Kirkland's Dog Days of Summer

Canines get VIP treatment in a a lakefront restaurant district.

Come summer, no pastime is more enjoyable than soaking up the rays while slurping down a mojito or six. But in Seattle, dog owners are often forced to choose between abandoning their pet or their social life.

Kirkland doesn't make you choose. Its downtown waterfront boasts several bars and restaurants that not only allow pets, but dote on them. Here are half a dozen:

The Slip (80 Kirkland Ave., 425-739-0033). The sign outside this Kirkland institution reads: "Must enjoy Kirkland sunsets, beachfront frolicking, dogs, margaritas, and awesome burgers." And the folks running the place adhere strictly to these rules, hosting as many golden retrievers as college kids on both their ground and upper-level patios, located mere steps from Lake Washington. Bonus: Well drinks are $2 (!) from 3–6 p.m. daily.

Beach Cafe (1170 Carillon Point, 425-889-0303). This waterfront bar not only hosts happy hour twice a day, but an event called Yappier Hour (5–7 p.m. every Wednesday through September) that caters specifically to pet owners and encourages them to show off their canine companions and socialize with fellow dog lovers over drinks. A word of caution: Avoid wearing white, as you never know when an overexcited dog will knock over a glass of red wine.

Olive You (89 Kirkland Ave., 425-250-1555). On a pleasant afternoon, expect to wait at least 15 minutes for outdoor seating at this charming restaurant. But it's well worth it: Olive You serves Mediterranean-inspired plates and generous wine pours. Its atmosphere is ideal for sitting back and relaxing for hours on end. And if your dog becomes restless, you can easily persuade him to behave by sharing your gyro.

Cactus (121 Park Lane, 425-893-9799). On the surface, this cantina might seem like a terrible place for a dog: a tiny patio on a sidewalk with an enormous amount of foot traffic. On the contrary: Your dog will have a blast soaking up attention as everybody and their mother stops to ask his name, breed, and if they can pet him. Just make sure your answers don't get too long-winded after a couple of margaritas.

Hector's (112 Lake St. S., 425-827-4811). This beloved neighborhood establishment has been serving gussied-up variations on comfort food and stiff drinks since 1975. But what makes it really awesome is that the unpretentious staff will take your order for a croque-madame and a Bloody Mary at 2 p.m., followed by your request for a side of bacon for your dog, without ever rolling their eyes. In fact, it's more than likely you'll be asked if Pinky wants a bowl of water, too.

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