From Our Editors
The Three Faces of Happy Dog
The ordering process begins with a simple choice: a quarter-pound house-recipe hot dog or a vegan Field Roast sausage. The decision-making process, however, becomes more intense when it comes to customizing your dog with as many toppings as you can fit on the bun. The 50 available options, most of which are vegetarian, allow diners to create thousands of different flavor combinations. These housemade toppings include standard fare such as sauerkraut and chili, as well as more upscale morsels such as Oaxacan-style mole, apricot-cherry-currant chutney, and blue-cheese coleslaw. If all these options become overwhelming, don't fret—there's a list of recommended hot dogs at the bar.
The indecision continues at Happy Dog's beautiful, racetrack-shaped wood bar, which has remained virtually untouched since it was first constructed in the 1940s. Here, bartenders sling up more than 75 different beers, including 20 on-draft options. They're particularly proud of their selection of Eastern European beers and seasonal craft brews, which spans the sudsy spectrum from Belgian-style white ales to rich, chocolaty porters.
Long before hot dogs entered the picture, Happy Dog was conceived as a place to showcase the best local and touring musicians Cleveland had to offer. Genre doesn't matter—punk and rock bands are welcomed just as graciously as country and polka artists. The venue's jam-packed calendar boasts shows nearly every night of the week, and the cover charge is usually only $5—with all the money going directly into the performers' pockets.