Members of the Omaha band Cursive are the new owners of Omaha bar and music venue O’Leavers Pub.
Cursive members Tim Kasher, Ted Stevens and Matt Maginn, along with Chris Machmuller of the band Ladyfinger, took on management duties of the bar on Dec. 1 and are operating under a temporary operating permit. They’re awaiting a permanent liquor license, Machmuller said.
Maginn and Machmuller, who were at the bar at 1322 S. Saddle Creek Road on Wednesday night, said they bought it because the previous owner, Chris Mello, was looking to sell the business, but didn’t want it to change much.
“He still needs a place to hang out,” Machmuller said.
Machmuller has tended bar at O’Leavers for nearly 10 years, and Maginn and other members of Cursive have frequented the bar for just as long, occasionally playing shows there. Maginn said it was among his favorite Omaha venues. When Mello took over the bar in the early 2000s, O’Leavers was a unique institution in Omaha.
“There weren’t a lot of bars that would book nearly unknown bands,” Maginn said.
Under the new ownership, the bar will remain a live music venue, Maginn said. In fact, they don’t plan to change the bar much at all.
So far, they’ve painted the bar’s ceiling and have begun upgrades to the bar’s notoriously scary restrooms (though Maginn said patrons are still welcome to Sharpie the bathroom walls). They’ve also found a huge vintage tiki bar that will likely become the centerpiece of a tiki lounge.
Machmuller will manage the place. Stevens will help with booking shows, and Maginn said he would help out as needed.
As of Wednesday, few patrons had noticed the change in ownership.
That’s by design.
“We bought it because we love it,” Maginn said.
Reach Cara Pesek at (402) 444-1052 or firstname.lastname@example.org