Fresno Beehive

Downtown Fresno brewery expanding, taking over longtime Tower District nightclub

A crew from Full Circle Brewing Company outside of what used to be Audie’s Olympic Tavern in Fresno’s Tower District. The craft brewery will open a tap room in the location.
A crew from Full Circle Brewing Company outside of what used to be Audie’s Olympic Tavern in Fresno’s Tower District. The craft brewery will open a tap room in the location. Full Circle Brewing Company

It’s just before 11 a.m. on a Tuesday and a woman pops her head in the door of the old Audie’s Olympic Tavern to ask whether the spot is open again.

It’s not.

“But soon,” says Arthur Moye, standing behind a yet-to-be finished bar inside the Tower District nightclub.

It’s not the old saloon-style bar top that people will remember from when this was Audie’s (or Club Fred for that matter). That bar was removed when the spot closed down in 2016.

This new bar top is made from the same killwood you’ll find behind the bar at Full Circle Brewing Company in Chinatown.

It’s a sort of visual tie — Full Circle Brewing Company has a lease on the space and will open it as a tasting room/music venue as early as January.

There have been rumors of an expansion since the brewery organized a community meeting at the building back in August. Those rumors were confirmed when Full Circle’s liquor license notice went up in the window last week.

That’s when people people started popping in the door.

“We were always in the process,” says Moyer, Full Circle’s chief executive officer.

“We were keeping it on on the down low, so as to not disappoint,” if it didn’t end up happening, he says.

Aside from the bar top, there will be other noticeable differences when the space reopens. The bathrooms have been cleaned and updated. The old chandelier and mirrored ball that hung from the ceiling are gone.

Ditto for the old claw-foot tub that served to chill beer cans behind the bar.

The stage is still there (and will be used for both free and ticketed live-music events) but not the blue shag carpeting that added so much character to Audie’s.

A mural is being planned for one wall.

There will be video games on the other.

“This is, in my mind, a beertainment venue,” Moyer says, which fits the brewery’s branding.

From that standpoint, the expansion gets Full Circle into the Tower District and a walkable neighborhood where craft beer is already a known quantity.

“When our patrons aren’t at the brewery, they are at Spokeasy or Goldstein’s,” says Moyer, noting the two Tower District spots.

As such, the tap room will be open at least six days a week and serve as an extension of the brewery’s downtown operations, with up to 13 taps of Full Circle’s signature beers (Juicy NE IPA and Cluster Fuggle Cream Ale to name two) plus specialty brews.

There will also be to-go service for cans and growlers.

The downtown location will continue to house the brewing operations and host the kind of large-scale entertainment events for which it has become known.

For now, the space is tentatively being called Full Circle Olympic, Moyer says, a nod to the history of the building as the home to Audie’s Olympic Tavern and the Olympic Tavern before that.

Moyer is familiar with the kind of pressure that can come with stepping into a place that has that kind of history. He experienced it when he and his partners took over Full Circle in 2016.

But so far the reception to the idea of a revamped nightclub in the spot has been overwhelmingly positive, he says.

“People are already vying to be the fist act on stage.”

Joshua Tehee: 559-441-6479, @joshuatehee

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