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 plenty of Reading’s top dog-friendly spots dotted through the historic town centre from the past two years of the Dog-friendly Pub Awards. As you’ll see, there’s plenty to paw-se by for a visit!
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. 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.
3. 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.
4. Broad Street Tavern
In the heart of Wokingham lies Broad Street Tavern, a friendly local pub where bringing your dog is actively encouraged. Small and large breeds are welcome here (two friendly Rottweilers make up the local pack) and staff will always offer a water bowl on arrival. There’s a good amount of space around the tables where owners can eat inside with their pooches.
While you tuck into a pub-grub classic like fish and chips or a bacon and cheese burger, your dog can dine alongside as staff always keep a few adult and puppy dog food packs ready for hungry hounds to devour. The outside area has plenty of shade for summer and heated areas for winter, just pop your dog on the lead to respect pet etiquette. If you’re looking to enjoy a post-pub walk, Cantley Park is a five-minute drive or twenty-minute walk away.
5. The Reformation
Food takes centre stage at The Reformation, or “The Ref” as it’s affectionately known by the locals. A cottage-style country pub set in the village of Gallowstree Common, surrounded by green and dog-walking woods as far as the eye can see. It’s no wonder then, that dogs and their owners love stopping-off at this hound-friendly haunt. On arrival, dogs are treated to an iced water bowl and some doggy treats. Once they’ve been washed down, owners are welcome to plot up inside with their pooches and relax by the log fire.
On sunny days, nab a spot in the beer garden where’s there’s always a furry friend to shake a paw with, plus a BBQ and children’s play area to keep the entire family entertained. Meat lovers will enjoy tucking into the steak burger and meals like soft-shell crab and roasted pork belly.
6. The Fox and Hounds Beer House
The Fox and Hounds Beer House is a perfect pitstop after a walk along the Thames in Reading, or a play over Christchurch Meadows. It’s dog-friendly so pop in with your pooch where they’ll receive a warm welcome from staff and the many local dogs who make a visit. Dogs can sit alongside their humans in the bar area, or outside where all manner of humans and pooches can be found relaxing in the spacious beer garden or under the cooling canopy. The food offering includes stone-baked pizzas and Sunday roasts washed down with real ale and cider. The bar does get busy so book a table early to ensure enough room for your pooch to relax in.
7. 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.
8. 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.