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Best Chico bars to watch the NCAA finals

Your bracket? Busted.

Your stomach? Hungry.

Your throat? Parched.

If you’re a college student watching the NCAA Tournament, this sounds like you.

Here is a guide to the best five bars to check out for students trying to watch the NCAA Final Four and the National Championship this weekend.

Unfortunately they cannot help you with your broken brackets, but hopefully they can provide a great atmosphere to watch incredible basketball.

Madison Bear Garden, a favorite bar among Chico State students to celebrate March Madness with style. Photo credit: Zach Aucella


Madison Bear Garden

The Bear is a great place to grab a burger and watch the game on the big screen. There are a decent amount of TVs but limited seating.

There’s a good chance you’ll have to stand and watch the game unless you get there early. If you get thirsty and are over 21, there is a great beer selection with plenty of Sierra Nevada on tap and lots of other small craft beers.

There are two bars, one on either side of the restaurant, so you won’t miss much action while waiting to get a drink. Prices are reasonable, especially for the quality of the food. The Bear makes a great burger and other various bar food. It is located right by campus, making it a convenient place to watch the game.


Food – 4/5 TV – 2/5 Beer – 5/5 Atmosphere – 4/5

21 and over after 9 p.m.

The Oasis, one of Chico’s oldest and proudest bars, lies under the sunset. Photo credit: Zach Aucella


The Oasis

You won’t miss a second of the action as The Oasis is filled with 15 50-inch plasma screen TVs surrounding the bar.

Located a little further away from downtown, The Oasis attracts more of a mixed crowd of students and locals, which provides a more relaxed atmosphere to watch the game.

It serves typical bar food. The burger is especially a big hit here. If you’re looking for some friendly competition at halftime or in between games, they have lots of pool and pingpong tables to compete with your friends.

A nice long full bar makes it easier to get served a good selection of beer and drinks. It’s a good place to check out the games if you don’t want to get crazy.


Food – 3/5 TV – 5/5 Beer – 3/5 Atmosphere – 2/5

21 and over

Bella’s located on broadway is one of the most popular places to watch sports games. Photo credit: Zach Aucella


Bella’s Sports Pub

This small location downtown could also be a good place to swing by and watch the games.

Bella’s has TVs along the wall where you can watch the game but there is no sound for commentary.

Bella’s offers a big menu, including anything from fish tacos to burgers. Typical bar food quality, except the chicken wings are the food most raved about from visitors.

The smaller location provides more of a intimate place to watch the game.

They have a nice selection of beer on tap, four different Sierra Nevadas and some smaller craft beers. If the place fills up, you will most likely have to stand during the game and could wait a little while for your drinks. The prices are also a little on the higher side but nothing unreasonable.


Food – 3/5 TV – 4/5 Beer – 2/5 Atmosphere – 3/5

21 and over after 10 p.m.

The Banshee in the twilight before the college kids storm it to watch the game. Photo credit: Zach Aucella


The Banshee

Voted best bar three years in a row by Chico News & Review, The Banshee should be on your list of places to check out for the games.

If you want great food to go along with a nice cold beer, The Banshee is the place to go.

For a bar, The Banshee does a nice job providing tasty food. Great burgers and sandwiches fill the menu, but you should also check out the mac and cheese.

While watching the game, it could get a little noisy and crowded, which again might force you to stand. But you’ll be able to catch the game on the TVs or on the two projector screens as well.

There are about 14 beers on tap and a nice selection in the bottle. Great food, cold beer, projector TVs — what else do you need?


Food – 5/5 TV – 4/5 Beer – 3/5 Atmosphere – 3/5

21 and over

The Graduate, a popular sports bar frequented Chico State students. Photo credit: Zach Aucella

The Graduate

If you want to watch the game with a big group, The Graduate is your best bet. With lots of space, it offers 11 TVs to watch the game, including three big screens.

The menu offers a little more than your classic bar food. It features burgers, sandwiches and salads, as well as steak and chicken dinners. The best thing you’ll find on the menu is the burgers.

More than 50 beers are on tap, including Sierra Nevada. Meals won’t run you more than $10 and beers about $5.

The Grad also provides fun arcade games, pool tables and a great atmosphere to enjoy the game with the people around you. If you are looking for your classic sports bar experience, the Grad is the place to go.


Food – 3/5 TV – 4/5 Beer – 5/5 Atmosphere 5/5

21 and over after 10 p.m.

Nick Martinez-Esquibel can be reached at [email protected] or @THENickMartinez on Twitter.

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Nick Martinez-Esquibel
Nick Martinez-Esquibel, Sports Editor

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