Tyler’s Two Cents: Thoughts from Behind the Bar is a weekly lifestyle column, written by Tyler Bernadyn, that will appear every week on What’sUpNewp this summer.
In 2010, while I was in my junior year at Providence College, I rescued a Pit bull puppy from an unlicensed dog breeder in the Chad Brown housing projects. They were going to put down the dog because she was the runt of the litter and seemingly useless because of her size. Six and a half years later, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Bella is a healthy and happy dog who loves life in Newport. She has her favorite bars, swimming spots and parks that she enjoys on a regular basis and is surrounded by a warm, welcoming canine community. A significant amount of my friends are proud dog owners as well and I know that anyone with a furry friend can attest to how nice it is to live in a place where dog ownership is encouraged and appreciated.
Last month, Governor Raimondo signed legislation that allows patrons to bring their pups to restaurants with outdoor dining areas across the state. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Charlene Lima (D – Cranston), is a huge win for dog owners and a wonderful opportunity for bars and restaurants to welcome new clientele to their establishments. Even before this progressive pooch bill was introduced, Newport is home to multiple restaurants that allow dogs on their patios. Yesterday, on our day off, Bella and I enjoyed a few cold ones at The Landing, a very popular downtown spot for dogs to bring their owners. Zing! O’Brien’s Pub is known for it’s dog friendly patio and even has a doggy menu so everyone can enjoy a nice lunch while watching children splash around in the fountain and wack one another with their plastic fishing poles. Bella is a big fan of their mudslides as well, as she has successful spilt plenty of them over the past few years while trying to sneak a sip. When she’s trying to be a classy bitch (bitch, noun. 1. a female dog, wolf, fox or otter.), Bella likes people watching and sipping Chardonnay at the Cooke House’s Dog Bar, located right in front of the restaurant on Bannister’s Wharf.
Although Newport does not allow dogs on their beaches from Memorial Day until Labor Day (unless you go super early in the morning or later on in the evening), there are plenty of parks where dogs can frolic or take a quick swim. The huge field near the Eisenhower House at Fort Adams is a favorite of mine for a game of fetch. Bella and her old roommate, Hank the Bloodhound, have spent many days chasing after tennis balls and barking at one another on that plot of grass.
Newport Dog Park, located at 102 Connell Hwy, is an off-leash dog park with plenty of parking and a big fenced in field. The people that frequent this park are very friendly and welcoming. Last week, I watched an older gentleman bring two gallons of water with him to fill the bowls that are located at the park. The Cliff Walk, one of Newport’s staples, is dog friendly and a great way to get your pup some exercise while enjoying scenic coastal views. Ladies, if you’re lucky you may catch a glimpse of Dakota Cowell with his dogs, Ozzie the Bulldog and Gus the Presa Canario, walking along the rocks as it’s one of their favorite spots to take a spin. Don’t fret as they look mean and scary on the outside but in reality they’re just big teddy bears, just like Dakota.
There are plenty of hotels and B&B’s that are pet friendly in town and some great places to pick up presents for the dog lover in your life as well. The Mill Street Inn is a favorite amongst a couple that I’ve befriended from my time at Midtown who bring their dog with them when they travel. Wag Nation, located at 92 William Street, is a great pet boutique for when you’re pup is ready for some new threads or a doggy bed. Food, toys and treats, the place has it all. Even the banks in town are happy to see our furry friends. Elena at Santander always offers Bella a treat while I’m making a deposit, even though she knows my dog is more stubborn than a teenage girl.
Whether I’m taking Bella for a walk downtown or swimming with her at the beach for sunset, I’m reminded of the fact that I live in a place where dog lovers are everywhere. People take so much pride in their pups and everyone is so friendly with others. More importantly, dog owners that live in town are very responsible and prudent. The city does a great job of providing waste bags at local parks for owners to clean up after their dogs and so many businesses around town put out a cold bowl of water for pups to enjoy on a warm summer day. Sure they’re little details, but I can’t think of any other community where you find a bowl outside of so many businesses.
‘The dog days of summer’ is a term that originated from Greek astrology. It occurs during the period that Sirius, the Dog Star, rises at the same time as the sun; often recognized as the time between July and mid-August. Homer even references this time in The Iliad. Put that in your trivia repertoire. With the season fleeting and the dog days of summer upon us, take some time to take your pups for a walk while we still have this unbelievable weather. While on your stroll, keep this article in mind, it’s funny how much more you’ll notice and appreciate the dog details around you.
Tyler Bernadyn is a local hospitality professional, bartending at Midtown Oyster Bar Wednesday through Sunday nights on the Burgee Bar and at Caleb&Broad on Monday nights for their award winning $10 entree dinner special.
Tyler is a graduate of Providence College and a true Rhode Islander, born and bred.
Email him at TylerBernadyn@gmail.com and follow him on Instagram at @tylerbernadyn.