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By Amber Evans

Dog FriendlyIt’s February in Charleston and with warm weather just around the corner, kick off the Spring season by checking out 8 dog friendly Charleston restaurants.  Truly, we are gifted with a local climate that allows us to celebrate outdoors nearly year-round. Whether you’re enjoying live music at the Surf Bar, or watching the dolphins frolic in Shem Creek from the patio of Red’s Ice House, we have something for everyone.  And best yet, all of this week’s featured restaurants have outdoor areas where your favorite four-legged friend can join in the festivities.  So come on down and see what we have in store for you!

1. FUEL in Downtown Charleston combines the best of Caribbean cuisine, unique wines, and their signature cocktails to create a truly exceptional Charleston experience.  Whether you’re looking for burgers ground in-house or local fish tacos, you can’t beat the home-grown appeal of the place.  Featuring an indoor/outdoor bar and one of Charleston’s largest outdoor patios, FUEL is certainly among my personal favorite restaurants in the area.

2. Rita’s Seaside Grill has been called the most fun spot on Folly Beach!  Serving lunch, dinner, and drinks in a beautiful location just steps away from the Folly Beach Pier, Rita’s features a large dog-friendly outdoor patio in addition to a comfortable indoor dining space.  Come see what all the fuss is about!

3. Looking for something a bit different or off the beaten track?  Come visit the Angel Oak Restaurant on John’s Island.  A full-service restaurant specializing in the unique Southern cuisine the locals know and love, Angel Oak epitomizes the ideals of Southern hospitality.  Their delicious food is made from scratch using only the freshest local ingredients, and the menu changes as foods come into season.  There’s always something new to try!

4. The Surf Bar is another of Folly Beach’s gems.  The smell of the oak-fired grill mingles with the chorus of falling blocks as someone yells “Jenga!”  From the surf-themed décor and nightly live music, to their burgers and wings and their legendary customer service, the Surf Bar is a neighborhood bar where there are no strangers.  Enjoy a long day running with your dog on the beach, then stop by for dinner and drinks on the patio before heading home.  There is no better way to end the day!

5. Red’s Ice House was built on the dream of Lewis Hughes 'Red' Simmons that it be “a public gathering place at the water’s edge where locals and visitors, regardless of their age, wealth or culture, could gather, watch the boats go by and help celebrate, preserve and protect the rich and storied traditions of Shem Creek.”  That vision is brought to life at this, one of Charleston’s favorite restaurants.  Live music, great food and friendly service combine with their twin waterfront locations to create a truly unforgettable experience.  Come join the party on Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant or see what’s shaking on Kiawah Island.

6. Overlooking the marsh on Folly Road is The Barrel, a sweet little brew pub you would be sorry to overlook!  The dog-friendly patio is well-fenced so that even the smallest four-legged guests remain safely within sight.  Come for the food and the tasty selection of craft beers, stay for the local charm and warm chats with the owner.  This family-friendly establishment features a shuffleboard table and an outdoor firepit for those evenings when the warm Charleston spring days dip down into chilly nights.

7. Folly Beach has no dearth of pup-friendly restaurants.  Among the better known of these is the Lost Dog Café.  Specializing in breakfast burritos, bagel sandwiches and some of the best coffee on the beach, Lost Dog is one of the rare establishments that is both familiar to the tourists, and simply dripping with genuine Southern charm and hospitality.  Try to arrive here during non-peak hours, especially during Spring Break and over the Summer, as seats in this cozy restaurant fill up fast!  You can usually find a great spot on the outdoor patio, which features very comfortable seating.

8.  Perhaps the most dog-friendly restaurant in Charleston is Parson Jack's in West Ashley.  They tend to surpass the expectations of the average guest, revealing themselves to be a cozy neighborhood bar with exceptional food and a genuine love for Charleston's dogs.  Be sure to try their Reuben sandwich or one of their legendary burgers, and pair it up with a basket of their bottomless fries.  There are even dishes for your fur-baby!  Courtesy of All Is Well, gourmet dog food is available so your best friend can join the party.  Be sure to ask about the dollar bills stuck to the ceiling; the explanation will bring a smile to any dog lover's face!

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