Out on the town

Second Hand Smoke plays at the blues showcase during the inaugural CAMMIES awards.

Second Hand Smoke plays at the blues showcase during the inaugural CAMMIES awards.

Chico is the hottest spot north of Sacramento for nightlife activities, and the main attractions are near the university. Dozens of bars and restaurants are dotted around downtown, within a few square blocks, and rides home are no problem thanks to a plentiful supply of taxis and pedicabs. From dining and dancing to theater and live music, each hotspot has its own distinct Chico charm.

Coffee shops

Augie’s Fine Coffee & Tea
230 Salem St., 894-3764. Operated out of a historic downtown church, all coffees and teas at this coffee house are organic and fair trade. Live music plays on selected nights in this tranquil shop, which also offers sandwiches, baked goods and smoothies every day but Sunday.

Café Flo
365 E. Sixth St., 892-0356. Live acoustic, country, jazz and other eccentricities take over the cozy café five nights a week.

Has Beans Internet Café & Galleria
501 Main St., 894-3033. Most nights you can catch an open-mic, spoken-word session, poetry slam, local acoustic fare or even a touring musician or two.

Moxie’s Café and Gallery
128 Broadway, 345-0601. One of the bigger cafés in town, Moxie’s features weekly poetry slams and open mics, plus occasional live music.

Teaz Me Tea Bar & Fusion Café
250 Vallombrosa Ave., Ste. 200, 895-8100. Chico’s only all-tea bar features live acoustic music every Saturday evening, plus Wednesday Trivia Night and assorted family-night activities.

Bars & Restaurants

33 Steaks, Booze & Jazz
305 Main St., 893-1903. The only venue in Chico created to showcase live jazz. In a relaxed dinner-club setting, the best local jazz combos mix it up every night of the week. And there’s no cover!

Angie’s Poker Club
114 W. 15th St., 892-2282. Chico’s only card room offers live-action poker in a friendly atmosphere with professional dealers. Open daily.

The Banshee
132 W. Second St. One of Chico’s newest bars, The Banshee is fashioned in a pub style with a long bar and a vast assortment of foreign brews in bottles and on tap.

Crazy Horse Saloon & Brewery
303 Main St. (upstairs), 342-7299. This large bar specializes in country music. There’s occasional live music and even a mechanical bull to ride (after you sign some legal paperwork). Closed Sunday and Monday.

Dino’s Billiards & Grill
319 Main St. (downstairs), 895-3466. An expansive billiards room boasts 12 tables, electronic dart boards, big-screen TVs and a full bar and kitchen. Open daily ’til 1 a.m.

Duffy’s Tavern
337 Main St., 343-7718. Reminiscent of the great, grungy dives in San Francisco, Duffy’s features old jukebox tunes and an odd medley of wall decorations. Live bands usually attract audiences of all styles and ages over 21. There’s DJ dancing every Wednesday night, and local favorites the Pub Scouts play Celtic music for the popular Friday afternoon happy hour.

The End Zone
250 Cohasset Rd. 345-7330. This sports bar and restaurant serves up more than a dozen appetizers, along with burgers, sandwiches, salads and weekend brunch. Open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Joe’s Bar
749 W. 5th St., 894-3612. A small hole-in-the-wall in the heart of Chico’s party district. Wood chips on the floor provide atmosphere, and a jukebox provides the soundtrack. Joe’s usually attracts the overflow from other downtown bars. There are small seating areas both in and outside the bar.

229 Broadway, 893-1891. LaSalles features two stages: one next to the dance floor in the main barroom and one on the outdoor patio under the trees. This is a decidedly college-focused club, with dance music coming from the main stage via cover bands, touring rock bands and local metal favorites such as Red With Envy, which plays here regularly. Regular DJ dance nights and happy-hour jams are featured on the patio every Thursday.

Dino’s Billiards & Grill

Last Call Lounge
876 East Ave., 895-3213. If you’re tired of the college scene, head out toward the airport and stop at this bar hiding in the Walgreens shopping center. Live music on Fridays, open mics on Saturdays and karaoke twice a week.

Lost on Main
319 Main St., 892-2445. A newcomer to the Chico scene, this bar and nightclub features a number of DJs, a regular reggae night, as well other live shows in an art-rich environment at its spacious downtown location.

Madison Bear Garden
316 W. 2nd St., 891-1639. A Chico classic with outrageous decor, the Bear is popular with families by day and college students by night. There’s disco dancing upstairs and downstairs, plus karaoke and the famous trike races. Bear Burgers and a full grill complement the bar.

The Maltese
1600 Park Ave., 343-4915. With its stainless steel and wood décor, this watering hole has the look of a classic neighborhood bar. When DJs aren’t performing, satellite music for eclectic tastes takes over. The bar is one of the hottest spots in town for Karaoke, which is featured Wednesdays from 9 p.m. to midnight. It also boasts a patio, and bar gaming in the form of a pool table and shuffleboard.

Monks Wine Lounge and Bistro
128 2nd St., 343-3408. Bringing a touch of sophistication downtown, Monks offers an extensive wine list and small dishes including, of course, cheese plates. The wine list is updated occasionally. There are also bottled imported beers and Sierra Nevada and Guinness on tap. Plus, live music every Wednesday.

Monstros Pizza & Subs
628 W. Sacramento Ave., 342-1111 or 345-7672. This pizza and subs spot also doubles as an all-ages venue on weekend nights.

1717 Esplanade, 896-1147. This restaurant/bar on the Esplanade attracts a consistent crowd of regulars on the weekends and features live, mellow jazz or blues every Friday.

Normal Street Bar
221 Normal Ave., 342-3542. This quintessential college bar, with all the drink specials and packed-in partiers you’d expect, has a jukebox chock-full of punk and metal.

Oasis Bar & Grill
1007 West 1st St., 343-4305. By the railroad tracks near the Chico State campus. The Oasis hosts both students and neighborhood regulars. There are daily drink specials, pub grub, shuffleboard, pool, pingpong and the occasional live rock show.

Off Limits
1414 Park Ave., 342-5202. Located outside of the downtown core, Off Limits has local and touring original rock, punk, rap, metal and electronica almost every night of the week.

On the Rocks Lounge
685 Manzanita Court, 345-2491. This is the club inside the Holiday Inn. It draws an older crowd than the downtown bars and is next door to a restaurant. There’s a live DJ on Fridays and Saturdays, karaoke, salsa dancing, and a monthly open blues jam.

Panama Bar Café
177 E. 2nd St., 895-8817. Panama’s, as its known locally, is famous for its wide array of Long Island-style “teas” served in big glasses and made stiff. Good thing they also serve a decent selection of sandwiches, salads and other dishes to help soak up the alcohol.

Quackers Lounge
968 East Ave., 895-3825. A bar with a nice dance floor far from downtown, Quackers is full of regulars who are mostly above college-age. There’s a live DJ Friday through Sunday, karaoke on Thursdays and there’s always sports on the television.

702 W. 5th St., 343-7459. One of Chico’s most popular college bars, with an emphasis on the Greek crowd. Thursday through Saturday nights the place is packed, with a line out the door. Riley’s is known for its “power hour” every Thursday night from 9 to 10, when drinks start at a quarter and progressively increase by a quarter every 15 minutes. The bar also serves pub fare during the day.

Towne Lounge
327 Main St., 896-0235. A true dive bar, Towne Lounge is mostly a local’s hangout. But don’t be discouraged—the townies are cool and welcoming. It features a nice pool table, cheap drinks and friendly bartenders.

Tres Hombres Long Bar & Grill
100 Broadway, 342-0425. In addition to the selection of fajitas, seafood tacos and grilled fresh fish, Tres Hombres offers more than 50 premium tequilas—great for use in their specialty margaritas. There is also a good selection of bottled and draft beer. Bar open until 1 a.m.

University Bar

The University Bar
191 E. 2nd St., 898-0630. This popular basement bar located on the corner of Wall and Second streets has everything you need in a college bar—cheap pints, pool tables, the popular air-hockey table and a loud jukebox. Closed Sunday.

2010 Park Ave., 893-3500. This hideaway bar and restaurant may not look like anything special, but it’s a popular spot for good grub and beer at reasonable prices. It’s a great spot to go if you’re up for a game of pool, friendly service and good food.

Other performance venues

Chico State venues
The campus offers several places to catch a band, or even a symphony, to liven up your evening. The Bell Memorial Union Auditorium frequently hosts touring bands, as well as comedy acts and other events, thanks to the student-run A.S. Presents, which also takes to the Rose Garden and Free Speech area for outdoor punk, rock, reggae and hip-hop shows. Laxson Auditorium hosts world-class musical acts from around the globe, thanks to the most prestigious promoter in town, Chico Performances. Get tickets for most university events at the University Box Office, 898-6333, or visit

Crux Artist Collective
1421 Park Ave., 566-0176. This art space located south of town is mainly an artist workspace/gallery, but the fun and funky Cruxsters also delve into live music and performance art. Gallery hours: Thursday—Sunday, noon-5 p.m.

Scotty’s Landing
12609 River Road, 893-2020. Where river rats go to drink a cold one and munch on something from the grill. The deck overlooks the Sacramento River, and live rock, reggae and blues bands occasionally perform.

The Senator Theatre
517 Main St. The ornate Senator Theatre is not only a great place for music, but a major landmark in Chico’s history. Once home to traveling shows, the Senator became a movie theater in the 20th century. Now, after its renovation and reopening in 2004, the theater has become the main North-State stop for some big names in music: Modest Mouse, Deftones, GWAR and Patti Loveless have all performed. Visit for concert calendar.

Jackie Greene at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
1075 E. 20th St., 345-2739. The world-famous brewery is also a pretty famous concert venue. Watch for live blues and folk-rock in the Taproom & Restaurant, and see an eclectic mix of world-renowned musical talent, from Ricky Skaggs to Dave Brubeck, two to three times a month in the state-of-the-art, 350-seat Big Room upstairs. Many Big Room shows are filmed and appear on the PBS Sierra Center Stage series. Visit for show information.