{August 30, 2011}   Dog Day Afternoon

When there’s a hint of Fall in the air,  it’s only natural to want to spend these gorgeous days Downtown. And…if you are a dog owner like me, it’s only natural to want to take your canine companion with you. But which Downtown businesses welcome Fido and which ones don’t?

Greenville is a very dog-friendly city. With water dishes placed strategically along Main Street and plastic bag dispensers  available almost everywhere, Downtown Greenville can be a pup’s paradise. With a little planning, you and your dog can share a happy, fun-filled day together.

Perhaps the happiest place in DTGVL… for dogs anyway… is Canine Corner.  This half-acre, fenced-in dog park is sort of like Disneyland for dogs. Located in Cleveland Park, near the stables and Cleveland Park Animal Hospital, the park provides plenty of room for Fido to run off-leash and play with his furry friends.  Visitors are greeted by the statue of a friendly Great  Dane entitled “High Four”, created by artist (and dog lover) Louise Peterson.  Dogs of all sizes and breeds are welcome, but aggressive dogs, females in heat and puppies under four months old are not allowed and canine visitors must have current vaccination tags. The park is well-maintained with a mulch surface and plastic bag recepticles for easy clean up.

Another location that is popular with pooches is The Barkery Bistro.  This unique boutique caters strictly to the four-legged set.  After a leisurely stroll down Main Street, pups and their people love to stop in for an array of tasty treats – from “pupcakes” to Bowser Beer. But, be warned, some of it looks so good, you’ll be tempted to take a taste. For a truly tail-wagging good time, check out the Barkery’s monthly “Yappy Hour”, which benefits local rescue shelters.

After some rambunctious play and a belly full of treats, Fido is only too happy to curl up under a table while you sample Downtown’s diverse culinary delights. Many Downtown restaurants happily welcome dogs, provided they are leashed and mind their manners. Along the “main drag” of Main Street, there are many dog-friendly dining options.  Blue Ridge Brewing, Trio, Coffee Underground, Handi Indian Cuisine, Sharkey’s Pub, Guadalajara, Cantinflas, Luna Rosa, Barley’s Tap Room, Wild Wing Cafe, The Cazbah and Soby’s all boast outdoor dining that welcomes your canine companion. If you care to venture further north on Main Street, Northgate Soda Shop also has pet-friendly dining options. Not to be outdone, the West End also offers many opportunities to bring along your doggie dinner date. Mellow Mushroom has an out-of-the-way outdoor patio that is perfect for pooches. The patio is rather small and may cause large dogs to feel crowded so smaller dogs are recommended.  Smoke on the Water, Coffee to a Tea, Saffron’s Sidewalk Cafe and Overlook Grill also have Fido-friendly alfresco dining and, as an added bonus, are in close proximity to Falls Park for an after-dinner romp.

Spending the day Downtown with your dog can make a fun filled day even more so. Some venues may have restrictions on the size or breed of the dog, so it would be wise to call ahead. And, on particularly nice days, other dog owners will likely have the same idea, so you may have to wait for outdoor tables at select restaurants. But with a little extra planning and a little patience, a day trip Downtown with your dog can be a rewarding experience for all.


Ahhhh Coffee…Steamy Nectar of the Gods! Bless the person who first thought of grinding up a bunch of roasted coffee beans and pouring some hot water over them. To a “Java Junkie” like me (who can’t even imagine starting the day without this caffeine-infused miracle) Downtown Greenville offers a wealth of independent coffee houses that are only too happy to help you feed your habit!

Our little coffee tour starts on the appropriately named Coffee Street and Coffee Underground, a locally-owned and operated coffee Mecca to artists, musicians, students from the Governor’s School and all sorts of creative types. CU (as it’s called by regulars) is not only the perfect place to meet friends, or find a quiet nook in which to study, but offers an array of artistic amusements ranging from their Gallery of local art, performances by area songwriters, poetry slams, cinema screenings and even stand-up comedy, all in a warm and cozy atmosphere.

Head south on Main Street and turn right onto Washington to discover Luna Rosa. This little Downtown gem offers true Italian style espresso (with extra shots if you’re feeling brave) as well as americano and machiatto. Add a scoop of their delicious gelato to make your coffee experience truly unique.

Back on Main Street, head toward the Westin Poinsett Hotel and Joel’s Java. A favorite with guests of the historic hotel, Joel’s serves the ever-popular Seattle’s Best coffee along with Lattes, cappuccinos, frappes, flavored shots and hot & iced tea. It’s a great place for visitors and locals alike to kickstart their day before heading out to explore our beautiful Downtown.

Take a detour onto Broad Street to find the next stop on our coffee tour, Brew & Ewe. This family-owned and operated coffee shop and boutique is a horse (or ewe) of a different color. On one side, you’ll find their coffee house which offers an array of coffee, espresso, breve, café au lait and more. On the other side is the boutique featuring woolen goods and locally handcrafted items. Coffee AND shopping? What could be better!

For something a little different, take the stairs down to RiverPlace and explore the caffeine possibilities at O-CHA Tea Bar. Yes, they serve delicious lattes and cappuccinos (iced and hot), but it’s the incredible assortment of teas, brewed in creative ways, that will make your taste buds giggle. Grab a bubble tea to cleanse your coffee palate, and take a moment to enjoy all the amazing local art that Art Crossing has to offer.

Well, you should be good and caffeinated by now, so continue south on Main, then cross the street to get to the West End Market and Coffee to a Tea.  This charming coffee house and bakery offers personally selected coffee, espresso and tea and a delightful menu prepared with all natural ingredients. But it’s the artisan breads and cakes almost too pretty to eat (almost) that give Coffee to a Tea its truly distinctive edge. You may want to set your diet aside when you visit!

Now strolling North on Main Street, we pass the stunning Falls Park and land at Spill The Beans. This innovative coffee house and creamery, located in a former textile mill, is also a favorite with students from The Governor’s School. Offering a variety of signature coffees, customers are also encouraged to sample their decadent ice creams and yogurts for a distinctive taste experience.  

Further North on Main Street, we end out tour at Liquid Highway, the coffee house with heart. Serving hand-crafted micro-roasted coffees, a generous portion of their proceeds benefits their Touch the Ground Foundation, a non-profit that aids medical clinics, orphanages, schools and families in need around the world lead healthier and fulfilling lives. (And the coffee’s good too…)

So, now you have an idea of how Downtown stays so vibrant and energetic…it’s the coffee! But if you’re not feeling adventurous enough to sample the wares of our independent coffee community, there’s always Starbucks…located at Michelin on Main. But don’t let anyone know I told you that…

{August 22, 2011}   Hello World!

Downtown Greenville, SC is a gorgeous, award-winning Downtown with plenty of local color! We Downtownies have kept this little gem in Upstate South Carolina to ourselves for entirely too long, so I felt it’s about time to share! So grab a cup of coffee, sit back & join me as I ponder the many happenings, events, attractions and adventures that make Downtown Greenville great!

et cetera