When we adopted Azzy, we went to Fat Dog on Fairfax Avenue to celebrate, because it was just down the street from Bark n’ Bitches. Fat Dog has a dog-friendly patio, and with a name like Fat Dog, it just seemed like the right place to go. We had no idea this place would become such a major part of our lives. It didn’t hurt that we were living two blocks east of Fairfax at the time, and so we could just leash all the guests up and walk here.
But the first time we took Azz here, it was just the four of us who went. Fresh from the rescue, we were still in the meet-and-greet phase of our relationship. And I wanted him to have the spotlight all to himself.
From the very beginning, he was a head-turner. Azzy’s stunning appearance and largesse paired quite agreeably with his gentle demeanor. The fawning patrons on the patio started asking us about him immediately. There wasn’t really a lot that we could tell them. I told one man that we just adopted him from the rescue up the street.
Fawning Patio Man: “How long have you had him?”
Me: “Forty-five minutes.”
And that’s how our adventures at Fat Dog began.
Most eateries in Los Angeles will accommodate a dog on their patio, but Fat Dog really wants your dog to come for a visit. Even their wallpaper is dog-themed. I personally think they should have a blank wall where they feature paw prints or Polaroids from dogs who were regulars — cheesy, maybe, but I’ve found that a shared love of dogs really brings the denizens of this town together. I’ve mingled with people that I would never have interacted with otherwise. People tend to really lower their guard when you ask them about Chopper.
I never liked to leave my canine clients at home unattended, so after Azzy’s first solo Fat Dog jaunt, we would walk the entire pack over quite often just to get out of the house for a while. When you’re booked, dog-sitting is a 24/7 kind of job, so it meant a lot that I could bring all of them to Fat Dog.
Like I stated before, L.A. is generally accommodating to dogs on the patio, but if you showed up with, say, more than three dogs, people start giving you the side-eye — not so much the staff, but other patrons. Not at Fat Dog, though. Everybody was happy to see you with your dogs, and Azzy made many, many new friends. People with small dogs would occasionally clutch their pearls upon seeing him, but Azzy quickly set everybody at ease — they soon realized that Azzy was harmless and genuinely wanted to be friends with their Yorkie.
Fat Dog’s drink menu is even doggie-themed. I don’t drink and blog, so I won’t be trying all of them, but I was quite fond of the Seeing Rye Dog (Bulleit rye, ginger liqueur, blackberries, basil, lemon juice and raw sugar). Other concoctions have names like Off the Leash, Doggie Style, Tailwagger, Dogbite, and more … . The Daily Fat Drink was always fun to get, too, because it was always something different, and sometimes they would let you select the liquor.
We came here so often that we even made friends with some of the staff. They are all fabulous, but our favorite is Jess. This mirthful lass works on Whiskey Wednesdays and weekends. (Remember the three W’s!) The fun part about Whiskey Wednesdays is that Jess gets to assemble a whiskey drink (the “Daily Fat Drink”) and give it a canine-themed name.
And then there are the whiskey flights. You get to sample four fine whiskeys that each come with a description, and I believe you get a discount if you decide to order a drink using one of the whiskeys that you’ve sampled.
The menu changes a bit for weekend brunch. They keep some of the staples, like the burger and the chopped salad, but they also add some brunchy stuff like steak and eggs and a breakfast pizza that comes with your choice of house-cured salmon or prosciutto. My favorite item right now is the chicken fried chicken (I think that’s Jess’ favorite, too, because she always voices her approval whenever somebody orders it). That one also stays on the menu on non-brunch days.
Fat Dog NoHo (on Magnolia Boulevard) has a slightly broader selection of food items (I’m told NoHo has a bigger kitchen). We lived in Burbank for 5 minutes, so we used to go to the NoHo location when we lived nearby. It’s every bit as accommodating and dog-friendly as Fat Dog WeHo. Also, I am a raw-oyster addict, and they offer oysters on the half-shell during brunch. The WeHo location used to be right next to Cape Cod Seafood, which was a dream come true for me because I could get a bunch of oysters and eat them at Fat Dog with my Fat Dog food, and Fat Dog was always really cool about that. Unfortunately, Cape Cod isn’t there anymore, so if anybody knows of any dog-friendly places that serve raw oysters, please drop me a line, I’m dying!
Anyway, back to brunch.
Start with the $6 brunch libations. I am all about the Champear, but if you’re unsure, you can get a mimosa flight that includes OJ, grapefruit, apple and peach juices. I was really skeptical of grapefruit or apple juice being mixed with champagne, but it works! They also offer a Fat Mary, which is loaded with salty goodness and served in a pint glass. The Coffee Karlsson also hits the spot if you’re in the mood for a post-brunch digestif of sorts. They don’t have these on the lunch/dinner menu, but they can probably make you one!
(Pro-tip: If you get the fried egg sandwich, be sure to get the egg well-fried, unless you want a laser-like stream of hot, runny egg yolk squirting across the table and onto your companion. This has been known to happen.)
The last time we were here for brunch, there was a ginormous gray Great Dane. I forgot his name, but we’ve seen him here before, and Azzy has already sniffed his butt — but, man, did this dog fill out! One of his cheeks was bigger than Azzy’s entire head. I can’t even imagine how many poop bags these people have to use and how much dog food they go through every week. They probably have to have a sponsor.
This sweet behemoth brought out Azzy’s inner chihuahua for sure! Azzy never, ever growls or barks at other dogs except pit bulls (for some mysterious reason) and now this dog. Azzy is a quarter pit bull himself — maybe he’s a self-loather with grandma issues or something — but the only times he’s ever growled was at pit bulls and Goliath over here. So there’s Azzy, lurking under the table with his low, guttural growl, and this dog just really can’t be bothered. I mean, he is TOTALLY unfazed. Sasha even came up to him and started playing with him, and this dog was a total gentleman.
And that’s another really cool thing about Fat Dog. They anticipate that there might be some flared hackles and fur flying, and it just comes with the territory (not that I’ve ever seen an actual dog fight there, but sometimes they just get super excited).
Feel free to bring all the dogs you’ve got if you go and check this place out. And be sure to get the chicken fried chicken!