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Dog-friendly restaurants in Cape Town report an increase in furry-customer numbers, with some of them now offering menu items for dogs

Michael Chandler & Pogo.

Michael Chandler & Pogo.

Published Apr 6, 2022


CAPE TOWN - Every morning, Pogo trots alongside Michael Chandler from their Cape Town City Bowl home to their shop in Church Street. The miniature Schnauzer bounces into Chandler House happily, greets everyone, and then makes himself comfortable by the counter, waggling his luscious eyebrows as he keeps an eye on business.

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Pogo is the ultimate poster boy for the modern Cape Town city dog. He came to live in the CBD just after the first lockdown, when Chandler was marooned in his Bree Street flat and provided his owner with the joy and distraction, so many people craved during the worst of 2020. Now, although Chandler has moved to the Bo-Kaap, Pogo is a pure city dog, accompanying his owner everywhere, from home to work and all the stops in between.

Cape Town’s CBD, meanwhile, has proven itself to be a poster city for the modern dog. Dog ownership increased all over the world during the pandemic, and Cape Town was no exception.

The owners of dog-friendly restaurants in the city report an increase in furry-customer numbers, with some of them now offering menu items for dogs.

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Chandler believes that Cape Town has always been a pet-centred city, but it has become even more welcoming in the past two years.

“I think people are gentler now and sympathetic to others’ needs and feelings.”

Debbie Wynne, owner of Café Frank in Bree Street - which provides water bowls and homemade dog biscuits, shade in the heat and blankets in the cold - says the decision to make her restaurant dog friendly was because she loves dogs “and there are plenty others like me who want their dogs to go everywhere with them”.

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Judi Fourie, owner of Pilcrow & Cleaver on Parliament Street, says she’s been pet friendly since day one because “a pet is part of the family”. She says some people come every weekend with their dogs.

Judi Fourie, owner of Pilcrow & Cleaver on Parliament Street says she’s been pet friendly “since day one” because “a pet is part of the family”

Butter All Day’s Aninka van Antwerpen agrees: “Pets are family. It’s as simple as that. We love our doggo customers, and they love us.”

Nura Suleiman’s life has been very city-focused, living on the corner of Adderley and Darling Streets and working in Spin Street. “It’s a very pedestrian life, and I’ve definitely seen an increase in dogs in the city.”

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Pepper is a high-energy ten-month-old mixed breed who gets walked mornings and evenings, and Nura says she’s felt blessed to have a dog in the city.

“I’ve met so many great people. We go to a lot of restaurants, and with the parks all around and the mountain, I’d say it’s a ten out of ten for having a dog in the city.”

Chandler agreed. When a business provides a water bowl for your dog without you asking, you immediately feel a connection, he said. Clarke’s and Between Us are two of his favourite haunts because of their hospitality towards Pogo. And the Company’s Garden is “a great place to take a pooch for a scooch”.

Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) chief executive Tasso Evangelinos said the move to a pet-friendly CBD shows that city centre entrepreneurs are resilient and agile and able to adjust to trends to ensure their businesses not only survive but thrive.

When the pandemic struck, Flux Trends reported the global pet economy blossomed, with premium food, luxury services, state-of-the-art healthcare and insurance the order of the day, driven by the “humanisation of pets or pet parenting”.

“These fur babies have transitioned from pets to companions who provide emotional support and are regarded as members of the family … creating the opportunity for tremendous business opportunities.”

From a 2021 survey, Mediamarket reports that around half of pet owners spent between R100 and R500 a month on pet accessories, while another 30% spend between R500 and R1 500 every month on accessories. Some even spend up to R2 000 a month.

To view the CCID’s list detailing where furry locals can eat, play and stay, visit:

Cape Times

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