The Happy Dog is a neighborhood corner bar in the best sense of the term. We've got hot dogs and beer, and lots of live music, from rock and country to punk and polka. The bartenders are friendly and the bar itself is open and inviting - a racetrack oval wood bar, with plenty of old chrome barstools. It's not retro because it's pretty much unchanged from the time the Socotch family built the place back in the late 40's (we even have the old "Mom Socotch's Restaurant" sign hanging in the back of the bar).
Five friends got together back in August of 2008 to preserve the unique character of the place and to build on the work that the previous owners had done to make the Happy Dog one of the most welcoming live music venues in the city. With the help of many of Cleveland's best musicians and the good people of the Gordon Square Arts District, we booked a bunch of great gigs, showcasing local bands and pulling in some really cool bands from across the country.
With the music moving in the right direction, we figured it was time to do something fun in the kitchen, so in October 2009, we brought a new friend into the mix. Momocho chef and owner Eric Williams came on board with an idea to strip the menu down to just hot dogs, veggie dogs, tater tots and french fries, but with a dizzying array of toppings, all made in house. Co-owner Sean Kilbane suggested printing the menus to let folks pencil in their picks and create their own tasty hot dog combinations, and we were off and running.
We keep making small changes to keep things fresh - from hanging new pictures and recovering the old booths, to fixing up the stage and adding a new tap system - but our goal is to keep the Happy Dog what it has always been - a great neighborhood corner bar where everyone feels welcome.
What People Are Saying About the Happy Dog
Jarrod Zickafoose, Sun News
Frank Lewis, Cleveland Scene
John Petkovic, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Jason Burchaski, 52 Weeks of Cleveland