Bethany Clough

Eating Out: Openings, closings in Fresno’s bar scene

Local restaurant and bar PressBox Sports Grill has opened a third location. This one at 1552 E. Champlain Drive, at Shepherd Avenue in the same shopping center as Vino & Friends.
Local restaurant and bar PressBox Sports Grill has opened a third location. This one at 1552 E. Champlain Drive, at Shepherd Avenue in the same shopping center as Vino & Friends. bclough@fresnobee.com

There’s been about as many changes in the bar and restaurant scene in Fresno lately as there are liquor bottles behind the bar.

OK, I exaggerate a little, but there are plenty of changes to tell you about, including openings, a closing and a cocktail topped with with gummy worms.

First, Club Habanos closed Sunday, Feb. 21.

The bar and nightclub at the southwest corner of Palm and Herndon avenues has been there for 18 years. According to Club Habanos’ Facebook post: “We simply could not come to agreement with the landlord on many issues. No smoking out front? No live music? No theme parties? No special events? NO FUN it goes against everything we are as a business. … So after 18 years of hazy memories, it’s time to move on.”

Disagreements between the owner of the club and the shopping center appear to have led to Club Habanos calling it quits. The shopping center owner declined to comment in detail about the situation, but said there’s more to the story than the Facebook post.

Customers may not have seen the last of Club Habanos, says Adela Padron, who owns the business with her family. They have long wanted to run a business that serves food and were planning to look for a new location at the end of its lease. They could reopen elsewhere – “eventually,” she says.

PressBox

Local restaurant and bar PressBox Sports Grill has opened a third location.

The new one is at 1552 E. Champlain Drive, at Shepherd Avenue in the same shopping center as Vino & Friends. (Other locations are on the Figarden Drive in Fresno and Herndon and Fowler in Clovis.)

The new location has a dark feel with lots of TVs, loud music and a patio.

Open for lunch, dinner and later, the new place has all the favorite foods of the other two locations, including the hand-rolled bacon cheddar stuffed chicken fingers that PressBox is known for. Salads, burgers, pizza, all kinds of appetizers and steak are on the menu.

There are several beers on tap, including a few craft ones. As for cocktails, there are traditional ones and a few nifty ones, including three types of Moscow mule cocktails. There’s also a “dirty root beer” with whipped cream flavored vodka, amaretto and whipped cream.

Mariscos Costa Azul

The newly opened Mariscos Costa Azul Sports Bar is at a familiar location: 3874 N. Blackstone Ave., just north of Dakota Avenue.

You may remember it as the former Rep’s Bar & Grill, then briefly QN4U BBQ & Spirits until the owner of the Clovis QN4U restaurant died, and lately Juanito’s Grill and Cantina.

Mariscos opened two months ago and is a third location for Mariscos Costa Azul Mexican Restaurant. It’s the only one in town with a full bar. The other restaurants are at Shaw Avenue and Sixth Street, and McKinley and Chestnut avenues.

Mariscos brightened up the Blackstone location with new booths and TVs, and a yellow, blue and red paint job.

It has the same favorite dishes of the other locations, including the piña de mariscos – half a pineapple stuffed with abalone, octopus and shrimp and topped with melted cheese.

But it’s the full bar that makes this place different. That means more margaritas, including a jalapeño-pineapple margarita.

There’s also the creative “bootylicious,” a cocktail with pineapple juice, Malibu rum, a few other sweet liqueurs and gummy worms hanging over the side of the glass.

Bethany Clough: 559-441-6431, @BethanyClough

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