Baristas to bartenders

Starbucks in downtown Chico looks to sell beer, wine and small plates.

When I saw the large piece of white paper in the window at the downtown Chico Starbucks a few weeks back, I ran through the crosswalk, thinking my eyes were deceiving me. There's no way that could be what I think it is, I thought. But there in black and white, it was confirmed: Our downtown Starbucks is looking to serve beer and wine.

Back in August, Starbucks announced that it was beginning to pilot Starbucks Evenings in select in cities around the U.S. The idea was to begin serving craft beer, wine and small plates in Starbucks coffee shops in these pilot cities, which were mostly major metropolitan areas like Denver, Miami, Los Angeles and Brooklyn.

I read the news articles thinking it would take years for the concept to trickle down to a small Northern California city like Chico. But, as that public announcement in the window made known, our downtown Starbucks is currently in the alcohol licensing phase, which would pave the way for Starbucks Evenings to be offered at 246 Broadway. A sample menu listed on the company website includes truffle mac and cheese, bacon-wrapped dates, truffle popcorn and about 10 wines, with representation from California, Oregon and Washington, in addition to foreign brands.

The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has the license listed as “pending,” with no timeline for when it may be approved. A call to Starbucks media relations and return email from “Starbucks Press” noted that implementing Starbucks Evenings is “a long and thoughtful process and the permit filing is just one of many steps we take.”

In the meantime, if you want to see what the future could hold, the nearest Starbucks locations that offer Starbucks Evenings are in Roseville (on Foothill Boulevard and East Roseville Parkway) and Sacramento (on Greenhaven Drive). Looking at the company's website, if the alcohol license goes through for Chico, as of now, it would be the northernmost California city to offer Starbucks Evenings.

Read all about it It's rare that much of my reading these days extends beyond newspapers and emails, but I had to pick up a copy of Entrepreneur Magazine after finding out that Chico's own Marc Preston was featured in the publication.

Preston, the CEO of Sochule Inc. and HelloTel App (which was featured in a previous Bottom Line), is interviewed for a piece titled “5 Traits That Distinguish Serial Entrepreneurs.” It's cool to see a Chicoan named in such a prominent publication and Preston shares some great insight into how to succeed in a cutthroat world.