Otto’s back in business

By Matt Gronlund

DeKalb bar patrons and fans of live music have reason to celebrate with the reopening of Otto’s.

Otto’s, 118 E. Lincoln Hwy., reopened its doors June 13 after being closed for over three months.

In April, Otto’s was forced to close when its state liquor license was revoked because of tax problems. Otto’s owner Bob Daniels owed a total of $120,000 to the state and to the Internal Revenue Service.

Daniels said he has worked out a payment plan to pay the owed taxes between himself and the state.

“It’s the same offer I made eight years ago, two years ago, one year ago and 2 1/2 months ago,” Daniels said. “They (the state) didn’t take it before and they finally agreed to it.”

Daniels said at this point he’s happy with the agreement.

Otto’s will continue to showcase the live bands it has in the past, but will not return to a fully-booked schedule until, at the earliest July, Daniels said.

This summer, Otto’s will have live music but not as much as before the closing. Previously, live music could be heard at Otto’s five to six nights a week.

“We’re working on getting things organized right now,” Daniels said.

In reaction to the reopening, he said his patrons are extremely happy.

Joe Curtis, a senior theatre major, said he was very happy the bar reopened.

“I’m very happy and I hope it stays open for a long time,” he said. “I love the live music and the people.”

Another Otto’s fan, Dianne Rodriguez, a senior English/Human and Family Resources major said, “I’ll definitely go back. I miss the open stage on Sundays and seeing the Renfields.”

In a last attempt to save the bar from closing indefinitely, a benefit concert was held in April at the Jungle, 1027 W. Hillcrest Drive, to raise money.

“It came off and everything worked out well,” Daniels said. “The bands were great, but the turnout was low.”

Nearly $500 was raised at the benefit, which was used to reinstate the liquor license.