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Dogs Could Soon Get in on the Al Fresco Dining Action

The state legislature is deciding on a bill that would allow dogs at outdoor cafes.

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Any dog that tags along with its owners to an outdoor cafe in New York isn't there legally, but that could change soon. The state Senate passed a bill yesterday that allows dogs to accompany their humans to outdoor cafes. The bill still needs approval in the state Assembly to go into effect, but that doesn't seem far off. Manhattan Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal is already sponsoring it. "People view their dogs and cats as family members. This is going to allow people to go to brunch with their family," she said, according to the Post(Despite the reference to cats, the bill doesn't cover them.)

Dogs are already regulars at a number of outdoor seating areas in the city, but the restaurants currently face fines from the Department of Health for allowing it. A manager at Peacecafe on the Upper West Side explains: "Right now, if someone comes here with a dog, that's maybe an emotional support dog, I'm not even allowed to ask about it....people already can do whatever they want in New York City with their dogs. There's a lot of cloudiness around it, and someone needs to clear it up."

If the bill passes, restaurants will still be allowed to decide if they want to welcome man's best friend, it won't be required. Rosenthal hopes to have the bill passed before the legislature ends next month.