I am far past my Chico State days in which I happily lived near 5th and Ivy, drank because the day ended in Y, and visited my favorite watering hole for power hour. That doesn’t mean I’m past needing a go-to bar or two, though; I just have different criteria these days.
When I’m in a good mood, I wear bright colors; when I'm in a sad mood I wear dark colors. Similarly, when I’m in a good mood, I want one type of bar and drink and another type of bar and drink for when I’m in a bad day. Every adult over the age of 21 that can drink responsibly should have a cocktail and bar for every occasion and every emotion.
There are a ton of delicious drinks at many incredible local watering holes in Downtown Chico—you could easily spend an entire week exploring them all. These are just a few of my favorite spots and cocktails that help me get through whatever mood I’m in.
Do you need a reset? Are you in desperate need for some adulting? Escape the college scene and go to Argus Bar + Patio. Nuzzled in downtown Chico, Argus is a trendy spot to enjoy good drinks and conversation after a long day. Argus also does a pretty great job of recreating the feeling of the jazz era when they had local musicians like the Kelly Brothers Dueling Piano’s and Pat Pull play there.
My cocktail of choice is the Durty Girl cocktail. Not only are the inappropriate jokes endless when you order this drink, but it’s also the perfect reset after any long day. The Durty Girl is made with strawberry infused vodka, lemon, and fresh blackberry. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Beware though, they are dangerous. They’re so good, drinking them comes as naturally as drinking water.
Favorite Cocktail: Durty Girl
Honorable mentions: Moscow Mule with Angostura and lavender bitters; Charlie Brown
There are only a handful of places in Chico you can go if you feel ready to party and want to put on your dancing shoes. Madison Bear Garden, or “The Bear” as it’s locally known, happens to be my favorite one. Laid-back sports bar by day, ready-to-get-its-freak-on by night, The Bear has everything you could want to party and more.
There are some people in the world that are woo-woo kind of people, and there are some that aren’t. If you’re not a wooooo-er, this probably isn’t the bar for you. If you are, the perfect drink to try is the Woo Woo, a specialty shot made with vodka, peach Schnapps, and cranberry juice. Although it may not technically be a cocktail, you do have to shake it, so I think it counts. If you’re going to drink, you may as well make sure it tastes good, right? It’s the perfect drink and atmosphere for a night out on the town.
Favorite Cocktail: Woo-Woo*
Honorable mentions: Scooby Snacks*, Push-ups*, Wake smackers*
*These are all technically shots.
There’s nothing I love more than meeting a colleague or good friend after work for a drink, and Christian Michaels has one of the best happy hours in town for such an event. What’s great about Christian Michaels is that it has everything you need: Delicious appetizers, mouthwatering entres, affordable happy hour finger foods, and undeniably delicious cocktails. With a beautiful lounge and elegant dining area, it’s a great place to go after work but before you go home to change into a pair of jeans.
Christian Michaels serves many delicious cocktails, but my favorite is their Pimm's Cup, a combination of Pimms No. 1 gin, cucumber, and fresh fruit, topped with soda water, a sprig of mint, and served over ice. Not only delicious, it’s the perfect cocktail for that post-work but pre-party hour.
Favorite Cocktail: Pimm’s Cup
Honorable mentions: Lemon Drops
B Street Public House is my favorite bar to go to when I’m happy, and if you’re not happy when you enter, you’ll definitely be happy when you leave. On a beautiful Chico day, with the sun shining in my face, there’s nothing more majestic than sitting in the back patio of B Street and sipping on a drink. What could make this even better? Weekend brunch on the patio with some true New Orleans-style beignets that are to die for. I can’t feel anything but happiness on these days.
My go-to happy cocktail at B Street is their Grapefruit Cooler—an effervescent mix of gin, freshly squeezed grapefruit, thyme and lime juice. It doesn’t even taste like a cocktail, which makes this lightweight, and her taste buds, even happier.
Favorite Cocktail: Grapefruit Cooler
If I’m being honest, of all these bars, I’ve probably spent the most time in Duffy’s Tavern, which makes it feel a bit like Cheers—a place where everybody knows your name. And also a place you can visit without the worries of judgment by anyone, play pool and enjoy music, or grab a drink and sit in the corner. Really, Duffy’s is a place that has a little bit of everything for everyone.
During the day, you can use the jukebox and pick whatever tune your heart desires; at night, it transforms into a true locals bar. There’s something about this bar that makes it the perfect place to drown your sorrows away with a cocktail or two. My go-to for when I need to drown my sorrows? A Duffy’s gin and tonic. It’s simple, delicious and has always treated me right when I needed it the most.
As a bonus, if you’re looking to dance away your sorrows in an epic dance night, make sure to check out Duffy’s on Wednesday nights.
Favorite Cocktail: Gin and tonic
Honorable mentions: Dirty Shirly's—a Shirly Temple with vodka