Darling Posetta Baddog RIP was most definitely not a dog who went places. She wasn’t interested in socialising: her main focus was her family, food and tennis balls, and we hung out on Hampstead Heath and in the Regent’s Park.
Not so with Princess Lettice. She’s been out and about all over London, from last week’s screening of Dior & I at The W Hotel to a CHANEL showroom appointment. She wasn’t fazed by the jewels at Van Cleef & Arpels, and took a shine to my agents at Curtis Brown. I could have done without her shouting from my lap at a neighbouring Jack Russell over a meeting at Black’s but, overall, she’s been immaculately behaved.
The thing is: she hates being left out of anything exciting (and by ‘exciting‘ I mean ‘leaving the house‘), and the moment she sees me tie up my laces and turn the lock, she’s off like a streak of ginger, out the front door, and down the stairs, where she waits for me on the doormat. I feel like such a heel picking her up, and taking back upstairs to the flat to wait for my return.
That being said, I don’t really approve of dogs being toted all about town, (being, you know, dogs and not toys or a fashion accessory) and Letty has only really been out with me when Remy is out of the office, I haven’t been able to find a sitter, or my sister has been away. At just 2.5kg, she’s perfectly portable, and easily popped in a capacious handbag, from where she surveys her people from a position of strength.
Soho House, on Greek Street, my usual between meeting hangout is sadly not dog-friendly, so I’ve had to find some places where she’s welcome in town.
Twitter has been very helpful, and the best resource I know is the Doggity App, which I highly recommend. In the meantime, my personal recommendations – where I’ve actually been, as opposed to been told about, are as follows.
And if you have any personal dog friendly favourites, please do let us know in the comments!
Market, in Camden, on Parkway, just a few minutes from the High Street. (Above.) Owner Denise has her own dog, and I eat in there all the time. They serve delicious seasonal, modern British food. A proper restaurant, but one with a laid back feel and brilliant service. Also: very excellent brunch on Sundays. Worth travelling for (every day).
Russell Norman’s Polpo restaurants, in Beak Street (Soho), Covent Garden, Clerkenwell (by Smithfield Market) and Notting Hill accept small dogs – that’s practical, as the restaurants are intimate and large dogs wouldn’t fit between the tables. I could happily eat lunch at Polpo every day of the week: scrumptious, seasonal, Italian-influenced small plates, that won’t break the bank.
Black’s Club in Soho. Not for everyone, as you have to be a member, but a lifesaver if you are, or can persuade a friend to take you. They’ve kindly given me and Lettice a membership, although we’ve already had a very doggy meeting there as guests of other members. It’s a charming 18thC Georgian townhouse (designed by a pupil of Wren) and extremely atmospheric.
Andrew Edmunds in Soho
A Soho institution, and rightly so. Delicious food, low ceilings, very romantic in the evenings, perfect for lovely lunches.
Twitter reminded me last night that the independent department stores in W1, Liberty off Oxford Street and Fenwick’s of Bond Street, both accept dogs of a reasonable size. Liberty have a height guide on their front door – which means large terriers yes, labradors no. Fenwick’s delightful all-day restaurant pitstop on the second floor, Bond & Brooke, also accepts dogs. Selfridge’s will allow dogs-in-arms – carried or in a bag.
London’s most dog friendly hotel must be The Milestone hotel in Kensington, right by Hyde Park, where I stayed with my mother, Billy the Whippet and Lettice last month. They are active dog lovers, and nothing is too much trouble for them. They also do a lovely afternoon tea if you are just popping in (and can bear your woof drooling under the table). And, on a sidenote, their massage therapist, Fiona Keane is possibly the best in London.
(The Lord Palmerston)
Near me in North London there are several great gastropubs around Hampstead Heath, which all welcome furry friends:
The Wells, in Hampstead Village, The Lord Palmerston in Dartmouth Park, The Bull & Last on Parliament Hill, The Red Lion & Sun in Highgate Village.
(Saturday lunch at The Lord Palmerston)
The Spaniard’s Inn on Spaniard’s Lane on the top side of Hampstead Heath is a normal pub with food, and it even has a dog washing facility.
On Parliament Hill Fields itself, at the bottom of Hampstead Heath is an excellent cafe. It looks like an old school canteen, and you do have to queue up with trays, but it serves great pasta, ice cream, breakfasts and coffees, and there is a huge outdoor eating area where dogs are positively encouraged.
It’s not dog friendly inside, but Pizza East at the arse end of Kentish Town has (limited) pavement seating and we’ve often eaten there on sunny days right through the year.
oh, and in case you didn’t know, the Apple stores are dog-friendly. I took Letty with me last week because my appointment was at 1745hrs and I didn’t want to leave her home alone in the dark. I spent over two hours in the Covent Garden one getting my smashed iPhone fixed and everyone was absolutely lovely to her.
Another great Twitter reminder was that my all time favourite independent group of bookstores Daunt’s, with branches in Hampstead, Belsize Park, Marylebone, Chelsea, Cheapside, and Holland Park allow dogs.
The Lord Palmerston. 33 Dartmouth Park Hill, London NW5 1HU. Telephone: 020 7485 1578
The Spaniard’s Inn. Spaniards Road, Hampstead, London NW3 7JJ. Telephone: 020 8731 8406
The Red Lion & Sun. 25 North Road, London N6 4BE. Telephone: 020 8340 1780
The Bull & Last. 168 Highgate Road, London NW5 1QS. Telephone: 020 7267 3641
The Wells. 30 Well Walk, London NW3 1BX. Telephone: 020 7794 3785
Pizza East. 79 Highgate Road, London NW5 1TL. Telephone: 020 3310 2000
Market. 43 Parkway, London NW1 7PN. Telephone: 020 7267 9700
Black’s 67 Dean Street, London W1D 4QH. Telephone: 020 7287 3381
Andrew Edmond’s 46 Lexington Street, London W1F 0LW.