We are often asked about our favourite cafes and we leave information about them in our villas and cottages. All of these are also pet-friendly and are not only favourites of ours, but are also favourites of friends and locals (and many guests who have returned to the Bay!)
Some are also new to our list – recent discoveries – and the best thing about the area is that there are so many that welcome our fur-friends!
This is just a summary of our top 7 and for those who have stayed in the area before, we are sure you have your favourites too. Please let us know if we have missed your favourite from the list below.
This list is in no particular order and covers the area of Shoal Bay, Nelson Bay and Fingal Bay. There are others in Salamander Bay, Soldiers Point and Anna Bay and we will cover these ones later.
Cellar Cafe – Fingal Bay
Leah and Alex are the owners of Cellar Cafe and this has become a real little local hub in Fingal Bay. Leah and Alex are so welcoming and it is only a short stroll from Echoes at Fingal Bay and a short drive from Shearwater at Shoal Bay.
The cafe is located in Market Street, Fingal Bay and is off the main tourist roads – its warm charm, friendly banter, welcoming staff makes it a favourite of ours. Dogs are welcome with an undercover area in front of the cafe (including heaters in winter!)
The Cellar Cafe is still not open every day but this is slowly changing. It is currently open Thursday to Sunday so just check Facebook for the opening hours and if you do drop in, mention our names – Michelle and Andrew – local references do make a difference
PS: Just LOVE the coffees (Michelle)
Zenith Cafe – Shoal Bay
Zenith Cafe is a definite favourite of ours and we are so truly amazed how it is has grown from strength to strength! Zenith opened the August of the first Covid year – how brave we all thought the owners were to open at this time.
And it flourished and continues to do so. Joel and Damien (both chefs) took on the challenge and Suzanne and Bel, are just fabulous in ‘front’ as well as being superb baristas. They are so welcoming and friendly and they ensure everything runs smoothly.
And YES! It is pet-friendly. A 10 minute casual stroll from Shearwater Cottages or a 5 minute drive from Fingal Bay. Located in the Shoal Bay Village, Zenith is directly opposite the Bay so another one of the things we love to do is to sometimes to order a take-away and enjoy it at one of the picnic benches across the road.
Zenith is open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon cocktails and dinner on some nights.
PS: Just LOVE the coffees here too!! (Michelle)
Long Boat Cafe – Fingal Bay
A fantastic location next to the park and backing onto the beach, this cafe is also pet-friendly and is located next to the Fingal Bay Surf Club. It is also very close to the enclosed dog-friendly park. It makes a wonderful destination when walking along the walkway between Shoal Bay and Fingal Bay.
Opened for breakfast and lunch, and just a reminder that nothing is ‘rushed’ in the Bay and the local time is sometimes called ‘Bay Time’. But slowing down is what holidays are all about!
The Little Nel – Nelson Bay
This is such a lovely cafe also opened for breakfast and lunch, and the breakfast menu is so varied! The area at the front of the cafe is pet-friendly, not undercover but large umbrellas are in place.
Located along the main road (Government Rd) in Nelson Bay, parking is best found in the car park just a short stroll up from the Cafe.
We call Little Nel our ‘special treat’ place as the chefs are pretty well known in the area and contribute to the local Seafood festivals and events plus many other local community events. The menu changes regularly so it always offers a special ‘surprise’.
Essence Cafe – Nelson Bay
Essence Cafe has an eclectic, vintage and homely decor and is a favourite of hours especially when we need a ‘sweet fix’. Opened for breakfast and lunch, this friendly cafe is family run and shown in the scrummy food especially the delicious home-made cakes and slices made on site and many of these are also gluten free too.
Pet-friendly seating is also available in front of the cafe.
Kin Cafe – Nelson Bay
This cafe was formally known as Evivva. The rear of the cafe has a lovely, inviting enclosed courtyard garden which is pet-friendly and can be entered from the rear (the council car park is behind it).
Kin is also family-run and friendly, and although we have only been there a couple of times, the coffee is also good and we have had one of their delicious breakfasts here as well.
In House Kitchen – Nelson Bay
In House Kitchen is the cafe associated with the beautiful home decor store of Home Interior. The decor is essentially Hamptons and is very popular with tourists so it is normally busy on weekends and in the holidays.
Open for breakfast and lunch, it also has undercover pet-friendly seating in front of the cafe. The menu offers a range of options (their homemade scones are yummy!) from cakes, wraps and a fuller meal range for breakfast and lunch.
AND FINALLY (oops 8 but who’s counting?)…..Bay Hut Cafe – Nelson Bay
Another very special place is Bay Hut Cafe in Nelson Bay, also so super friendly and family run, with homemade cakes and goodies as well.
We so truly admire Chantelle and her family’s courage and strength, as they managed to keep their cafe open for take-away during the all Covid periods while others shutdown. It was our go-to place when take-away and walking with a coffee in hand, was the only option available.
And yes, it is pet-friendly!