A variety of beer is available for both coffee and beer connoisseurs alike at Naked Lounge. Photo credit: Cortneanne Campbell

Is beer the new coffee?

November 14, 2016

Coffee shops will forever be a hub for the astute student to find a quiet place to hit the books; cafes will always offer a vacant table for an aspiring writer to rethink a plot twist over a bear claw; and now, a new spot to get a nice buzz on before the afternoon lecture.

In recent years, beer and wine has become an alternate to the mid day latte or mocha as cafes have made craft beer drafts more accessible. No longer does a bleak bar in the afternoon or the formality of a sit-down restaurant have to be the only place to find a moment of liquid clarity.

Locales like Midtown Local, Naked Lounge and Bidwell Perk are a few of the spots around town that make the seamless modification from study hour to happy hour.

Janelle Mae, manager of Midtown Local says that most of the beer sales peak between noon and 3 p.m. The establishment even offers a half-nitro coffee and half stout for that someone who is torn between a stimulant and depressant.

“I lived in San Louis Obispo before and it just seemed like there was a lot less early drinking,” Mae said. “It seems like a lot of people do it as an immediate relief from stress from school or work.”

Janelle Mae

Janelle Mae samples some of the nitro coffee mixed with stout at Midtown Local Photo credit: Matthew Manfredi

Supposedly, the downtown Starbucks has made progress towards expanding the store to feature the “Starbuck Evenings” menu available which offers wine and their trademark Espresso Cloud IPA served with a shot of espresso.

Even so, alcoholic drinks won’t be available until 4 p.m unlike the local coffee shops starting at 11 p.m.

Naked Lounge, located in the heart of downtown, started serving beer and wine to utilize its location as a music venue more frequently in efforts to bring the music community closer together.

“In the middle of the day we have a lot people doing their schoolwork,” said Sara Sparks, manager of Naked Lounge. “I’ve never seen anybody over drink. I’ve seen students definitely be excited to get a beer while they study.”

Sara Sparks

Manager of Naked Lounge, Sara Sparks. Photo credit: Matthew Manfredi

Whether it’s a compulsion to alcohol or caffeine, inevitably, the coffee drinker will find a cup and the alcoholic will find a glass. Chico once was notorious for the weekday fade or bender, but now even as beer and wine becomes more accessible in the daytime, the consumption has turned to a slow drip.

“If someone wants to day drink, they are going to do it regardless of where it’s at,” Sparks said.

Matt Manfredi can be reached at [email protected] or @matthewmanfredi on Twitter.

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