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Closures hit locally owned restaurants, clubs

It’s been a rough few weeks for local restaurants, bars and nightclubs. You’ve read about some of these closures here at the Beehive, but here’s the final tally:

They all closed for their own reasons, and you can read more about them in this weekend’s story that takes a look at the problem. The one thing they all have in common is that they’re still struggling with the lackluster economy.

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Starline Grill may be latest local casualty

Starline Grill appears to be the latest business added to the list of recent closures.

Two employees confirmed today that the Tower District restaurant and bar is closed (not to be confused with Starline the club next door, which is still open).

It’s not clear why yet and the owner hasn’t returned our calls, but we’ll update you if he does.

Starline Grill first opened in 2006 as Lipari’s Italian Grill and quickly morphed into a late-night hangout spot, with the outdoor patio and bar a refuge for smokers.

It joins other recent closures, including Roe, Express and Iron Bird Cafe.

Another nightclub closure: Roe

We’ve already mourned the loss of one nightlife staple today, now here’s another, on the opposite spectrum: North Fresno nightspot Roe has closed it doors too.

The news is getting passed around Facebook (above) and I’ve confirmed it with in-the-know nightclub sources. The Roe Facebook page, which disappeared for a while today, is now back with some remembrances from employees.

The club and sushi bar (but did anybody actually eat there? apparently not) at Palm and Nees has been a staple since that Park Place shopping center opened in 2007. It’s gone through a number of promoter changes, a time when people thought it was closing and some drama, but Roe managed to outlast its ultralounge peers Twist and 2039, all three of which opened in late 2007/early 2008.

No word yet on what’s happening next at the space, but it’ll certainly become something again soon. Anything you’d like to see in its place?

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.

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