The day is finally here: Livingstone’s is reopening.
The popular bar and restaurant in the Tower District held a low-key soft opening Tuesday night, which drew back many loyal patrons.
And now, Livingstone’s will hold a grand reopening Wednesday and officially debut its new look — almost two years since the place was destroyed from a fire.
“This isn’t just a bar to a lot of us here tonight,” said Dustin Ayers, who has been coming to Livingstone’s for 15-plus years. “This place is a relative that everyone likes and had gone away for a long time and you hadn’t seen in a while.
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“They’ve come back home and everyone missed them. There’s no place like this place.”
Stone’s, as it’s sometimes dubbed, has been a Fresno favorite for more than 30 years. The business has been closed since Dec. 20, 2016, after an alleged arsonist set a fire that destroyed the dining room and part of the rest of the building.
The business has been one of the most talked about places in town, with people wondering when it would open.
Livingstone’s owners had originally hoped to reopen in early 2017, shortly after the fire. And the business has been reportedly close to opening before, with the owners saying in summer of 2017 that it was a month or so away from opening.
But delays are not unusual in situations like these. In August, The Fresno Bee reported on the progress the business was making, with new booths and a bar.
After a scheduled inspection in late November, a flurry of rumors about an opening date made the rounds on social media.
Much of Livingstone’s looks the same, including a large marlin that still hangs over the bar area as decoration (it replaced the old, big fish that had burned down).
The establishment’s layout still looks pretty much the same, as does the furniture, which gives Livingstone’s a feel like it’s never changed and never was closed.
But there is one significant difference: The swinging gate leading to the restrooms is gone — as are the old, cramped bathrooms, which are now remodeled to offer handicap accessibility.
“Very happy that Stone’s is back,” said Emilia Haro, who has visited Livingstone’s for more than 10 years. “It’s beautiful. Looks nice. It’s still homey.
“A lot of people will be excited to come back.”
For reservations: (559) 554-9662.