BY JAC CHEOK
My husband and I have a dog named Bana, one that makes children exclaim “big dog!” and then hide behind their parents whenever the three of us walk by. A German Shorthaired Pointer, Bana is not large (by Mastiff standards) but almost scarily tall for a Pointer. So maybe the children have a point.
We’ve had Bana for over a year and become familiar with his high energy levels, perennial need for stimulation, and obsession with jungle fowl. Thankfully, Bana also relishes an under-the-bed nap in the afternoons, for which our careers are grateful. In this last year, we’ve discovered a number of Bana-friendly places around Singapore that owners of dogs – big and small – might appreciate.
Dog runs in Singapore
Dog parks (or dog runs, as they are known in Singapore) are great for dogs as they can run about unleashed, sniff to their hearts’ content, and, most importantly, socialise. Our nearest one is in Balestier, at the end of Tai Gin Road. It’s a decent size, and we love the community of dogs and owners that we’ve come to know. The dogs are a nice mix of sizes and ages (from four-month-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniels to seven-year-old Golden Retrievers), and mostly playful. The adults are friendly and knowledgeable, often with an interesting dog story to tell.
On weekends, we go a bit further, like to the dog run at East Coast Park (where, no matter the time, there’s always a dog) or West Coast Park (the biggest dog run we’ve seen), and Tanjong Beach at Sentosa. At the beach, dogs get a good play in the sand, and can swim in the ocean and interact with other dogs. We recommend going early (8am is ideal) to avoid the crowds, and a situation where your dog runs off with someone’s beach towel and you’re drawn into a chase you can never win.
Wine and dine
Since Bana came into our lives, our favourite F&B spots have unsurprisingly become dominated by pet-friendly names. Pro tip: if a restaurant has outdoor seating, they are most likely pet-friendly – but not always. If you’re unsure, call the restaurant before rocking up with your dog.
Our top spots for a quick drink or pizza include 7th Tavern (Novena), Little Part 1 Cafe (Spottiswoode) and Jag’s (Siglap) – largely because of service folks who will darlingly care for your dogs. For the same reason, our top restaurants are Que Pasa (Somerset), Roots Mediterranean (Greenwood), LINO (Binjai) and most of the Sichuan restaurants on Mosque Street.
Live sport and music
In Singapore, bars where you can sit with your dog and watch live sport are far and few, as most places have TV screens only indoors. Fortunately, we’ve found three reliable gems: Boomarang (Robertson Quay), Charlie’s (Boat Quay) and Harry’s (South Beach), where Bana has watched the F1 and Australian Open live.
There are more options for live music and dogs. Wheeler’s Estate (Seletar) is great for its spacious alfresco dining area, and when Johnny Come Lately (an Eagles tribute band) is playing. Quentin’s (Katong) has a resident band that plays oldies, and serves hearty Eurasian dishes perfect for the family. Little Island Brewing Co (Changi) and RedDot Brewhouse (Dempsey) are two excellent venues to enjoy fresh air, listen to live music, and, best of all, be with your dog.
Big dogs love big walks. We like Bukit Brown Cemetery (begin at Kheam Hock Road) for its openness, and the numerous loops you can do depending on your mood (stay on paved roads or beat through bushes). We enjoy the Rail Corridor too, an uncomplicated flat path where you can decide where to start and end your hike. Our end point is often a dog-friendly watering hole, like Sixteen Ounces Craft Beer Bistro (Upper Bukit Timah) or Colbar (Buona Vista) – always a delightful sight after a big walk!
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This article first appeared in the August 2022 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!