Two great tastes in one restaurant

University Circle Happy Dog serves up food, music, and memories


Stephanie Kim/Observer

Hot dogs, alcohol and live events are endless at the combined Happy Dog and Euclid Tavern.

Nardine Taleb, Contributing Reporter

It looks like the place to make college memories.

This is the new Happy Dog, added to the local and well-known Euclid Tavern, right down the street in University Circle. Its owners, Eric Williams and Sean Watterson, have combined Happy Dog’s deliciousness with Euclid Tavern’s bar and stage, although parts of the venue are new.

It’s seen in the floorboards—the old beige flooring that meets the darker brown—that the place is set up to preserve the history of the location. Yet, it still embraces the new events, people and memories to come.

The new stage is up front, having been moved from a spot perpendicular to Euclid Avenue. The stage is high-tech, managed by the “sound guy” from The Black Keys, a rock duo based in Akron, Ohio. The bar is to the side, right in front of the door.

There’s a back room with some pinball machines and the words “Happy Dog” spelled on the wall in bubbly, colorful letters. The designer of the wall work is called Superelectric, a creative group that owns a pinball parlor on West 78th street, where guests can play pinball and listen to music.

Just from walking into this hot dog and music paradise, it can easily be understood that Williams, Watterson, their sound engineer and Superelectric, have brought together high quality food and entertainment in a unique, quaint space.

Already, the place is a hit. The new floorboards have welcomed artists like Uno Lady, Oozing Wound, Electric Citizen and countless other bands and local musicians. Happy Dog and Euclid Tavern have also hosted talks by the Institute for the Science of Origins, and a Halloween Dance party.

The televisions are always playing Cavaliers and Browns games, and even celebrating Case Western Reserve University football. There are still many more events to come in collaboration with Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland Institute of Art and Cleveland Institute of Music students, and other bands. This is not just a place to chill and make memories.

The most unique aspect of it is that, like Watterson puts it, “It’s open.”

And that’s exactly what it is: open. When asked what Happy Dog at the Euclid Tavern is meant to do, Watterson said, “There’ll be music, there’ll be talks. They’ll all be original. We’re really excited to engage everyone, students, museums.”

He noted that there is so much interesting work and interesting people. “This is our way of introducing those folks to the broader community,” he said.

Now, on to the mouth-watering food. Here’s a quick run-down on one of the riches of the place.

The menu is distinguished from the West Side and other Happy Dogs location. The Hilly’s chili, the mozzarella, the refried beans, the banh mi picked vegetables and the chix-fil-a coleslaw are all hot dog toppings that are either completely new or tweaked from existing recipes. The famous Happy Dog tater tots can accompany hot dog orders.

The stage may have changed its placed, but the memories stayed the same. Whether visitors remember past karaoke nights or performances from their favorite bands, the building has been more than just a bar for Clevelanders. Here’s to Happy Dog being more than just a hot dog place, too.

Upcoming Happy Dog Concerts:

  • • Friday, Nov. 7, 9 p.m.: Sexypigdivas/Listen Little Man/Thorla ($5)
  • • Tuesday, Nov. 18, 9 p.m.: Heavenly Creatures/ShiSho/Elizabeth Kelly (Price TBA)
  • • Friday, Nov. 21, 9 p.m.: Heart Attack Man/Dead Leaves/My Mouth is the Speaker ($5)