At certain dog-friendly spots across town, diners can not only bring their own four-legged friends, but also mingle with the cats and dogs who make these restaurants and bars a second home. (Or a primary home, in the case of Wrecking Bar Brewpub’s brewery kitty Tina.)
These pets are always hanging around, so no wonder they’ve garnered a loyal local following by befriending regulars — and through clever integration by their owners into restaurant branding and marketing.
From Cabbagetown’s resident cat Dexter to Little Bear’s Fernando, meet Atlanta’s most iconic restaurant and brewery animals.
Bogie, The Chastain
When longtime Buckhead restaurant Horseradish Grill shuttered in 2020, neighbors and regulars mourned the closing, but had another concern: the fate of its most beloved guest, a ten-year-old black cat named Bogie. To ensure his safety during the restaurant’s transition to its present iteration, The Chastain, Bogie—whose owners are local residents Lethea and Doug Mitchell—was gifted with a cat-sized orange construction safety vest and carefully monitored by construction crews and the new staff.
Once The Chastain opened in the fall of 2020, “Bogie resumed his place on the property, picking up after guests and basking on the sunny terrace,” says beverage manager Juan Fernando Cortés. “He is also a very skilled hunter, which our onsite garden is grateful for,” he says.
Over the years Bogie has amassed hundreds of admirers, and his likeness has been used on everything from cookies sold during Halloween to latte art as part of a recent fundraiser for the Atlanta Humane Society and decor in one server’s home nursery.
Dexter, Little’s Food Store (died October 2023)
Cabbagetown’s resident cat Dexter has been a fixture in the neighborhood for all of his 15 years. Nina Cunnard, who owns Little’s Food Store with her husband Brad, says he’s been hanging out around the shop since they opened on Carroll Street in 2011. While initially standoffish, these days the all-black cat regularly greets customers from his outdoor perch— a Creative Loafing newspaper holder, recently replaced after a car wreck demolished his old one. Above it, a simple, hand-painted sign reads: “Cat Goes Here.”
Dexter’s primary caregiver is Tad Porter, who lives above Little’s, but the neighborhood has always taken a collective interest in his well-being.
“This neighborhood has gone through so much gentrification and change, and the community has really rallied around him to keep him safe,” says Cunnard. Twice, neighbors have pitched in to pay for Dexter’s medical bills, including treatment and recovery after he was attacked by alley cats a few years ago. “He’s just a special guy, and he’s a survivor,” she says of his enduring popularity in Cabbagetown. “He loves his celebrity, and Carroll Street wouldn’t be the same without him.”
Post-publication note: Sadly, Dexter died in late-October 2023 after a long and happy life greeting passersby on Carroll Street. But a memorial quickly sprung up at his perch just outside Little’s in Cabbagetown to honor the chill but friendly street cat.
Fernando, Little Bear
When chef Jarret Stieber opened his first brick-and-mortar restaurant in early 2020, naming it after his beloved Great Pyrenees, Fernando, was a no-brainer. “Everyone says he looks like a little bear because he’s so big, and we were worried if we named the restaurant ‘Fernando’s,’ people would think it was a Spanish/Italian concept, so we went with Little Bear instead,” recalls Stieber. He incorporated Fernando into the restaurant’s branding and marketing, from its logo and signage and merchandise like beanies to dog bandanas. Fernado regularly makes appearances in the restaurant’s Instagram videos, and each Chanukah season, Stieber makes limited edition, off-menu Sufganiyot in Fernando’s image.
Lucky guests can spot Fernando on the Summerhill restaurant’s front patio some evenings while Stieber wraps up his shifts, or enter raffles to win a coffee date with him to support local causes like Georgia Organics’ The Farmer Fund. “He’s so social and absolutely loves the attention from people,” says Stieber. “People drive by and yell his name from their cars, and he gets recognized walking around town, at coffee, and when we take him out for drinks. It’s absolutely hilarious, because he’s a dog, but he’s legitimately become a celebrity around Atlanta.”
Kal, Monday Night Brewing
“I always say dogs and kids are the best way to meet new people,” explains Monday Night Brewing’s CEO Jeff Heck, who’s been taking his two-year-old dog to the brewery’s two locations since it was a puppy. He says the fluffy Newfoundland/poodle mix helps him connect with guests, many of whom bring their own pups to the brewery’s pet-friendly taprooms and patios.
Kal loves the attention, serving as a greeter most days at the West Midtown location and occasionally at the West End Garage. Online, Kal can be found modeling the brand’s merchandise and latest beer releases on Instagram. He comes from a long line of Monday Night Brewing dogs. Last year, the brewery released For My Friend—a blend of barrel-aged Imperial Milk Stout and English Barleywine, both aged for a year in Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels—in memory of Eden, co-founder Jonathan Baker’s dog and the brewery’s original mascot.
Tina, Wrecking Bar Brewpub
Tina, Wrecking Bar Brewpub’s resident tabby, wasn’t initially a city cat. She grew up on the restaurant’s former Loganville farm and relocated to the Inman Park brewpub in the summer of 2020, when the farm manager grew ill and could no longer care for her.
The scrappy farm cat was initially skeptical of her new surroundings. ”She didn’t want to cuddle and didn’t like to be touched,” says Wrecking Bar’s event manager, Katy Frazier. “We even had a sign at one point that said ‘Beware of Tina: she gives bites, not love bites.’”
But over time, Tina has become more sociable, accepting belly rubs from patrons and staff and posing for Instagram photos with the brand’s latest brews. While she used to freely roam the streets, after getting hit by a car two summers ago and undergoing surgery to repair her hard palette and orbital bone, Tina now sticks close to the pub’s grounds. When not wandering the patio seeking attention or trying to con her way into the dining room, Tina sleeps inside the brewery, where she dozes on a blanket crocheted by Frazier’s mother and a nest of sweaters donated by staff.
“She’s sassy and sweet and has come out on the other side of her trauma happier and healthier,” says Frazier.
Tucker, The Old Mulehouse
George Koulouris and his husband Chris Palmer rescued their basset hound mix Tucker from the Atlanta Humane Society in 2019, just a few days before they stumbled upon the site in Jasper that now houses their restaurant, The Old Mulehouse. “Tucker was a huge part of The Old Mulehouse in the very early days,” Koulouris explains about his dog, who is around six or seven years old. “He’d spend all day hanging out at the site with the contractors during construction, and at our first open house, he greeted folks by the beer tub.”
Featured prominently on The Old Mulehouse Instagram account in its early days, Tucker—like his doting parents—immediately became a fixture in the small mountain town. “After we opened, we would be walking around town and people would often recognize Tucker and say, ‘Hey, I know that dog. He’s from The Old Mulehouse,’” says Koulouris. In addition to hanging out with guests on the restaurant’s pet-friendly patio and making cameos on local news segments, Tucker loves going for walks and romping on the trails of nearby Sharp Top Mountain with Koulouris and Palmer.