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Ciara Benko’s Favorite Dog-Friendly NYC Spots

The plant-obsessed influencer shares her favorite places to hang out with her pup in the big city.

by Sio Hornbuckle
August 1, 2022
Ciara Benko
Ciara Benko / The Wildest

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For New York City pet parents, raising a dog comes with a unique set of challenges and advantages. Luckily, when it comes to making the most of the big city, Ciara Benko’s got us covered. The plant stylist’s apartment is dubbed “The Jungle Upstairs” for its lush flora, and her multi-platform content creation empowers others to embrace interior greenery. Given her knack for expanding the definition of city living, it’s no surprise that Benko and her rescue dog, Louie, are pros at getting the best out of NYC dog life. Below, some of Benko and Louie’s favorite spots.

1. Tom & Jerry’s (NoHo)

“Friendly neighborhood bar; a cash-only spot that is super cozy and super dog-friendly! Louie always makes a lot of friends when we go for an afternoon beer.”

2. Book Club (East Village)

“One of our absolute favorite spots to head over and read a book, do a crossword puzzle, and hang out together with Louie over a glass of rosé or a cup of coffee. There’s a great outdoor patio in the front as well as a magical backyard with chairs and picnic tables.”

3. Boris and Horton  (East Village)

“A pup cafe where you can let your dogs roam while you sip a cup of joe and get a little work done — and Louie is officially addicted to their puppy ice cream.”

4. Love Thy Beast (East Village)

“Super cute little pet shop on 5th Street in the East Village — when we’re feeling fancy, we love to swing by and pick up a cute toy for Louie (or a bow tie for his birthday!).”

5. Elizabeth Street Garden (Nolita)

“This sculpture garden is a secret little green space nestled in the streets of Nolita. Swing by with your pup during the day for a breath of fresh air, and lay out with a book for a relaxing afternoon in this cultural oasis.”

Other Dog-Friendly Spots in NYC

Central Park (Central Park)

“Off-leash hours are from 6:00 am–9:00 am. The most spacious place in all of NYC to let the pups roam free (for free!).”

Black Lab Cafe (Upper West Side)

“One of NYC’s first off-leash dog cafes! The owners created a space where people could enjoy the company of their pups over an expertly prepared coffee or a casual glass of wine.” 

Take the NYC Ferry to Domino Dog Park (Williamsburg)

“There’s nothing better than taking the ferry on a hot summer day across to Brooklyn and spending the afternoon at Domino Park — they’ve got a great little dog run and Louie doesn’t stop smiling the whole time!” 

Soho Grand (Soho)

“A sexy downtown spot that makes a mean dirty martini and is surprisingly dog-friendly.”  

d.b.a. (East Village)

“A great spot for craft beer, this grungy dive bar essentially becomes an indoor dog park. It’s just a few blocks from our apartment, and Molly and I love heading over to play cards, have a few beers, and let Louie roam around with a crop of new pup friends.”

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Sio Hornbuckle

Sio Hornbuckle is a writer living in New York City with their cat, Toni Collette.