TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The grand re-opening for The Ottawa Tavern on Adams Street under its new ownership was one week ago, Friday, March 13.
The new owner, Zach Jacobs, is still reeling from the fact they had to close just two days later, after Governor Mike DeWine gave the order to shut down all bars and restaurants in Ohio to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
"It breaks my heart that I have a stage just sitting empty and musicians needing work. This is their craft, this is their livelihood," Jacobs said. He is also a guitarist for the band, Whisper Disco. "My greatest joy was to be able to provide that stage and have artists connect with people, and I can't do that right now."
One of those artists, a local pop-punk band Wild Nights was on the lineup to perform at the Tavern on Sunday night, their first live gig in months. Trent Turshon, guitarist for that band, said it takes a lot of time and effort to coordinate those events and rehearse.
"It definitely hurts to see all this hard work of setting up shows and having a long list of tour dates you had set up basically thrown into the fire, and there's nothing you can do about it," he said.
Despite having the blues, bandmates are still going on with the show, rehearsing through video chat services as best they can, with some possible live-streamed shows for fans in the near future.
According to Jacobs, once the COVID-19 pandemic eventually blows over, he and other bar owners would look into hosting an end-of-prohibition-era style party, inviting local bands to the stage once again.
"We're all just itching to play," Jacobs said. "This is our nature, it's what we do."