Get your drink on

Two new bars set for Chico; plus, a new downtown coffee spot; and, mall happenings

The past few years, it seems every time I turn around, a new bar or brewery is opening in Chico. Well, there are two more in the works: The Commons and The Lab Bar and Grill. The former will be a self-service bar with taps of craft beer, cider and wine. It calls itself a “social empourium” and is in the final stages of construction over at 2412 Park Ave. (near Hooker Oak Distillery). The bar’s Facebook page suggests a mid-May opening—stay tuned for more.

The Lab, which is going in where The End Zone used to be (250 Cohasset Road), is being taken over by Chico Beer Enthusiasts. Kevin Jaradah, who runs that group as well as Spike’s Bottle Shop, announced via Facebook that the new bar will serve tasters and pints from 44 taps in beakers and other lab equipment. Plus, it’ll provide CBE with a regular meet-up space. Sounds fun! Expect more information by the end of April.

Java time At long last, Chico Coffee Co. has opened up its downtown cafe, in the right half of what used to be Peet’s Coffee at the corner of Second and Main streets. A few co-workers and I took an afternoon stroll on over to check it out earlier this week and I’m happy to report (though not surprised) that the place was hopping. The strangest part of the whole experience was looking around and trying to remember what Peet’s layout had been. We pulled up Yelp photos of Peet’s to compare columns and doorways—it’s trippy! Turns out, they used a lot of Peet’s fixtures, which is exactly what I’d do in their place. Looks good!

While there, I ordered a blended Milky Way mocha, at the suggestion of the cashier, and a turkey, bacon and ranch panini. The mocha was awesome—smooth, flavorful, delicious. The panini also was quite good—unpretentious, a nice grill on the bread, tasty. Just not sure it was worth $9.50. But I’ll definitely be back for that coffee.

More downtown news OM Foods finally opened its doors on Broadway, just north of Second Street, a few weeks ago and on my first visit it, too, was jammed with business. OM is dedicated to serving organic, wild-caught, GMO- and chemical-free foods, and has a large menu of vegan and vegetarian items as well as gluten- and dairy-free options.

Prep for prom High school girls, take note: If you’re looking for an excuse to go to the Chico Mall but don’t have a budget for a prom dress, Cinderella’s Closet will be open for business on Sunday (April 8), from noon-2 p.m. The 14th annual event offers a chance for families to search through a ton of donated dresses, shoes and accessories. Plus, DJ music and ice cream treats.

Speaking of … Shubert’s Ice Cream & Candy is getting ready to open its second permanent location inside the Chico Mall. (So, you can guess where those treats are coming from!) The new shop, near the food court, is scheduled to open by the end of April.