I know that dogs in cafes is a controversial subject - but at least I now have a definitive answer to the vexed question of whether or not they are allowed by law. The answer is yes, they are.
I wrote to Islington Director of Public Health Julie Billett (responsible for food hygiene in Islington), after one cafe owner in Stroud Green Road told me they had been instructed by a council food inspector to exclude all dogs from the premises.
This is incorrect. The response is unequivocal: customers pets ARE allowed in food service areas in cafes and restaurants AT THE CAFE OWNER’S DISCRETION. The council has no powers to ban them (and does not wish to, as far as I can tell). So anyone who tells you it’s against the law is wrong. Obviously this doesn’t apply to food PREPARATION and STORAGE areas - kitchens and behind the counter.
Interestingly, Julie Billett also mentioned that there have been cases of ‘people fraudulently posing as food hygiene inspectors’ and collecting a fee from cafes for their ‘advice’. I don’t think this was the case i this instance - the council food inspector was simply wrong. Still, if a cafe has had a visit from a 'food hygiene inspector’ who wanted payment on the spot for their services - the council would like to know.