Opus Lounge 4-9-13-10.jpg

Opus Lounge on King Street is closing after 17 years. This photo was taken in 2000, the year Mandy Arnold took it over.

Steve Apps

Opus Lounge, the cocktail, tapas and sushi bar that opened on King Street in 2000, is closing. Its last night will be Saturday, Oct. 28.

Mandy Arnold took over the business from its original owners 10 years ago. A new landlord bought the building at 116 King St., last year and she found herself facing a 65 percent rent increase.

"It's bittersweet for me," she said. "I love what I do and I love the place, but I had to make a decision."

The pending lease renewal had Arnold weighing her options: close, move or sell.

It had been a lot of "back-and-forth," but she bought the business when her son was six months old and now he's 10. That factored into the equation.

"I've been doing this since he was born," she said. "At some point I may decide that I am going to reopen, but right now I am just going to take some time off."

Arnold, who has been in the restaurant and bar industry her entire career and previous to Opus managed Chili's Grill & Bar East, said she'd like to thank all of the customers who supported Opus over the years.

The best part of owning the cocktail lounge was the people, both the customers and her employees, she said.

"The atmosphere was just amazing. The different people, the interactions, the conversations. Just a lot of great people through the years."

Arnold hasn't yet made any plans for the future beyond taking some time off to spend with her son.

"I'm just going to go from there," she said, adding that the decision to close has been an emotional one. "It's all happening so fast right now."

Read more restaurant news at go.madison.com/restaurantnews.

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Wisconsin State Journal food writer Samara Kalk Derby brings you the latest news on the Madison area's eclectic restaurant scene.