Dog Friendly Patios Allowed in Denver

May 4, 2016



Now that spring is here, we’ve been getting several calls from members asking about the rules allowing dogs on patios. As with the rest of the food code, what is applicable in Denver is not always applicable in the rest of the state.

In Denver, the Department of Environmental Health has responded to Denver’s dog-friendly culture and has reduced restrictions regarding dogs on retail food establishment patios. The Denver Food Code enables restaurants and bars to allow dogs on patios if they meet certain requirements:

The retail food establishment shall have a patio with direct access without going through the restaurant. It shall have signs posted stating that dogs are allowed in the outdoor dining area. One sign shall be posted in a conspicuous location visible upon entrance to the interior of the retail food establishment, and another sign shall be posted in a conspicuous location visible upon entrance to the outdoor dining area. Patios which are greater than 400 square feet and allow dogs must also provide clear signage indicating which portion of the patio is dog friendly and which is reserved for dining without dogs. Such signage shall also inform patrons that problems with dogs on the premises be reported to the proprietor and may be reported to the Department of Environmental Health.

This allowance only applies to the City of Denver, restaurants outside of Denver cannot allow dogs (except for service animals) on any part of the licensed premise unless the restaurant obtains a variance from the local and state health departments. If you have questions about the rules concerning dogs on restaurant patios, please contact Nick Hoover nhoover@corestaurant.org or 303-830-2972. 

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