy-free dog ice cream topped with treats.

Debunking a Recent Hoboken Rumor

Recently, The Ale House (located at 1034 Willow Avenue) tweeted that there was a rumor claiming the City of Hoboken was going to stop allowing dogs in all bars, even ones that aren’t food-serving establishments.

The Hoboken Girl spoke with City Spokesperson Marilyn Baer to see if these rumors were true. Marilyn confirmed that this was, in fact, a myth — and that non-food-serving businesses in Hoboken can continue to allow dogs as they please.

“Any establishment that is not serving food is welcome to have dogs in the establishment,” Marilyn told HG.

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