Lucky Vacation Spots (for your dog): In Pittsburgh, everything is Aces (and, Tipsy)

The patio was great.

Rusty’s rating — 8 on a scale of 1-10 (but really, incomplete). 

Pittsburgh is HOT.  It’s Silicon Valley East for some folks.  It’s the home of self-driving cars, still-within-reach real estate, and a rapidly expanding foodie population.  And what happens when you get an influx of young techies in a city? You get an influx of dog-friendly haunts.  Even fancy hotels that are dog-friendly.  So welcome, Pittsburgh, to my Lucky Vacation Spots series.

(What is this series? Click here.)

When Rusty and I set out on our cross-country trip this year, the home of Carnegie Mellon, Google, Facebook, Uber, and those darn Penguins was my first stop.  Thanks to happy hour plans with friend and preeminent privacy researcher Alessandro Acquisti, I landed first in the Shadyside neighborhood.  It’s a hip, easy-going area packed with coffee shops, bars, and restaurants. Our coffee stops were easy enough, but I must warn you that a couple of spots turned away Rusty.

He made a little friend

Then I found Tipsy Cow. It had a large front patio where dogs were very welcome, and they knew it.  Rusty had made a half-dozen canine pals before the night was over.  One great Tipsy Cow feature: the front “wall” opens completely, garage-door style, so even though dogs are only allowed outside, we *felt* like we were inside.  Wait staff were really friendly and welcoming to both of us, bringing over water right away on a mildly hot day.  So, a great stop.

But Pittsburgh’s dog-friendly reputation rests much more on the Ace Hotel and bar, where we landed next. Ace opened last year in a restored YMCA building; designers worked hard to keep the building’s flavor — the gym remains pretty much undisturbed.  Near Google and Carnegie Mellon, Ace is in the heart of a larger reclamation project, the city’s East Liberty neighborhood.  And yes, dogs are welcome pretty much everywhere (not the restaurant).  In the bar, in the gym, in the rooms. Rusty loved running up and down the many flights of stairs.   Even before we walked inside, Rusty was getting a lot of love from Declan, Simon, and Brooks at the valet stand.

Ace is the very definition of not just dog tolerant, but dog friendly. When you are traveling with Fido (or Rusty, or Lucky), and you tentatively walk up to a place asking if you can get dinner without leaving you dog behind, it’s *such* a relief to see welcoming faces.

I wish we had more time to explore Pittsburgh, so I could fully get a sense of the city’s dog-friendly culture. But Ace and Tipsy Cow alone make the place a great visit for you and your dog. (The two are within reasonable walking distance.)  If you know other dog-friendly places in the Steel City, let me know in comments below.

Also: Folly Beach, S.C.

Coffee stop

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About Bob Sullivan 1444 Articles
BOB SULLIVAN is a veteran journalist and the author of four books, including the 2008 New York Times Best-Seller, Gotcha Capitalism, and the 2010 New York Times Best Seller, Stop Getting Ripped Off! His latest, The Plateau Effect, was published in 2013, and as a paperback, called Getting Unstuck in 2014. He has won the Society of Professional Journalists prestigious Public Service award, a Peabody award, and The Consumer Federation of America Betty Furness award, and been given Consumer Action’s Consumer Excellence Award.


  1. HIt the South Side next visit – the Double Wide Cafe is VERY dog friendly and the food is pretty good too!

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