Happy Dog

USA44102 Cleveland

Happy Dog1


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 classic 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.

In 2010, co-owner Sean Watterson thought he would try something different by inviting members of The Cleveland Orchestra to perform on the Happy Dogs stage, which opened the door to all sorts of collaborations with talented people doing interesting work in Cleveland, including monthly talks by scientists, writers and academics on topics ranging from the origins of the universe to the current state of world affairs. That first concert also led to monthly classical performances and even produced a double vinyl recording - Ensemble HD Live at the Happy Dog."

"What I think is cool about it is, people that normally wouldn't get to go to Severance Hall get exposed to a little tiny bit of classical music, and people who wouldn't normally come here get to, like, know this bar, so it's mutually beneficial to both parties," says one of the guests.

Music Program

Sextet: piano, flute, oboe, violin, viola and cell.

One of the members of the sextet says that they have learned from the crowd not to dumb down their fare, or churn out popular tunes. "Mozart and Schubert did not work well in that setting," he says of his programme for their first performance. "Those pieces sounded like elevator music." So he started programming more challenging, ambitious pieces by 20th-century composers such as Dmitri Shostakovich, Anton Webern and Arvo Part. These divert the crowd from their beers and the awed silence after a piece, before the applause, can be as beautiful as the music itself.