NORTH BAY VILLAGE - It's a place that means so much to so many.
"I met my wife here," said Dosh Oren.
"This has been like my second home for the last four years," said Andrew Novak.
Happy's Stork Lounge, the bar and liquor store that's been serving South Florida since the 1950s, is moving and Friday is the last night in its original home.
"I thought I was going to be here forever. I'm 62, and I thought I would die here, but I guess I'll just die over there," said Steven Inerfeld, co-owner of Happy's.
Inerfeld has owned the bar with his brother for more than 30 years and it's become a pride and joy of his life.
"When you come in here, it's almost like a better version of cheers. You know, you come in here, everybody is family, everyone loves each other everyone knows each other, everyone knows everyone's name," said Inerfeld.
The neighborhood bar is moving, but not far, just right up the road on 79th street to a bigger location that will now sell food to patrons.
"Me and my crew just always loved this place, so to be part of it now, it's kind of like the universe just put it all together. I'm getting goosebumps," said Julia Ning, the new chef of Happy's.
The move comes after the city decided on a new development project.
Happy's original home will turn into a multi-faceted complex with a Publix grocery store, a decision city leaders say will enhance the quality of life for residents.
"That site will also have a component that's a public plaza, so there will be new landscaping, new sidewalks, we're hoping that they will also add a crosswalk to add pedestrian safety," said North Bay Village city commissioner Rachel Streitfeld.
"This is a community where every resident will be able to walk to their bank, grocery store, A-rated elementary school, or their favorite waterfront restaurant within 15 minutes," said North Bay Village city commissioner Goran Cuk.
The sleepy paradise of North Bay Village is evolving into a city that hopes to keep its charm but is bringing new life and amenities to those who live here.
"We have a master plan called NBV 100, and the principles and the pillars of NBV 100 resilience, prosperity and livability and everything that's going to be happening on the causeway is entirely in line with those three principles," said Streitfeld.
It's bittersweet for those who have regularly come to this neighborhood bar.
Yes, the new Happy's will still be open until 5 a.m. and sell liquor late into the wee hours of the morning.
The biggest change: smoking won't be permitted in the new location.
Of course, everything changes with time, but one thing that's here to stay, and the feeling that it gives it's customers — is Happy's.
Happy's new location will open up sometime next week.
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