Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Yes, Rome Nightclub is still open — but for how long?


Amidst public speculation about its fate, the doors of Fresno’s popular Rome Nightclub remain open. There’s a new general manager in place who is stressing that Rome is still in business and moving forward. In fact, tonight, it hosts a concert with veteran rapper Spice 1.

Jered Brower, the door and floor manager at the club since it re-opened as Rome last year, is the new GM. He told me the club, “is all about moving forward towards a bigger and better future.”

Brower replaces former GM Pino Borelli, who had been in charge at Rome since its inception. He was fired over the weekend, prompting widespread chatter that Rome had, in fact, closed its doors.

Just how long Rome stays open, though, could depend on the fate of its liquor license — which is where things get complicated.

Three key points:

  • There’s a stipulation in the club’s liquor license that states local businessman Kirk Vartanian (who attempted to open the club as The Edge in 2009) cannot have anything to do with the Rome. His involvement would be cause for suspension or revocation of Rome’s liquor license, says Christine Weldon, the district administrator for Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
  • That license belongs to John Janda, a local doctor who is the club’s owner. He’s been largely silent throughout Rome’s tenure. But his conflict with Borelli — which led to the firing — is another power struggle at the oft-troubled Granite Park club. You might remember it first opened as Cabo Wabo until a conflict between rock star Sammy Hagar and developer Milt Barbis shut it down.
  • Borelli says he met with Fresno ABC this week and offered up information that could jeopardize the Janda’s liquor license. Borelli says he informed officials that Vartanian was involved with Rome since the beginning.

“This is how it really opened,” Borelli told me Wednesday night. “Kirk Vartanian had interest in this club. Dr. Janda was put in place strictly because his name was clean. I was going through my own problems. Kirk had his problems. John was just supposed to be a silent partner.”

Vartanian, meanwhile, has been posting items on Facebook saying much of the same — just with many more accusations. He’s been Tweeting too.

All this could put Rome’s liquor license in danger, either temporarily or permanently. Both our local and state ABC offices say there are no new accusations on file for Rome, but that doesn’t necessarily mean nothing is in the works. Brower, however, says he doesn’t expect the liquor license to be an issue for the club in the future.

But if it becomes one, can the club stay open without the big money-maker that is alcohol? If Rome does fall, Borelli has his sights set on taking over.


“I AM going to take it back over,” says Borelli, who previously ran GiGi’s Italian Cucina at Friant and Fort Washington. “I am the type of person when I set my mind to something it’s going to be done.”

For anybody interested in Rome’s current entertainment schedule: It has DJs scheduled Friday and Saturday night, per usual. Tonight’s concert with Spice 1 (pictured) starts at 9 p.m. The first 25 people, Brower says, get in free.

Responses to "Yes, Rome Nightclub is still open — but for how long?"

Sonicfrog says:

Hmmm…. I had no idea it was opened at all! i suspect I’m not the only one.

Stephen says:

Follow the moolah, as they say.

All I’ve ever heard is that Kirk Vartanian was the guy taking home the money every night.

And besides, smells like a duck, looks like a duck, it’s Kirk Vartanian.

Dan says:

I do wonder what is going to be the fall out for the club from last weekend’s murder on Gettysburg. News reports are the shooting stemmed from an incident at the club earlier that evening.

"Chef" Buddy, Sasha the Siberian Huskies dog says:

Kirk says “Qvack!” ;0)

Blair says:

E40, Warren G, Dj Quik, Rob Bass, Too Short, N2Deep, Spice 1…. If this were 1995 Club Rome would be the most epic thing in the history of Fresno.

Danny G says:

Pino is bankrupt and can’t own anything. His restaurant failed and he is bankrupt. He owes Zinkin money. Vartanian is a convicted felon who owes millions of dollars to many people. He hasn’t paid back the people he stole from yet. It looks like they are trying to swindle the doc. This story gets more and more interesting.

Sarah559 says:

I’ve known Pino forever… He is soooooo broke. Kirks Vartanian is too. There businesses failed! Vartanian does more bad for Fresno than anyone!!

mdub420 says:

Kirk is broke? Guy is banging some nice fake ti!ty Latina ass last time I saw. On Bino’s Facebook, some stripper posted something saying John Janda stole money from the club for the past six months. Story keeps on getting funnier, yet Kirk will continue to swindle anyone and anybody in this town. It’s so easy for him it seems.

Angelina Pizano says:

This Pino character, If he ever owns this Rome Night Club, I will tell hundred ofmy friends Not to go there as he not a good person.

Luiz Ferreira says:

Pino owes me money and he is broke and he wants to Own this rome night club. he is daydreaming. he can’t even take care of his family. how in the hell , he will take care this multi-million dollar club. He is a joke, all his life, he could not run any business and he wants to run, Vegas style club here in Fresno. he is in a lot of trouble with The law also.

Childers says:


Dan says:

Well, Kirk came to the right place. Wasn’t Fresno rated one of the “dumbest cities” in the country recently?

Cody says:

It seems that time after time people try to open up an LA/Las Vegas style night club in Fresno and time after time they fail. They attract the wrong crowd that seems to only cause trouble. Also Granite park is kinda in the middle of nothing. The location just doesn’t seem like the right place in town for a night club like that. Put that place in the tower and get a owner that isn’t a felon or serves alcohol to minors, hire quality employees that don’t have a rap sheet as long as the Odyssey and I bet the outcome is different.

tower resident says:

please, god, keep it out of the tower. you just gave me shivers.

Kiel says:

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but burned in a night.

Doug says:

Mike people told me that Kirk has been bothering this doctor for money since his car dealership failed. He’s the guy thats making a big fuss trying to screw the doc over. He and Pino are best friends too! What a trip!

Gil Vasquez says:

Looks like Kiel is right. Rome burned last night. If you didn’t get the invite here it is –

Mike Oz says:

Once again, it is NOT closed. That’s just more spin from the old regime — trying to tell people it’s closed, so nobody will go there, so it will close.

It might ultimately close — for the reasons I outline in this post — but it’s not closed yet. Mike Epps was there last night, according to pics.

Gil Vasquez says:

Well these guy sure do go through a lot of work to convince us otherwise. Kind of makes me wonder if who is really in control there especially when, the way it looks, the person that was fired has control over their website, etc.

Cody says:

After watching the news report the other night did it strike anyone as odd that a 60 something Punjabi Dr. Owns a night club in Fresno who has hosted E40???? I mean what does he really know.about thw business of night clubbing…just struck me as odd.

Rachel says:

Well I went there last night whereas normally I stay on the North side of Fresno and OMG!! I never have seen so many low class, ghetto people all in one place at one time in Fresno. Mind you, sometimes I’ll go to Tower such as Vinni’s or Livingstones and they had 5 times better crowds them what was at Rome. I was taller then most the guys there so the pickings were near nothing for a single girl and I didn’t see one girl who didn’t have on a skin tight dress that didn’t show all their fat rolls & cellulite. Seriously? For a doctor owning this club and all these “rich” people, you would think they wouldn’t be slummy-it with the trash they attract there. It would be amazing to have a nice club in Fresno where people can dance and have a good ambiance. The place has a nice set up but what comes in the doors makes it not even worth a dollar to get in, let alone the $200 we paid for bottle service. Total waste of money. Someone with some real class, and you’re right, not a criminal history needs to take it over and run it like a real business. This place is so ass backwards, it’s a joke. I hope it does close and these people get out of the club business. Take away their license. I couldn’t believe the 2 police cars they had to have on standby outside too. Obviously they have a problem, the people!!

Jaurique says:

Stay on north side then rachal. U sound like a snobby racist. Big, skinny, black, white shouldn’t matter.

Carl says:

Rachel go kill yourself… says:

The Spice 1 concert bombed…30 people showed up(The first 25 people, Brower says, get in free…LOL). and sales have decreased by 20% on certain Fridays & Saturdays since the new management has taken over.I may have a huge inkling why it spread so fast over the web that they were in danger of closing their doors.The old regime has some heavy networking friends.