Naked Lounge: Espresso yourself

Illustration by Kayce Tynan Photo credit: Kayce Tynan


The buzz of conversations filter across the room along with the familiar aroma of coffee brewing. The sounds of machines grinding beans and mugs clinking float around giving the small cafe a comfortable and cozy vibe.

Recently named the best coffee shop in town by the Best of Chico poll, The Naked Lounge Tea and Coffeehouse, established in 2001, is located in the heart of downtown Chico and is known for its relaxed atmosphere and delicious drinks.

Walking into the shop, one is surrounded by tables and couches that make the place feel homey, and a mural that covers the northeast wall catches the eye with its vibrant hues. The captivating piece of art compliments the mood of the cafe.

The shop features a diverse menu of beverages, ranging from Mexican hot chocolate to Chico Chai. With the shop’s recent revamp, the menu has also changed; it now includes gluten-free baked goods and more cold brew coffee options, but the drinks and pastries are not the only things that draw people into visit this one-of-a-kind shop.

“The vibe I get there is always warm and welcoming from the baristas as well as the fellow customers,” said Kacie Gin, a senior history major. “Whenever I have a couple bucks to spare, I love getting the bowl of soul— it’s relaxing and warming on a cold day.”

The customers, usuals and newcomers alike, as well as the baristas, help create a welcoming environment.

“I remember having a bad day and when I walked into [the Naked Lounge], there was just a calmness about it,” said Niko Tzoumbas, a senior communication studies major.

Upon entering the cafe, one can get away from everything for a minute and feel at peace, he said.

The environment is great for Chico State students who want a change in scenery. Daniella Gamboa, a senior sociology major, can often be found studying in between classes or in the afternoons while also enjoying a cup of iced coffee or tea.

“I especially love the hours— they are very convenient for hardworking students who don’t find the campus library very attractive,” she said.

Gamboa said that she always finds herself having the best conversations and being in a great mood while at the coffeehouse because of the intimate atmosphere.

Gamboa recently visited The Naked Lounge to catch up with a friend and while she was recounting a comical event that had happened to her, two girls sitting at the table closest to them couldn’t resist joining in, she said.

“I turned to them and laughed thinking about how silly my life was at the time and we all just ended up laughing together,” she said. “We didn’t know the girls, but that’s the sense you get from being in the shop— it’s just fun and intimate.”

Jovanna Garcia can be reached at [email protected] or @Jo_Garcia19 on Twitter.