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After being shut down for nearly nine months, this iconic Tower District bar is coming back

Fire causes extensive damage to Tower District restaurant

Fire caused extensive damage to a longtime Tower District restaurant early Tuesday, Dec. 20 in Fresno, California. Heavy smoke roiled from Livingstone’s Restaurant & Pub when firefighters arrived just before 5 a.m.
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Fire caused extensive damage to a longtime Tower District restaurant early Tuesday, Dec. 20 in Fresno, California. Heavy smoke roiled from Livingstone’s Restaurant & Pub when firefighters arrived just before 5 a.m.

If you have been wondering if Livingstone’s, one of the Tower District’s most iconic hangouts, was ever going to reopen, the answer is yes, give or take a month. That comes as great news to customers and fans of the bar, better known as “Stone’s.”

The popular Fern Street bar and restaurant has been shut down for been nearly nine months after an arson fire tore through the building causing an estimated $400,000 to $500,0000 in damage. A suspect was arrested in the case.

Justin Joseph Silva of Fresno broke into the Tower District restaurant and set the Dec. 20, 2016, blaze, fire investigators say. He was arrested Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017, on charges of arson and burglary.

Although the damage was extensive, the owners did not foresee the project taking this long.

“After watching the plans go to and fro from the architect to the city’s building department for every little discrepancy, we lost 3-5 weeks each trip. Very frustrating indeed,” one of the bar and grill’s owners, Cynthia K. Green, wrote Friday on Facebook. “Our final hurdle is w/the Fresno Fire Department & we’re told that could take anywhere from 4-8 weeks. Patience must literally be a virtue & we’re trying our best to be very virtuous!!!”

Felix Muzquiz, director of the Tower District’s marketing committee, said people have been asking for weeks about the status of Livingstone’s.

“People would see work going on in there and then it would stop,” Muzquiz said. “But now they have some good forward movement and that is a positive thing.”

In her Facebook post, Green thanked the bar and grill’s legion of fans. She also singled out Fresno City Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria and her staff for helping to keep the project moving forward.

“We appreciate everyone’s love, concern & support and WE WILL RETURN like the ‘Phoenix from the flames’ we promised to be,” she wrote. “ Can’t wait to see y’all again, rocking that house on Fern street.”

Stone’s customers were equally excited.

Robert Rodriguez: 559-441-6327, @FresnoBeeBob

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