Reading is the perfect paw-friendly town for a long and muddy dog walk. After walking the length of the Thames or through Forbury Gardens, you’ll need a pup-friendly pitstop to quench yours and your dog’s thirst. Luckily, Reading is a hotbed of dog-friendly pubs and restaurants who don’t just allow dogs, but who treat them like esteemed guests. In this guide we’ve pulled out five of Reading’s top dog-friendly spots dotted through the historic town’s centre.
1. The Fox & Hounds
The Fox & Hounds was voted the top Reading pub by a mile in the DogBuddy Dog-Friendly Pub Awards. And it’s no wonder – top-quality service is offered to customers, both human and the canines alike, which is probably why so many punters arrive with their furry friends in tow. Pups can expect water, treats and even a nibble or two from the kitchen. After a stroll in nearby Hosehill Lake Nature Reserve you’ll get a towel or soapy bucket of water to get Fido scrubbed up. As well as drying off indoors with your dog you can also make use of the enclosed garden, which is perfect for a post-lunch run around. It isn’t just a dog pub either, people are spoiled with a country-classic menu of real ales and crispy pork scratchings with apple sauce. There’s a large secure car park for any fur kids coming in from afar. Handy if you’ve travelled to catch one of the pub’s highlights – their regular dog shows in aid of Newbury’s Dog Trust. There are rosettes and belly rubs for the winner, but your dog needn’t worry, there are plenty of belly rubs to go round at The Fox & Hounds!
2. Alto Lounge
Reading’s trendy cafe-bar Alto Lounge is worth going out of your way for. Dog-delights include treats, water bowls and cuddles from the manager. There are bonio biscuits to help your pooch re-energise after a long walk and both you and your dog will soon be on first name terms with the friendly staff team. Alto Lounge’s quiet ambience makes it ideal for the more precious pup and for their owners, the menu spans from burgers, to paninis and tapas. Set in scenic Caversham, you can walk along the river opposite Reading then call into the Alto for great food, a drink or just a coffee. Careful though, as you may find your dog making their way back there without you.
3. The Jolly Anglers
The Jolly Anglers is known as one of the best dog parties in Reading. The resident black Lab will always welcome you and your furry friend, dogs are allowed in the bar area, the beer garden and out the front. Overlook the canal while the staff bring your water bowls and treats, you’ll especially love their doggy-themed glasses. If your dog likes a bow-wow, Monday is music night and at the weekend they’re famous for their delectable Sunday roasts. Parking is restricted but The Jolly Anglers is a short walk from Reading city centre and set on the towpath of the Kennet and Avon Canal, so perfect for wandering in by foot.
4. The Volunteer
Stop-off at The Volunteer in Theale where a bite to eat has never been more delicious with your dog at your side! You’ll be instantly at home, greeted by a large open fire and an even warmer welcome from pub staff. On sunny days, go alfresco as the pub has one of the best spacious gardens in Reading for outdoor dining and as a bonus, your dog can run around off lead while you eat. Your dog will be pulling to get out of the double doors and onto the patio, hoping for a scrap or two from the huge portions of locally sourced produce. Fantastic real ales to whet your whistle, while your dog can enjoy the freshest of water and free doggy treats from behind the bar. Dogs aren’t just welcome, they are positively celebrated which will certainly ensure The Volunteer passes your furry friend’s sniff-test. The pub’s paw-fect surroundings include Englefield Park and the River Kennet, both hound hotspots for a pre-lunch walk, run or dip.
5. The Red Lion
The Red Lion is a rustic-chic country pub in Upper Basildon that welcomes owners and their dogs into its cosy interior. Ensconce yourself indoors near the wood-burning stove and sinkable sofas, or grab your pup’s lead and head out into the leafy garden, which is fully enclosed so you can relax on one of the sturdy picnic-sets while your dog enjoys a good sniff. Dog policy at The Red Lion is free range and there are two pooches in residence. Introduce your dog to the gentlemanly Labrador and aristocratic Bulldog while staff pop down a bowl of water. Favourite walkies spots nearby include Beale Park and the smaller Bowden Playing Fields. The pub is welly-friendly too, so don’t worry about getting muddy. If you’re planning a weekend visit it’s worth booking a table as it can get extremely busy.
Reading may be the biggest town in England but when you’re in the know, it’s not hard to sniff-out the best dog-friendly spots. Whether you’re a student, resident or just visiting, you and your dog can both enjoy a perfect day out. Take a dip in the canal, wander the town centre streets or slurp your drinks in a beer garden; a dog’s day out is plenty of fun in this town. Talk to us about your last dog-friendly visit in the comments below.