Fresno Night Clubs May Stay Open Until the Wee Hours of the Morning

October 14, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Fresno bars may be going into the after hours, opening until 4:00 a.m. as the city council prepares to vote on a new set of rules for places that serve alcohol.Businesses that get dance club permits in Downtown Fresno will be able to stay open until 4:00 a.m. under the new rules. But the most significant change could be the one allowing north side bars to stay open until 2:00 a.m.

The Red Zone Sports Grill filled up slowly Wednesday night and employees say the crowd is at its biggest just before the clock strikes midnight.

"When we're closing down, the bar's still busy," said Chef Anthony Chacon. "There are still people in here, still hanging out.

Under Fresno's current bar regulations, the bar has to shut down at midnight because the Red Zone Sports Grill is in northeast Fresno.

The new rules would let it stay open until 2:00 a.m. as long as the neighbors don't complain. Its part of the city's effort to simplify the rules for bars, applying the same rules to every bar everywhere, and give owners a chance to make more money.

"We want to make it favorable for the business owner to be in business and to allow an entertainment culture to thrive in Fresno," said City Council member Andreas Borgeas.

The new rules also create a new opportunity for business owners. Night clubs in Downtown Fresno would still have to stop serving alcohol at 2:00 a.m., but they could stay open until 4:00 a.m.

A few entrepreneurs tell Action News they'll be lining up to open after hours clubs downtown, hoping to lure a different demographic.

"The younger people, yeah," said Nikki Skelton outside of a Tower District bar. "Because I think they'd be excited for anything, any opportunity to get anywhere they could stay out later."

City leaders are banking on the new rules bringing new business downtown, and giving Fresno a more "big city" feel.

City Council is set to vote on the new rules Thursday morning. The new rules only apply to new businesses, but bars that are already in business can apply for new permits.

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