The House Cafe to remain closed

The House Cafe, 263 E. Lincoln Highway, was a center for the local music scene until it closed in May. The venue hosted local bands, traveling acts and drag shows, among its wide catalog of acts.

There has been no activity to reopen The House since it closed its doors back in May, raising the possibility that it may be gone for good.

A longtime staple of downtown DeKalb, The House provided a place for students and residents to “meet, perform and appreciate art,” according to its website. Its weekly open mic nights have offered a home for local musicians to play to a crowd, possibly for the first time. In addition, well regarded alternative bands  like Charly Bliss, Beach Slang, Turnover, and Remo Drive would add The House to their national tours. The venue also had a wide variety of food and drink, including a diverse vegan and vegetarian menu.

In January, building owner Fareed Haque put the building, 263 E. Lincoln Highway, up for sale due to a desire to move out of DeKalb, according to a Jan. 17 Northern Star Article. There have been no buyers to keep the entertainment venue open.

Owner Mark Robinson said he is financially unable to purchase the building, and has decided to close the doors of The House Cafe due to fears of increased rent in a Jan. 17 Northern Star article.  

The closing may affect local musicians most of all. The closest establishment offering an open mic is in Yorkville, a 41 minute drive from NIU. This could be prohibitive to artists who don’t have a car or are unable to spend the time and money to drive there. 

Open mic nights are the cornerstone of a music scene because they provide newer artists with a welcoming environment to hone their skills. The House also offered  an audience specifically there to experience music, which may not be the case at a bar or restaurant. The House’s location in the heart of downtown DeKalb meant people in DeKalb could come and listen to or play music in a convenient location, an advantage which is now gone. 

Robinson said he wants to open a brewing company that provides the same concert opportunities as The House. also said there will not be any information about this venture until August 2020, according to a Jan. 17 Northern Star article. 

The House was a DeKalb institution offering a unique blend of foods, drinks and performances to both NIU students and town residents alike.