CLEVELAND — Happy Dog in Cleveland’s Gordon square isn’t your usual spot.
We do beer, tator tots, hot dogs and live music,” said Co-Owner, Sean Watterson. “We are I certainly happy to be back doing all those things again tonight. We are going to be incredibly happy dogs. No pun intended!”
It’s a happy day, 16 months in the making.
“It’s the celebration we’ve all been waiting to have. Food music beer friends,” said Watterson.
A celebration he was unsure he was ever going to have again.
“There were times we were ready to give up.”
They didn’t give up. In fact, they fought harder. Banding together with other music venues across the country to create the National Independent Venue Association. Together they fought to get federal assistance to keep their doors open.
“We got the largest arts funding bill in the history of the country passed last year,” said Watterson. “16 and a quarter billion dollars, which is 100x the annual budget. And that happened because of people who like coming to clubs like this.”
Saving thousands of jobs like Erich Wilson’s.
“This is a place that gets better and better,” said Wilson.
He’s been here since 2013 and has felt the impact of this space.
“It’s a place where you do more than pay the bills. You interact. You learn. You evolve,” said Wilson.
It’s that impact that has made all the sacrifices worth the struggle for Sean.
“The power of music, friendship and beer is enough to pull us through. And I just can’t wait to do it again.”
Concerts at Happy Dog are sold out this weekend but they have more tickets available the rest of the summer. For more info head to HappyDogCleveland.com
Editor’s Note: The below video aired in May of 2021