New life is once again coming to the Downtown Club.
The 1919 building on Kern Street with massive skylights and a place in Fresno’s heart will reopen as a bar and banquet hall.
The owners of the building plan to run the business this time. The bar will be open for happy hour and light dinners. The main dining area can be rented for special events like wedding receptions, said Stephanie Stine, who co-owns the building.
“We were just deciding whether we were going to sell it or keep it, and we just decided we were going to open it ourselves,” Stine said.
They haven’t finalized a menu yet, but have hired a restaurant manager with more than 15 years experience.
They are hoping to open by the beginning of September.
The Downtown Club has been home to a revolving door of businesses in recent years. It was last open as The Republican restaurant, which shut down last summer. Before that it was another restaurant using the Downtown Club name.
Most people, however, remember 2120 Kern St. as the Downtown Club, the members-only restaurant and event center that was open for more than 30 years. It closed in 2013 amid declining membership and growing debt.
Stine and a co-owner have owned the building for about five years. It was for sale late last year, its unique interior and history detailed then in the Bee’s real estate section.
When asked why the building owners could succeed when previous restaurateurs renting the business struggled with high power bills and other challenges, Stine replied, “As the property owner we have a better advantage than someone who is leasing. We’ve remodeled or upgraded some parts.”
Prices will be lower than previous restaurants and the business will be open to the public.
Stine said she’s excited to be part of downtown’s revitalization.
“We’re adding another place where people want to be,” she said.