A cool place for dog watching
Southbank dogs are superior creatures and their owners are keen to see their urbane style recognised.
Vader prefers a coffee stool to a dog park, and he likes to feel accepted in his neighbourhood.
Yet Bear Brass, according to Vader’s owner, is the only nearby restaurant with a welcome dog sign outside.
“He likes to hang out with me,” Yvonne Luk said. “He’s not that keen on other dogs. He runs away if the other dog is full-on.”
Yvonne usually takes him down to South Wharf where the cafes are dog friendly for a pizza and cocktail, or to South Melbourne where he even attends a gym.
“He finds the dog park under the freeway smelly,” she said. “He’s more like a kid.”
Yvonne is one of an increasing number of Southbankers who regard their dogs as their closest relative and want this accepted. “There should be more places they can take their dog to dinner.”
Assistant manager Ross Edler at Bear Brass confirms that they are the only establishment on Southbank Promenade to fete dogs.
“It works really well for us,” he said. “They’re better behaved than children. Sometimes we have four or five in at once. We treat them as another customer and don’t discriminate between big and small.”
He said the restaurant had a casual approach to dining and lets dogs into the covered terrace where many like to sit on wooden benches.
Victoria’s Food Standards Code permits businesses to let dogs into outdoor areas that are not used for food preparation but, according to Yvonne, even when there were outdoor dining areas along the river post-COVID she and Vader were “told off”.
Ross says that in Scotland there is a special Dogs & Pubs logo used in promotions to tell consumers dogs are welcome in the beer garden and he’d like to see something similar here.
Owners admit they are willing to change their lives to suit their pets, yet this potential economic force has not been tapped.
One owner told Southbank News that her husband refuses to dine at a place unless their Havanese is allowed as well. They eat regularly at Asada because Capsule can come as well.
For urban dogs, trained to fill in their time in apartments, watching TV, Southbank is blessed with plenty of open space.
Capsule’s owner takes it on a two-hour walk to the Botanic Gardens every day and drops in at 30 ML behind 1 Southbank Boulevard for a takeaway coffee because dogs can enter as well.
These owners are not looking for doggy gimmicks but for the desires of their dogs to be human acknowledged. •
Captions: Vader takes a coffee break at Freshwater Place, and dog friendly manager Ross Edler at Bear Brass.