Entertainment: We love the night life

Atomic Punks at LaSalles

Atomic Punks at LaSalles

Photo by Tom Angel

Thanks to its university students’ insatiable need for night-time entertainment, Chico is the top spot for music, dancing, live theater and movies north of Sacramento. Much of the fun is concentrated in Chico’s compact downtown, but plenty of bars and clubs are located elsewhere in town.

Music suiting all tastes can be found in Chico, from classical to country, from jazz to punk. University and community theater productions are staged regularly, and for moviegoers Chico offers all the latest big-budget flicks as well as hard-to-find art movies and documentaries.

Check out the Calendar in the latest issue of the Chico News & Review for an up-to-date listing of events.

Music and Dancing

The Brick Works
Second and Wall, 895-7700. Voted one of Chico’s best places to hear live music; also a great place to dance and hear different DJs. Country, progressive, classic and alternative. Friday is 18-and-over night.

Buck’s Crazy Horse Saloon
303 Main St. (upstairs), 894-5808. This large facility offers country music and dancing every night of the week.

Café Max
First and Salem, 345-6655. Coffeehouse folk as announced.

Humboldt Café and Studio
265 Humboldt Ave., 893-1979. Live music on different nights. Call for listings.

Moxie’s Café and Gallery
128 Broadway, 345-0601. Live music, Internet access, vegan and vegetarian cuisine.

229 Broadway, 893-1891. Showcase for cover, alternative, ska, and reggae bands, as well as a disco D.J. in a garden atmosphere.

Madison Bear Garden
316 W. Second St., 891-1639. Disco upstairs in this phantasmagorical, college crowd hangout. Also offers the famous Bear Burger and a full grill.

Mr. Lucky
319 Main. 891-1853. Live original local rock and cover bands several nights a week.

Michael’s Restaurant
5742 Skyway in Paradise. 876-8618. Fine dining on the Ridge, as well as live music and karaoke several nights a week.

Molly Gunn’s (Holiday Inn)
685 Manzanita Court, 345-2491. Fun, games and live D.J. Fridays and Saturdays. Closed Sundays.

896-1147. Live music every Friday and a D.J. every Saturday evening.

The Oasis
1007 West First St., 343-4305. Daily drink specials, pub grub and shuffleboard, pool and ping-pong.

968 East Ave. 895-3825. Featuring a live D.J. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Tim Bluhm of Mother Hips

Photo by Tom Angel

Scotty’s Boat Landing
River Road, 893-2020. Live rock on a riverside deck weekends during warm months, indoors during cold weather. Reggae, country, blues and cover bands.

Senator Theater
517 Main St., 894-8621 or visit senatortheatre.com. Home of the nonprofit Chico Community Performing Arts Center, this renovated art deco theater hosts a wide variety of national and local musical acts as well a theatrical and educational events.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
1075 E. 20th St., 345-2739. Occasional live blues and folk-rock in the handsome Taproom and Restaurant and the gorgeous, state-of-the-art Big Room upstairs at this sightseeing draw.

Stormy’s Off Broadway
891-5065. Acoustic, jazz eclectic music Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Wild Hare Saloon
1414 Park Ave. 342-5202. Rockin’ Thursday-Saturday, with rock, country, oldies and blues. There are different live bands every weekend.

Chico State University choir

Photo by Tom Angel


Recent years have seen an explosion of the Chico theater scene. Once confined almost exclusively to the university, it now features several companies offering widely divergent styles all over town. Something is happening nearly every weekend. Check the Calendar section of the Chico News & Review, and keep a sharp eye out for posters advertising productions and running dates.

Blue Room Theatre
Until recently, this group was the young upstart on the Chico community theater scene. Now it’s a veteran outfit doing high-quality work. The group produces everything from the tried-and-true to the truly tried. The Blue Room presents challenging and off-the-beaten-track productions, often to high critical acclaim. 895-3749.

CSUC Department of Theater Arts
Throughout the academic year, the department presents a season of plays in two spaces (the Harlen Adams Theater and the intimate Wismer Theater) in the Performing Arts Center on campus. It also produces an annual musical-comedy production in Laxson Auditorium every spring. Call University Public Events at 898-5791 for listings.

Butte College Department of Performing Arts
The community college has been presenting dramas and musicals in the Chico area since the 1970s, ranging from classical to contemporary theater. The actors also take to the classroom with the annual Shakespeare in the Schools touring production. 895-2994.

Chico Cabaret and A Theatre on the Inside Out
Chico Cabaret is the newest venue here, with its performance place located in the Almond Orchard at 2201 Pillsbury Road. Musicals, comedy and adult drama fill the stage as actors and even city leaders join in the fun. Tables are set, dinner-theater style, and music, dancing, improvisational comedy and more is often on tap. The cabaret’s companion organization is the nonprofit Theatre on the Inside Out, which invites young people and families to participate in theater events. The goal, besides entertainment, is to increase tolerance in the community and provide a sense of belonging. 895-0245.


Although a couple of theaters have closed in recent years, there are still plenty of movie screens showing a wide range of feature-length films in Chico. The News & Review each week contains a listing of most selections and show times, along with a section devoted to critical appraisals of the works.

El Rey Theatre
230 West Second St. A large, classic single-screen theater. 342-2727.

801 East Ave. (North Valley Plaza mall). Chico’s newest, largest theater with 14 screens showing first-run films. Presented by Cinemark. 879-0143.

Pageant Theatre
351 East Sixth St. Presenting art-house films in a casual atmosphere. Look for the couches in the front row. 343-0663.