cafes for dogs, dog friendly cafes, London, the dog blog

Benedict’s Coffee – Brockley

On one of the recent beautiful crisp autumnal days that we’ve been enjoying, I decided to take Grenson on a nice long walk. Obviously this walk had to coincide with a coffee / beer stop (it’s work, damn it!), so I decided that we’d head over to Brockley. It had been a long time since I’d reviewed Browns of Brockley (a post that I’ve just re-read and realised that crisp sunny days seem to automatically make me want to walk to Brockley), and so I thought we’d head over there and see what new establishment had popped up. After all, it does seem like new coffee shops/pop up restaurants/bars are constantly shooting up from the Brockley pavement like weeds in spring. A particular hot spot seems to be around the train station; it’s all the overground’s fault, that’s what they say.

Unfortunately for me, after a long walk around Ladywell fields, and at the point where I was approaching Crofton Park railway station, (so still a fair way from my ultimate destination), I was hit with what all lone dog walking adventurers fear most. I was fairly certain that pretty soon I was going to need a wee.

When it is just you and the dog, then needing a wee can be a problem. I’ve only encountered it once before whilst in an establishment, the Gladstone in Borough. Luckily for me the barmaid noticed my uncertainty about whether or not to drag Grenson into the small little facilities with me, and kindly offered to hold him for me whilst I went (yes, I mean the dog, let’s not do that joke again!). If you’re in the countryside then it’s pretty easy for us men to find a secluded tree for the job. Of course, I suppose you ladies could go in the great outdoors too, I’m an equal opportunities wee-er. Going up against a tree does have the capacity to confound Grenson though. Whenever I’ve done it I do feel like I’m kind of treading on his territory – he may see it as a challenge. I suppose looking back, cocking my leg was uncalled for and would have only led to his further confusion.

Anyway, I realised that whilst it was not an emergency, I was never going to make it all the way to Brockley station and back without needing a pit stop.

Luckily, at that very moment I strolled past a little coffee shop, Benedict’s coffee, that I had never noticed before. It was like a mirage. I could get my coffee here and then head back via Hilly Fields, cutting short the journey just enough for me to arrive home when desperation levels would be hitting their highest levels. I stepped inside the little shop before it disappeared.

img_9466

The reason I hadn’t noticed it before is probably because it hasn’t been here long. According to their Facebook page it seems that they only celebrate their 1st birthday on the 8th December. (Happy birthday in advance!).

It was definitely good luck for me that it was now open. Allpress coffee and a Marzocco machine?! A perfect combination. I knew I was in safe hands.

img_9706

Check out the little cactus in a jar!! You should know by now that I’m a sucker for little touches like that. But to be honest I loved the entire design of the shop.

img_9705

img_9708

The little red chair is probably my favourite.

As you can see it’s not just a delicious coffee shop. If you’re looking for Italian dry goods (that if nothing else, just make your kitchen shelves look nice), then this is a great place to come.

Grenson wasn’t quite as impressed as I was with the red chair. He took to standing around looking bored and quizzical about why the hooman had sat down, when clearly more bits of grass needed to be found outside and given a good urgent sniff.

img_9707

Luckily for him, my bladder was in no mood for hanging around either. So I drank up and headed for home. For any of you anxious about the outcome, don’t worry I made it in time. Phew!

So if you’re in the Brockley /Crofton Park area then check out this lovely little surprise of a shop. We’ll definitely be back soon…but next time I’ll make sure that I ‘go’ before I leave!

 

The Man and the Dog.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
Standard
cafes for dogs, dog friendly cafes, London, the dog blog

Heap’s Sausages- Greenwich

Heap’s Sausages is  a shop that specialises in sausages! Handmade, gourmet, sausages! SAUSAGES! I mean, really – why I don’t live in this shop is frankly a mystery.

The fact that I hadn’t been in this shop until recently is nothing short of bizarre!

Heap’s can be found opposite the theatre in Greenwich. It’s just the kind of place that draws in weary travellers on a cold autumn day with succulent aromas of sausage. Just follow your nose. Do not ever walk past this shop without going in! I don’t care if you’re not hungry. I have walked on by in the past and I now regret every instance.

img_9501

I suppose my main mistake had been to assume that it wouldn’t be dog friendly. It is only a small shop, consisting of a few lovely ’50s style bench seats and a well stocked deli counter selling a range of sausages. I had imagined they may have been a little suspect of dogs, after all, dogs and sausages are a combination that are hard to keep apart.

img_9499

However, as I was wrapped up warm this Autumn day, and with ample outside seating available, I thought I might be able to shout out my order from the door and sit outside with Grenson. But to my surprise they welcomed us both in, and even came up trumps with a large bowl of water.

img_9498

This was much needed. We’d spent the morning walking around Greenwich Park. If you’ve never been to Greenwich Park with your pooch then you must do it at your earliest convenience (that equally applies to you even if you don’t have a pooch). It’s such a beautiful wide open space and the views from the top by the observatory are truly special. Grenson absolutely loves it.

img_9402

Heap’s is literally only a few metres from the park entrance, so once you’ve worked off a few calories with a lovely long walk, you can quickly indulge in a well deserved massive sausage.

I went for the ‘Mr Heap’s Hot Dog’, a breakfast jumbo sausage with onion chutney served in a brioche hotdog bun.

img_9500

Boom! Just look at that! You have to love a sausage that is too big to fit its roll. (I’m not even sure if that actually works as smutty innuendo, but that’s not stopping me accompanying the phrase with a Sid James chuckle in my head).

Absolutely delicious. I’ve since had a look at their website and oh my, the breakfasts look awesome. Maybe next time we’ll have to do two circuits of Greenwich Park if we want to avoid the food guilts…

 

The Man and the Dog

 

 

 

 

Standard
cafes for dogs, dog friendly cafes, London, the dog blog

The Archie Parker – Forest Hill

How has it taken me this long to try out The Archie Parker?

What a name! It’s so cool. Surely it has to be homage to a character from a swinging Sixties Michael Caine classic?  But no, it is even better than that, the truth is that the cafe is named in honour of a little guy even cooler than a Caine character…the owners’ Miniature Schnauzer!

A cafe named in honour of a Mini Schnauzer? What have I been playing at?

IMG_7849

The Archie Parker is a lovely quaint cafe with a 60/70s vibe that can be found just a few minutes walk from Forest Hill train station, along Dartmouth Road. Once there it is difficult to miss the influence of Archie, from the shop logo and the blackboard outside…

IMG_7848

…to the pictures adorning the walls.

IMG_7842

But my personal favourite is the little silhouette on the windows.

IMG_7841

That is pretty awesome.

Then as if this wasn’t enough the man himself arrived on a rare fleeting visit to the shop. Unfortunately the excitement was all too much and I failed to get a picture of the momentous meeting of Archie and Grenson. Some things are best left to the imagination…(I know, I’m a fool. Sorry. Maybe next time?).

Anyway, the reason to visit the Archie Parker isn’t limited to Schnauzer appreciation.

It’s a flipping great cafe!

I had a delicious steak ciabatta that Grenson almost sneaked off with whilst I was trying to take a piccie. (Serves me right I suppose, ‘food is for eating not taking pictures of’, so says Grenson).

IMG_7847

Luckily for me it wasn’t long before Grenson was brought out a little snack of his own.

IMG_7839

Wonderful. So there you have it. Full on Schnauzer appreciation, tasty ciabattas, doggy treats and smooth coffee (sourced from Dark Fluid coffee a local roastery, and also supplier of my essential Brockley Market coffee hit on a Saturday morning). If you need more convincing then bear in mind that this place is also stylish enough to get the Lewisham Card and South East London Journal seal of approval.

IMG_7835

Don’t be a fool like me. Get over there ASAP and check it out…and keep your camera nice and handy just in case Archie makes an appearance.

 

The Man and the Dog.

 

 

 

 

Standard
dog friendly pubs, London, pubs for dogs, the dog blog

Westow House – Crystal Palace

Yes, I am aware that many of you have suggested places for us to visit in and around Crystal Palace. Rest assured we do plan to visit them all. However, I think it would be wrong not to start with Westow House. Wrong because basically this is always the first place I go to when I visit the Crystal Palace triangle (for those that don’t know, there is a road system at the heart of Crystal Palace that creates a triangle full of pubs, bars and restaurants … very trendy). The reason it’s the first place I go to may or may not have a lot to do with being desperate for a drink after walking up that hill from the train station!

However, even putting dehydration and exhaustion to one side would still make passing this most inviting looking pub very difficult.

IMG_7895

Out front is a vibrant and constantly buzzing seating area which draws any passing drinkers in like moths to a particularly attractive flame. On a sunny Sunday afternoon like the one we visited, it would be downright rude to walk on by.

Inside can be just as alluring. We were lucky enough to find a fantastic trio playing a selection of  Django Reinhardt covers.

IMG_7891

Once you add to this a varied choice of craft beers, 8 ale pumps, a selection of rotating beers and a Sunday roast menu that included half a roast chicken, and I think you’ll agree that we were in Sunday heaven.

If all of this wasn’t enough, there are two other aspects to this pub that I really love. The first is that it is such a lovely big building. No matter how busy, (and bearing in mind the craft beers, 8 ale pumps, Django Reinhardt, half a chicken etc, it’s safe to say this place can be popular), you’re almost always guaranteed a space. If not in the buzzing large front garden, or the musical front bar, then you can always try the lovely eating area at the back of the pub, complete with leather chesterfields and chandelier. (And the ubiquitous wobbly lampshade to signify that this is indeed an Antic pub – see the East Dulwich Tavern review for in-joke).

IMG_7893

The final thing (and most important in terms of this blog) that I love is its dog friendliness. It’s always great to go to a place that doesn’t forget our canine friends.

IMG_7892

If a table of help-yourself water bowls and treats wasn’t enough to make this pub a favourite for Grenson, then the fact that it is the local of his new mini schnauzer friend Honey sealed the deal. To follow an afternoon in this great pub with a run around Crystal Palace park together (see our Instagram page @manaboutadogblog if you’re interested in live footage of this momentous occasion) made this one of his favourite days.

And just for a change, (as Grenson wasn’t in a posing mood that day) I’ll leave you with a little piccie of her instead.

IMG_7936

A real beaut I think you’ll agree.

The Man and the Dog.

 

 

 

Standard
dog friendly pubs, dog friendly restaurants, London, pubs for dogs, the dog blog

Model Market – Lewisham

Model Market is the biggest thing to happen to Lewisham since … well … since ever really!

Now in its third year, the novelty of having such a fantastic event on our doorstep has still not worn off for En Brogue and I. And this year we get to introduce Grenson to the market vibe. For praise be, it’s dog friendly! Whoop!

IMG_7548

It’s run by the guys at Street Feast so if you’ve been to their Dalston Yard, Dinerama or Hawker House sites, then you’ll know what to expect from Model Market – tasty beers, super tasty cocktails and super super tasty food from the various street food vendors filling the stalls around the market. All of this is served up in an atmosphere of pure cool (I know. There is that word again! – see YDBMF post for in-joke details).

IMG_7551

What makes Model Market a particular favourite of mine is the fact that it is situated in an old abandoned 1950s market. I love that you can still see the old signs for electronics stalls or hairdressers alongside the modern signs advertising the street food on offer. It’s nice to be able to see a bit of the venue’s history, rather than having it all ripped out and the whole place sanitised. It also makes you feel very much like this is an organic event that has sprung up from the weeds to transform this previously abandoned and unloved site.

IMG_7556

I’m also pretty partial to the fact that it is just down the road from my house!

IMG_7553

The temporary nature of the whole experience is also enhanced by the fact that it doesn’t hang around for long. It’s open Fridays and Saturdays, 5pm to 1am (£3 after 7pm but free beforehand) for the few short months of the British summer time. It washes in like the tide, blooms for the summer and then is extinguished in time for winter (I’m throwing in mixed metaphors now for fun – see YDBMF post for in-joke details).

IMG_7554

The only problem with a visit to Model Market is that you may well find it very difficult to decide which one of the amazing aromas to follow to find your dinner. The choice can be overwhelming! You may find that you have to keep going back for more. After all, it’s only fair that you spread the love. Last night, after much deliberation (and libation) En Brogue and I opted for some burger action from Mother Flipper .

IMG_7547

Holy Moly! By rights you should really have a shower after eating the candy bacon, it’s so damned deliciously filthy!

As for Grenson, what did he think of his first visit to Model Market? Well lets just say that during his time there he had approximately 15,678 attractive young ladies (and men for that matter) come over to him and give him a cuddle! One of his favourite nights ever I think.

IMG_7549

We’ll be back again soon.

The Man and the Dog.

 

 

Standard
cafes for dogs, dog friendly cafes, London, the dog blog

You Don’t Bring Me Flowers – Hither Green

You Don’t Bring Me Flowers is THE original Hither Green coffee shop.

When Hannah (En Brogue) and I first moved to Hither Green back in the summer of 1860 (or the mid noughties) there was literally nothing here. And when I say ‘literally’ I obviously don’t literally mean literally, there were of course houses, shops and a few pubs, but there was nothing at all that was cool, (not even tepid!). No Arlo and Moe. No Archibalds. The Lord Northbrook was just a twinkle in the landlord’s eye, and The Station was still the type of pub that you had to drink in whilst constantly moving around, otherwise there was a real fear that you’d end up sticking to the carpet.

Yet one shop shone out like a beacon, blazing a trail and lighting the way (yes, I’m aware that my metaphors are getting confused, and that they may well actually be similes anyway…bothered), calling out to all these fine establishments and bringing them over to the wilderness of SE13. And that shop was You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, or YDBMF for those in a rush.

IMG_5704

This small little retro beauty was the place that we took every one of our friends who came to visit. Yes, we’d moved to Hither Green (a place that it seemed that no one in the whole of London had ever heard of), but it was still a nice place, and YDBMF was the proof.

Luckily for us it turned out that our one and only cool shop happened to be the most ‘on-trend’ little retro coffee shop that you’re ever likely to find, and all before little retro coffee shops where anywhere near a trend let alone ‘on’ it.

IMG_5700

I mean! Study the picture above for a second. They’re playing Lou Reed on a vintage record player that’s sitting on top of the coolest blue vintage fridge. Look at the tables and chairs! They’re selling cool dead rock star tea towels. They’ve got some kind of green flowery thing hanging on the wall too, which I’ve no idea what it is but I bet it’s cool. And look at the flowers.

YDBMF isn’t just satisfied with being a brilliant coffee shop, it’s also a brilliant flower shop too.

IMG_5703

En Brogue has, on rare occasions, received a bunch of flowers from here, and every time she claims they are the nicest she’s ever had. (Note to self: I must treat her more often if I want to gain good husband points).

What I mainly go there for though, is the coffee. The retro theme extends to the coffee machine. A big, manual pump beast of a 1960s Gaggia. It always seems like the girls making the coffee are having to wrestle with this machine, and at points are having to put life and limb on the line to get it to give up its caffeine nectar. But I can assure them that the sacrifice is worth it.

IMG_7433

A lovely smooth coffee is produced that I generally like to accompany with a ham and chutney sandwich. Delicious.

Grenson certainly seemed to think so as he could barely resist it himself!

IMG_7434

If you’re not in a sandwich mood then fear not. There are plenty of delicious sweet things on offer too.

IMG_5702

So if you are one of those people who still haven’t heard of Hither Green (frankly what have you been doing? It’s in the ‘Shard Corridor’ darling, it’s well trendy now), then may I suggest a short train journey and a visit to the coolest little coffee / flower shop you’re ever likely to find.

N.B. Yes I’m aware that during the course of this post I have used the word ‘cool’ far too often. I am also aware that there is probably a much cooler word, that the cool kids use nowadays, and that saying cool isn’t actually that cool anymore. Well quite frankly I don’t care. This place is just too damned cool.

IMG_7431

We love it, and I’m sure you would too.

Cool.

The Man and the Dog.

 

 

 

Standard
cafes for dogs, dog friendly cafes, London

Browns of Brockley

Tuesday was such a beautiful day in London that I decided that Grenson was due a nice long walk. First off we hit Ladywell Fields, which was being thoroughly enjoyed by a gaggle of mothers and babies, joggers, tennis players and dog walkers. (It’s also home to the 10,000 Hands cafe, as previously recommended on this blog)

We then headed up to Hilly Fields. Again, we found a park teeming with young families, exercisers (human and canine), and people just soaking up the spring sunshine. There is nothing like immersing yourself in the simple beauty of a city enjoying good weather to make you feel better about life. The news may show that there is evil out there, bent on destroying freedoms, but the majority of people in this world just want to spend time happily together enjoying a day in the park.

Feeling reassured about the human race, I carried on to my ultimate destination, Browns of Brockley.

IMG_6714

I had planned on lunch, as I have experienced their wonderful bagels in the past. Unfortunately, I managed to arrive bang on rush hour. It is quite a small space, so if you are lucky enough to visit when a table is free then I suggest you grab it and make the most of the experience. Despite there being no room at the inn, with quality Square Mile Red Brick coffee on offer (and after the long walk, with a return journey still to come), a takeaway was most definitely in order.

As we only spent a few minutes in there whilst waiting for my takeout, I began to worry whilst writing this that they may not have actually been a doggy friendly place. After all, as mentioned, it’s not a huge space inside, and a pack of dogs and small spaces arent always a great mix. Thinking back I tried to piece together a few clues on its dog suitability. First up was the art work on the walls.

IMG_6715

I figured that any place with a poster dedicated to pooches on its wall must be quite friendly to dogs.

My second clue was the fact that they provided me with water in a take away cup for Grenson. Again, any establishment that provides water for your dog is generally pretty friendly. This was also great for LOLs, as passers by would only have seen me coming out of a coffee shop then lifting a coffee cup to Grenson’s mouth. If they didn’t already judge him as a hipster dog then the image of him seemingly drinking a Red Brick flat white would have cemented his reputation.

Finally, upon closer inspection of the coffee cups I noticed my final clue as to the dog friendly credentials of Browns of Brockley.

IMG_6717

I’m guessing that having a dog on your logo is a surefire sign that you are fairly welcoming to dogs?

Of course, I could have just asked … If I had I would have found out that the logo model is a little superstar called Ludd the pug and belongs to the owner Ross Brown. One look at their Instagram and it’s clear this place doesn’t just welcome pups, they love them!

I still think guessing was more fun though.

So in summary, when the sun puts its hat on again and you’re feeling a bit down from world events, head out for some park life and make sure you get a coffee from this super cool little place. You won’t regret it … And if you don’t take my word on the quality of their brew, then just ask Grenson!

IMG_6718

(n.b. I’m not sure what the shadow is in this picture. I presume it’s not my head. Unless I’ve turned into an alien?).

The Man and the Dog.

 

 

 

 

Standard