Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Granite Park’s Club Rome opening tonight, despite arson attempt


Seems like you can’t have a Granite Park nightclub opening without a little bit of 11th hour chaos.

In the case of Club Rome — which opens tonight and takes over the old Cabo Wabo/Edge space — that came in the form an early morning arson attempt.

Here’s the news from The Bee’s Jim Guy:

A new nightclub in the troubled Granite Park development will go ahead with its debut tonight despite a bungled attempt to firebomb the building this morning.

Club Rome, which is opening at the site of the failed Cabo Wabo and The Edge nightclubs in east-central Fresno, was the target of an arson attempt about 4 a.m. this morning, according to the Fresno Fire Department. Firefighters found flames at the front of the building and heavy smoke inside.

Club Rome employees were cleaning up damage this morning and entertainment director Lewis Everk said damage was minimal.

“The fire did not stop us,” he said.

CBS 47 was also live on the scene this morning and, in an interview, Everk promised nationally known celebrities would attend the opening tonight, but didn’t name names. Speculation online has ranged from the cast of “Jersey Shore” to cast-offs from the “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette.” (47′s Facebook page has a good thread on the celeb angle). Club Rome has booked globetrotting DJ Chris Garcia as its opening night music guest and has Fabian Archie on Saturday. Cover is $10, $20 for VIP — and for what it’s worth, the club looked pretty nice in 47′s live shots.

I’ve tried to get more of the back story on the club’s ownership and its plans past this weekend, but my questions have gone unanswered by Everk. In a CBS 47 story earlier this week, Everk wouldn’t name the owners of the club. This new regime, however, has a long way to go before it reaches the chaos of the previous two nightclubs in that space.

Club Rome’s predecessor, The Edge, barely got its doors open. It didn’t have a liquor license and ended up only being open for one night. Owner Kirk Vartanian got arrested the next weekend and we never heard about The Edge again.

Cabo Wabo, meanwhile, had an even messier history. It took many delays for the club to finally open, and there was much hubbub about when namesake Sammy Hagar would show up. Eventually, the relationship between Hagar and developer Milt Barbis soured and Cabo Wabo closed after just a few months. Later, the two sides sued each other.

By contrast, a fire that caused small damage at Club Rome isn’t THAT big of a deal. But it does seem to lend a bit of credence to anybody who believes Granite Park and that nightclub in particular are “cursed.”

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Responses to "Granite Park’s Club Rome opening tonight, despite arson attempt"

jaurique says:

sad to hear that people would do things like this… Hopefully they can optimize security video and catch these losers. But some people have mentality that they focus more on knocking others down then putting effort on thier own place. In Fresno we dont have promoters we have demoters!!! on positive note This nightclub is just what Fresno needs I cant wait to attend tonight!!!

mdub420 says:

This smells like something a disgruntled baby daddy would do. The baby daddy is mad that his latina baby momma has been hooking up with Jimmy Martinez. unfortunately, that list is way too long and it will take forever to track down the culprit. I hope the club has a great opening night. Wish I could attend.

Anne says:

If this club ever advertises an event with a real band, I’ll consider going. If it’s going to be all DJs, playing pop, hiphop, etc., they will not get any business from me and my friends.

Stephen says:

“This nightclub is just what Fresno needs.”

Yes. Another nightclub. That’s what Fresno needs.

And another hole in the head. Yes.

Jason says:

I couldn’t resist saying something… So much negativity! :( Is Fresno getting old? Are those hip hoppers too much for Fresno? Merle Haggard is coming to the dair and it looks like a few people are SUPER excited! He’s 73 and i respect him as a musician and icon. But really all this bashing of the “club scene” and “those people” and this guy talking about baby momma drama?? wow… Fresno is entertaining at least :) Thanks for the story Mike!

Mikel says:

I just hope they hand feed me grapes and let me wear my toga…when in Rome.

Joy says:

What Fresno NEEDS is viable entertainment businesses with REAL business plans, quality entertainment that caters to the people who will come out and pay money!

I don’t care if it’s hip-hop, country, speed metal, or jazz lounge…

What I do care about is that the venue is comfortable, security is in place, the management and owners make an effort to keep it a nice place for people to want to be, and the police and city try to COOPERATE with business owners who DO want to do those things. We don’t need less entertainment of any one kind… we just need entities working TOGETHER to make Fresno a place for ANYone, who likes ANY kind of music or entertainment, to go out and have a good time without worrying about an antagonistic atmosphere. Period.

So if some brainless moron is tearing the sink out of the wall at a club somewhere… the management can count on FPD to come pick the moron up and not blame it on the club, and instead blame it on the idiot who doesn’t know how to act.

I wish the new club luck and success. We need to stop thinking in terms of “Fresno doesn’t need another…” and more in terms of “Fresno needs as much SUCCESSFUL business as possible!”

So, whoever owns the place… I hope they do it right, set a standard for behavior from their patrons, set a standard for entertainment and atmosphere to PROVIDE for their patrons, and people find it a great place to have a good time.

I won’t know, because it’s not my cup of tea. I was never a club scene person, but it’s apparent that PLENTY of people are… And the business owner who can do it right is the guy that’s going to be successful, make money, and make a lot of people happy.

Nick Tarjoman says:

You take off the letter M in ROME and you get ROE…No wonder they got arson.Don’t mess with takin’ business from me…Mua Ha ha.

Michael says:

Arson at a shady nightclub? Sounds like a bad episode of 24.

jaurique says:

great comment….

mick odd says:

great comment is a great comment….

jaurique says:

Joy – you said it all perfectly… for the rest -support Fresno and if you dont like what there is to offer find ways to make it happen. not bash those out there doing it.

dont build in the GHETTOE

outdone says:

I thought this was still in he hands of Kirk V.

From the flyer and website, Amanda Florez is involved, which according to Facebook, is “In a relationship with Kirk Vartanian”.

Maybe trying to stay behind the scenes to not attract negativity to the establishment.

Jeffrey Whitaker says:

I know Im nit picking…but the correct spelling for February is…FEBRUARY. Of course Im talking about the 2nd flier.