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Popular Fresno gay club The Express is closing

Ten years is longer than many Fresno nightclubs make it. That’s a mark The Express — a gay/lesbian-centered club on Blackstone Avenue under Highway 180 — recently hit. But it won’t make it 11 years. Not under its current regime anyway.

The Express’ ownership used New Year’s Day to announce that its club would be closing this week. On Facebook, the news was met with sadness from customers saying things like: “With no Express there’s no more gay nightlife in my eyes.”

No exact closing date was given, but the club is expected to announce a few more events before week’s end. From the announcement  by Lee Morris and Steve McBride:

As we complete our 10th year in business as the operators of the historic Express Nightclub, it is with great sadness that we must call it quits. Our decision is based on a combination of a bad economy and too many nightclubs catering to our targeted customer base. We have supported the club through this time with all of our personal financial resources, and there is just nothing left to give. We have resisted the temptation to broaden our customer base, instead focusing on traditional LGBT culture and activities. It unfortunately didn’t work. Although we have held many successful events since the remodeling, it just isn’t enough to allow us to continue the operation.

When we made the decision in November 2002 to form a new nightclub in this historic location, it wasn’t done with the idea that we would make a lot of money. We thought that something in our community’s entertainment was lacking, and wanted to take a shot at providing what we thought was needed. Our friendly bartenders have provided quality beverages at competitive prices, and our DJ’s have always been dedicated and skilled entertainers. The Xotica Show by DivaX is the longest running successful weekly event in our local nightlife. We brought Club Papi events to Fresno. Our Sunday barbecue and “Half Price” nights were popular social events for many years.

The announcement goes on to say The Express will be for sale, which leaves the possibility of new life for the club.

We will be listing the Express Nightclub for sale immediately. This is a turnkey operation, complete with a liquor license, all bar equipment, sound equipment, light shows, and furniture.

At GayFresno.com, blogger Brooke offers some perspective:

It was so nice being in a place and feeling comfortable being yourself… especially somewhere local. Lee (the owner) has always donated money towards LGBT events. He has always been a big supporter of Gay Fresno and Gay Central Valley. It saddens me that we are losing such a huge person to our community and dare I say historic part of our local LGBT culture. I’ll never forget the great times had there when there really were no other options.

Club Legends and North Tower Circle are among the other gay/lesbian nightclubs in Fresno. GayFresno.com has a more complete list. Ten years ago, a loss such as this would have been crippling for the local LGBT community. It’s a testament to The Express and its legacy that in 2013, Fresno’s gay nightclub scene has as many remaining options as it does.

[photos: The Express]

Responses to "Popular Fresno gay club The Express is closing"

Peter Robertson says:

Alas, the times have changed and the LGBTQ+ community has mainstreamed into society, as we have always wanted it to. But, the downside is that LGBTQ+ venues (watering holes) with our history are slowly slipping away.

So long and thank you, THE EXPRESS, for the memory.

Jason Scott says:

That is very true, Peter. Many of our communities youth now feel comfortable enough to goto non LGBT venues. This is so saddening to hear. But progress is progress. I hope we don’t forget where we came from.

Anonymous says:

This is sad news. It was great to see that Fresno had options for the LGBTQ+ community, but unfortunate news that Fresno cannot support more than one mainstream venue. Club Legends has been a major competitor for their crowd, however, Legend’s strict security, scores of tacky of lottery giveaways, and its increasingly rough and rowdy demographic has turned me off.

hahahahah says:

HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAH YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS>

Anonymous says:

I’ve never been to Express but heard a lot about it. It is really sad to hear that the club is closing, and to see how some of my good friends sad. I’ve heard a lot off great things about this place and how you can be yourself without any judgement, just nothing but fun. As for the other places that are doing the whole giveaway deals to buy thier customers is not cool, but I guess that’s competition for you..Well great storys and maybe I will have to stop by before it closes..

John says:

To: HAHAHAHAHA……

I have found that what goes around comes around… Someday, YOU will find this out the hard way.

Lol says:

Score one for the straight peeps?

hahahahah says:

“The hard way.” Ha ha I get it!

Larry Lane says:

I was treated very poorly by the staff of The Express, especially Steve McBride, when I went there in the mid 90′s, but I did meet my only partner there 20 years ago.

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