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Dog Society, a place to sit and stay

A people and their pets hangout, with games and drinks, and (technically) food

Thin-crust pizza at the Dog Society
Thin-crust pizza at the Dog Society

Usually, I’m in it for the food. When the food’s not good, I’m happy to keep my mouth shut, pretend I never heard of the place. Worst burger spot in San Diego? You didn’t hear about it from me. That tragically awful Hawaiian BBQ joint in North County? That flamed out on its own, no bad huli huli chicken jokes needed to nudge it along.

Place

Dog Society

6331 University Avenue, San Diego

Well, the food is terrible at Dog Society. Poor enough that even my pizza-fiend stepkid couldn’t get behind it. We might have guessed it from the storage container kitchen, not even as well-equipped as a food truck. A pulled pork sandwich looked as if it came out of an airplane microwave and even the most unruly passengers wouldn’t remove their mask to take a bite.

However, the food is not the point at this College-area venue — it’s quite likely an afterthought. As the name indicates, this place was set up for the dogs. The basement of Dog Society offers the types of services valued by dog owners, such as doggie daycare, overnight boarding, grooming, and training classes.

A wide open dog-friendly space, with games and refreshment

It’s the upper half, the ground level that they call the "people-floor.” In a rather large, round building, it’s set up with high ceilings and lots of windows. It’s designated as a place people can hang out with their pets. So, food is served, along with coffee, beer, and wine. Bistro- and picnic-tables throughout come with short leashes attached, in order to keep pooches close.

You may hear day-care dogs downstairs, barking and playing, and my dog, for one, certainly took pleasure in barking back. But the joint is surprisingly human-oriented. There’s a pool table and large screen TVs, often tuned to sports. In one corner, there are full shuffleboard courts — the ground level version, not the table game usually featured in bars. And beside the entrance sit three, rudimentary miniature golf greens, framed into D, O, and G shapes.

Where dogs may watch their owners play shuffleboard

Really, it’s meant to be a place to eat or play games while your dog watches. Or, maybe you don’t have a dog. I noticed a couple of SDSU students show up with their laptops, and proceed to get work done over coffee. The scope of the place is certainly less snug than a coffee shop, but the wifi works, so why shouldn’t it serve the same purpose?

Dogs aren’t allowed off-leash, so minus the activities, this people floor of Dog Society doesn’t technically differ that much from any other dog-friendly venue. The $14 pizza — a rectangular, thin-crust deal cooked to a crisp in an electric oven — is not great, but it’s edible if you’re hungry enough: topped with pepperoni, bacon, jalapeños, and black olives.

A big soft pretzel is a safe bet, whether or not you play mini golf.

I’d skip the $12 pulled pork in favor of the turkey-bacon-avocado panini, though this may be the place to go for something easy and tough to mess up: like the hummus plate, or the giant soft pretzel, served with mustard and beer cheese (both are 10 bucks).

Ultimately, the place is best appreciated with a beer. Keep an eye on its calendar for breed-specific dog meet-ups, and frequent adoption events, where you may meet and hang out with a few pups till you fall in love. My dog generally wants me to eat better but hates to be left at home whenever I’m out dining, so for the pup’s sake, sometimes I’m willing to compromise.

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Thin-crust pizza at the Dog Society
Thin-crust pizza at the Dog Society

Usually, I’m in it for the food. When the food’s not good, I’m happy to keep my mouth shut, pretend I never heard of the place. Worst burger spot in San Diego? You didn’t hear about it from me. That tragically awful Hawaiian BBQ joint in North County? That flamed out on its own, no bad huli huli chicken jokes needed to nudge it along.

Place

Dog Society

6331 University Avenue, San Diego

Well, the food is terrible at Dog Society. Poor enough that even my pizza-fiend stepkid couldn’t get behind it. We might have guessed it from the storage container kitchen, not even as well-equipped as a food truck. A pulled pork sandwich looked as if it came out of an airplane microwave and even the most unruly passengers wouldn’t remove their mask to take a bite.

However, the food is not the point at this College-area venue — it’s quite likely an afterthought. As the name indicates, this place was set up for the dogs. The basement of Dog Society offers the types of services valued by dog owners, such as doggie daycare, overnight boarding, grooming, and training classes.

A wide open dog-friendly space, with games and refreshment

It’s the upper half, the ground level that they call the "people-floor.” In a rather large, round building, it’s set up with high ceilings and lots of windows. It’s designated as a place people can hang out with their pets. So, food is served, along with coffee, beer, and wine. Bistro- and picnic-tables throughout come with short leashes attached, in order to keep pooches close.

You may hear day-care dogs downstairs, barking and playing, and my dog, for one, certainly took pleasure in barking back. But the joint is surprisingly human-oriented. There’s a pool table and large screen TVs, often tuned to sports. In one corner, there are full shuffleboard courts — the ground level version, not the table game usually featured in bars. And beside the entrance sit three, rudimentary miniature golf greens, framed into D, O, and G shapes.

Where dogs may watch their owners play shuffleboard

Really, it’s meant to be a place to eat or play games while your dog watches. Or, maybe you don’t have a dog. I noticed a couple of SDSU students show up with their laptops, and proceed to get work done over coffee. The scope of the place is certainly less snug than a coffee shop, but the wifi works, so why shouldn’t it serve the same purpose?

Dogs aren’t allowed off-leash, so minus the activities, this people floor of Dog Society doesn’t technically differ that much from any other dog-friendly venue. The $14 pizza — a rectangular, thin-crust deal cooked to a crisp in an electric oven — is not great, but it’s edible if you’re hungry enough: topped with pepperoni, bacon, jalapeños, and black olives.

A big soft pretzel is a safe bet, whether or not you play mini golf.

I’d skip the $12 pulled pork in favor of the turkey-bacon-avocado panini, though this may be the place to go for something easy and tough to mess up: like the hummus plate, or the giant soft pretzel, served with mustard and beer cheese (both are 10 bucks).

Ultimately, the place is best appreciated with a beer. Keep an eye on its calendar for breed-specific dog meet-ups, and frequent adoption events, where you may meet and hang out with a few pups till you fall in love. My dog generally wants me to eat better but hates to be left at home whenever I’m out dining, so for the pup’s sake, sometimes I’m willing to compromise.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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