‘Fido’ – the sign flashes by as I’m driving – not fast – through Nashville’s congested streets. Specifically, I’m in the ‘Hillsboro’ neighbourhood.
‘Fetch’ is the next sign, about half a block away from Fido.
“Awesome,” I think. There’s an independent pet store here a block long. Why else is there a retro neon ‘pet store’ sign on the roof?
Well, there’s another reason.
In Nashville, Tennessee, Fido is a coffee shop owned by restaurant entrepreneur Bob Bernstein. It’s a trendy spot with wood floors, mismatched chairs and postcard freebies you can send to friends, listing recipes for cheeky named coffee drinks. (My favourite is ‘Impeached:’ latte with peach tea, cardamom and rosewater. No reason.)
This is a very popular lunch locale in the now gentrified neighbourhood of Hillsboro sporting newly minted brunch stops such as Biscuit Love, gift stores like Hey, Rooster General Store and Arcade kids clothing and toys.
The Fetch building is a former pet store.
“I didn’t want to take the sign down,” Bernstein says. “This location was a pet store for 50 years since the early 60s, so the Fido theme is a nostalgic nod to what the neighbourhood was – then wasn’t – now is again.”
Ok, I’m a bit disappointed this place isn’t all about pets, nor pet-friendly except for a few chairs out front making up the patio. But I’m not disappointed with the coffee. Staff members compete to create new hot and cold coffee drinks, name them cleverly, and then add them to the menu for a limited time. The classics, of course, remain.
“I like dogs, but I’m allergic to them,” says Bernstein, a former reporter now owner of several different restaurant ventures in different Nashville neighbourhoods.
Nevertheless, Fido’s dog-theme persists, subtlety: first in the cartoon logo, then on the souvenir mugs. There are fire hydrants on the bathroom doors and my favourite is the photos of actual neighbourhood dogs on the buzzers staff give customers to signal when lattes, sandwiches or wraps are ready.
“It was a promotion when we opened,” Bernstein says. “For a donation to a local animal shelter, you got your dog’s photo and name on a buzzer.”
I want my dog Victor on a buzzer.
“We might do it again,” Bernstein says.
So, what is Fetch?
“That’s the ‘to go’ section of Fido. Sip and stay leisurely in Fido, but grab and go at Fetch – particularly when you’re walking the dog. Yes, there’s a water bowl outside.
What is dog friendly in Nashville?
Nashville loves its four legged friends. Well, fashion designers certainly do. I met two doggos while visiting local clothing creators Amanda Valentine and Cavanagh Baker – the latter keeps her Doodle Mufasa in her streetfront studio with her.
According the Nashville Music City, there are at least a dozen dog-friendly patios in Nashville, including the Frothy Monkey in the trendy 12 South neighbourhood; Hops + Crafts featuring craft beer and whole wheat pizza in up-in-coming The Gulch district; and South along Music Row has TVs on the patios so neither you nor Rover miss the game.
Nashville has six leash-free dog parks within its city boundaries including one inside the most popular green space in town: Centennial Park, home to the Nashville Parthenon.
That’s right; smack dab in the middle of Music City is a scale replica of the famous Greek historic landmark. And inside? A scale replica of the Goddess Athena, of course. At 42-feet tall, it’s the tallest indoor sculpture in the U.S.
Nashville also hosts 32 pet-friendly hotels (affiliate link), including the trendy Aloft in the city’s West End near Vanderbilt University, and the Hilton Nashville Downtown within a block of all the honky tonks you want to visit. Also dog welcoming is the historic downtown Hermitage Hotel within walking distance of Broadway and the city’s only five-star property.
As of June 2017, we can add another contender to the list: The hip Kimpton Aertson Hotel in Nashville’s Midtown neighbourhood. Half hotel, half long-term rentals, this converted industrial building retains a few original features such as concrete ceilings in each guest room but adds contemporary comforts like the eighth-floor outdoor ‘living room with swimming pool and cabanas.’
There’s a dog run in the parking garage for residents specifically. But according to management, use by hotel guests can be arranged. In other words, this place is about accommodating all guests, human and otherwise.
Disclaimer: My trip to Nashville was sponsored by Music City and Nashville Tourism.
Need a Travel Guide to Nashville? Check out Moon Nashville from Moon Handbooks on Amazon.com (affiliate link)
Know something else dog-friendly in Nashville? Let us know in the comments below.
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CLICK HERE (affiliate link): FLASH SALE – Save up to 30% Off your stay at Red Roof Inn with VP code 623248. Sale on from 12 AM Jan 16 to 11:59 PM Eastern, Jan 18th. Offer valid for stays, Jan 16th, 2018 through April 15, 2018