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The Woman Behind the Brewery District

Category: New & Noteworthy

Have you ever been to Downtown Fresno’s Brewery District? Drank a cold draft from Tioga or sat in the velvet comfort of Modernist’s aesthetic? If not, you’re missing out. You might wonder how this hidden pocket of Fresno entertainment came to be.

If you were to ask Nora Monaco she’d say “It takes a village”. Nora is the founder of AngelStar and the VP of Monaco Enterprises which is intent on further advancing and promoting the Brewery District. She started her company, AngelStar, with nothing but the imagination of what it could be and applies that same concept to The Brewery District today. The group of buildings on Fulton St, were used mainly as warehousing when they were purchased by her back in 2004. They needed to be brought back to life. Historically, the larger building at 701 Fulton (pictured) was built as the Anchor Stage Depot which served travelers though out the state. The depot included a large waiting room, cafe, barber shop and other local businesses.

Today, The Brewery District of Fresno is the up and coming place for all to enjoy. Nora and her family started expanding downtown Fresno’s newest destination after renting one of the locations to Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co. With the vision to expand their business, Mike Cruz from Tioga-Sequoia came to her with the proposal to add a beer garden at the location they had leased for storage and offices. Nora enthusiastically welcomed the idea. After this innovative request, she saw over time that there was a larger possibility that if a full and vibrant Brewery District could be created, it could transform the entire area.  She understood this vision would need to be created tenant by tenant to be successful.

“Create the things you wish existed,” is a motto Nora holds to very strongly when approaching the changes to the area. She makes it known that where the Brewery District is today, she did not create it alone. The success of the Brewery District can be attributed to the combined efforts of Nora and her family as well as all of the tenants that have a vision of their own that they work to create in the district. What is now Full Circle Brewery had once been an auto body shop that was later transformed into an innovative brewery/entertainment spot. Modernist Cocktails created an amazing ambiance that people continue to rave about and spread the word, filling the bar night after night. She says that “as the building owners, you can only do so much without the vision from whoever is going to take over that space.” This helps when Nora takes into consideration what comes next in the Brewery District. The goal is to keep the Brewery District innovative and interesting and add businesses in the district, making it a “go to” location in the Fresno area. There also is an amazing alley beautification project that is in the early stages, which she hopes will add even more opportunities and support for the district.

Currently, Nora has some larger spaces available in the district and is looking for new tenants to add more food choices and other elements in the future. Nora’s vision for the Brewery District comes from the desire to make a difference that is timeless. She wants the success from the businesses to have a ripple effect that positively influences the area and our entire community.

If you are interested in the following spaces please contact Nora at (408) 310-2233 or
·  701 Fulton St Fresno, CA 93721 (5,700 sq. ft) and (11,000 sq. ft)
·  716 Broadway St Fresno, CA 93721 (17,000 sq. ft) (Old Pep Boys)

Photo Credit: Cris Acevedo, @img.cris

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