The Department of Health is getting bitchy when it comes to dogs in bars in Brooklyn. Between July 2010 and July 2011 the department wrote 125 tickets for "live animal violations" in the borough (there were 470 such violations citywide). "Two years ago no one cared because Brooklyn was so chill," one Brooklyn bar owner told us. "But now because Manhattan sucks so bad, everyone is coming here, and everyone has to be as unhappy as them."
At issue is the fact city law forbids animals (besides fish and service dogs) from being present in places that serve food and drink. Which makes the fact that many places have made a niche for themselves by being dog friendly all the more troublesome for business owners. Especially since many dog owners don't seem to be aware of the law!
"A lot of people believe we can get a special permit to allow dogs in the bar," the same owner told us. "But they don't understand there is no way to legally let dogs in a bar. Bars are stuck with this fucking Health Department that is just destroying everything. Inspectors are spending three-and-a-half hours on a 900 foot bar without even a kitchen. Rye just got slammed, the Turkey's Nest just got reamed. Every time the Health Department walks in, it's $3-$4,000."
The problem for many owners is that the fines are on a sliding scale, so "the first time it's a couple hundred bucks, but if they catch you again the fines go up." Still, not all bar owners are willing to give up on their four-legged friends. "We’ll take the risk," one of the owners of Park Slope bar Pacific Standard told the Brooklyn Paper. "It’s something we value."
Speaking of dog-friendly bars, a gastropub the Growler which just opened on Stone Street says that dogs are more than welcome to come and enjoy a "slurp from a hygienic communal water bowl" but that they won't be letting them inside...for now.