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Local

Closing act? House Café building listed for sale in DeKalb

Owner might close venue after liquor license expires in April

DeKALB – After changing ownership in the past few years, the downtown staple The House Café might close its doors in April after its liquor license expires.

Mark Robinson, owner of The House Café, said the building has been listed for a few months by the current owner of the building, Fareed Haque, a former DeKalb resident and guitar professor at Northern Illinois University.

Robinson said he is renting space for the café and still is trying to buy the building from Haque, but the café as residents know it likely will close when the business’ liquor license expires at the end of April.

“I just can’t get the funding or backing for it,” Robinson said.

The building at 263 E. Lincoln Highway is listed for $549,900 on property sale sites, including Century 21 Commercial's website. Along with housing the café, six apartments above the cafe are included in the sale, according to the listing. Robinson said most if not all of the units are occupied by tenants.

Robinson said The House has seen five owners since the early 2000s. The café originally reopened in October 2016 under the ownership of Robinson after the previous owner announced in August 2016 that the café would close its doors.

When Robinson took over the café, one of his long-term goals was to buy the building eventually for longevity’s sake, he said. If it works out that he can buy the building, he said, he’s looking at bringing in a brewpub concept to replace the café.

“I want people to know we’re closing to make for a better situation,” Robinson said.
If Robinson is not able to buy the building, he said, he’s exploring other options in downtown DeKalb with investors and the city.

Robinson said he’s working on booking larger acts throughout March and April leading up to a going-away bash April 30. But, he said, the aim is to continue having live music acts at the café site.

“It might look different, it might have a different name, but I’m still trying to support the music community,” Robinson said.

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