Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

C'mon Get Happy Again 

Shuttered since 2002, an iconic West Side venue returns.

Sharon Jones, at the Dap-Kings' February 19 - Beachland show. - WALTER  NOVAK
  • Walter Novak
  • Sharon Jones, at the Dap-Kings' February 19 Beachland show.
After closing for nearly three years, the Happy Dog (5801 Detroit Ave.) on Cleveland's near West Side is ready to resume hosting one of the area's more eclectic music scenes.

Co-owner Billy Scanlon bought the building in 1997 and opened its floor to jam bands, bluegrass combos, and avant-garde jazz groups, regularly hosting acts like the Recipe, Larry Keel, and Birth.

"It's a happy place," says Scanlon, throwing the word "man" in the conversation whenever he gets the chance. "What does all the music have in common? Happy groove."

The small, authentically retro club was built in 1948 and -- aside from a big Phish poster -- looks like it hasn't been touched since. Its maple bar is ringed with 46 stool posts. An Elvis bust lamp -- the quintessential totem of kitsch-chic -- looks out from behind the bar, gazing at earth-toned booths attached to wood-lined walls.

Zoned by the city as an alcohol-free establishment since 1988, the Dog kept afloat as a restaurant and concert venue before closing in 2002. It reopened in January, after precinct residents overwhelmingly voted to let the Dog and nearby Cleveland Public Theatre serve alcohol in November. Live bands will play three nights a week, including a Friday polka happy hour.

"It's a really awesome bar," says Rosavelt singer-guitarist Chris Allen, whose band used the club as rehearsal space while it was closed. "It's got great lighting, great woodwork. And that makes it a great place to listen to music."

· Satellite Records recording artist Chiwawa needs extras to appear in its video, to be shot at the Velvet Dog (1280 W. 6th St.) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, February 24. The Canadian duo cites Garbage, the Clash, and U2 as influences.

· Cleveland Americana troupe Hayshaker Jones is hosting weekly jam sessions for fellow roots-based musicians at the Town Fryer (3859 Superior Ave.). "The idea is to create a small scene and give roots musicians a chance to play and be heard regularly," says singer Clint Holley. "It's not a Hayshaker Jones open-mic night. It's an opportunity to give Northeast Ohio roots music a home." Sessions run from 7 to 10 p.m. on Sundays.

· Recovering Professional Musicians (RPM, the nonprofit support group for musicians seeking recovery from drug and alcohol addiction) has changed its meeting day and place to 7:30 p.m. Mondays at the Voodoo/AMP Productions offices (1666 Merriman Rd., in Akron's Merriman Valley).

· Power trio Fast Chester has added drummer Nick Petti. It's Petti's first major gig, but singer-guitarist Angelo Incorvia promises he's "a monster." After two EPs, the band is recording its first full-length with former Cyde frontman Shawn Hackel (Jani Lane, C.D. Truth).

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Latest in Makin' the Scene

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 5, 2022

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


Staff Pick Events

  • Clayton English @ Hilarities Comedy Club

    • Fri., Jan. 21
  • Windborne's the Music of Queen @ State Theatre

    • Fri., Jan. 21
  • Cleveland Pops: All That Jazz @ Severance Music Center

    • Sat., Jan. 22

© 2022 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation