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Iron Bird Cafe closes … again

The last coconut mocha has been served at the Iron Bird Cafe. The downtown business on Fulton Street in the Iron Bird Lofts is officially closed.

Owner Ann Liao said Wednesday that the business wasn’t making enough money to cover the cost of being open 16 hours a day, seven days a week. The cost of coffee beans and other expenses kept rising as Iron Bird struggled to serve early birds and a growing late night crowd. Rather than skimp on quality to cut costs, she decided to close.

It’s the second time a business named Iron Bird Cafe has closed in the location. The original coffee shop, which opened about the same time as the lofts, didn’t make it. Liao, who owns three Teazer World Market locations in Fresno, reopened Iron Bird Cafe about 10 months ago with a partner who specializes in coffee. They revamped the menu and brought in several new global types of coffee.

The regret in Liao’s voice was palpable when we spoke via phone.
“It’s tearing me apart,” she said. “We gave it our best try and I think customers loved it. People who do support it, support it 100%. We never really heard anything bad about about the service or the coffee.”

Iron Bird closed Dec. 31 for the New Year’s holiday and will not reopen.

Perhaps anticipating the round of doubts about downtown this might inspire, she said this in a goodbye message on the Iron Bird’s Facebook page:

The huge amount of construction going on in downtown and the many people moving towards this area hold great promise. We believe that soon someone with a fresh set of eyes will be able to make that location their own and make it happen in a way that works for the area.

Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Besides the Fresno Film Festival, Big Hat Days, the BLOB Awards, and checkin’ out the new monster-sized Forever 21

1. BE AN APRIL FOOL
It’s April Fool’s Day (no jokes here, at least not from me), so you might as well laugh. Here are a couple comedy options for tonight — one at Teazer’s downtown with our friend Travis Sheridan headlining and another with headliner Speedy at Thai Palms on the north side, which extends its April Foolin’ until Saturday.

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Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Other than the George & Reba concert and that big football game on Sunday.

1. GET LIQUORED UP AT FULTON 55
It’s weekend No. 2 of Fulton 55, Fresno’s newest concert venue. Not that we’re saying you should get sloshed or anything, but the headline for this weekend is that the club’s liquor license is in effect, which is good news for the drinkers among us (that’s almost all of you, right?). Tonight brings us blues band Rod Piazza and The Mighty Flyers ($15) and Saturday has Ska Parade 20th Anniversary Tour w/ Monkey, Go-Go 13, Warsaw Poland Brothers, MC Tazy Phyllipz, King Sugar and more. ($15)

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Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

While you get started on my 2011 Fresno checklist

1. CELEBRATE WITH AUDIE
Audie from Audie’s Olympic is having his birthday this weekend — and he’s celebrating with a big two-night live music party. A few things to note: There is an actual band named Meth Leppard (!!) and Strange Vine (one of the best bands in town) is playing Saturday night with burlesque dancers also part of the show. I don’t think you can wrong either night, folks.

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Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

While Fresno mourns Gen. Vang Pao

1. PUMP UP YOUR KICKS … AND GET TO VISALIA
The Beehive is involved in Saturday night’s Foster the People show for one very important reason: I think Foster the People has a crapload of potential. So of course I think you should see them at The Cellar Door. If you’ve never been to The Cellar Door this is a good chance to see the coolest music venue in the Valley (I named it venue of the year for 2010 in my column today, btw). Here’s an interview with Foster the People’s frontman Mark Foster about the band’s busy year ahead. See ya Saturday night! Until then, enjoy more “Pumped Up Kicks.”

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Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Remember to wear your raincoat …

1. PICK PICKFORD
Jazz lovers, head down to Club One Casino tonight to see saxophonist Loren Pickford. It’s nice to see Pickford, considered a Fresno music icon by many, back in town. He’s a Fresno native, who spent many years in New Orleans, then set up shop in Kansas City after Hurricane Katrina. Pickford was nominated for a Grammy in 1991, making him one of the few Fresno musicians to get that honor. It’s also nice to see Club One Casino doing more concerts. It was a great venue at the re:FUSE Festival. More details here.

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