A week after deferring the decision of whether to grant Robert Rasner and The Winchester Goose their alcohol license, the City Council of Chico has denied a liquor license to a proposed wine bar. Alistair McAlister III emigrated from England this past spring to pursue his dream of opening a high-class wine lounge for the 28-and-older crowd, and was a month away from realizing this dream before being denied by the City Council.
Swanky’s—no affiliation with Franky’s—would be downtown Chico’s fourth wine bar, after Monk’s, Tannins, and La Rocca’s tasting room. Chico Police Chief Kirk Trostle has decided enough is enough. “We need to cut down on the alcohol-related deaths in Chico,” Trostle said. “Another bar would only exacerbate our problems further.”
While it’s true that Chico has experienced its fair share of tragic alcohol-related deaths in the past—six in the last year—McAlister does not think that Swanky’s or the Winchester Goose would contribute to the culture of excessive drinking in our humble college town. “It seems to me that the overwhelming majority of victims have been college students,” McAlister said. “They don’t strike me as the type to patronize an establishment such as Swanky’s or Winchester Goose.”
When asked if he thinks a bar that serves $9 glasses of beer or wine instead of pitchers of AMF would even entice Chico State students, Trostle replied, “Totally. Y’know most people don’t realize it, but a lot of these frat guys are ‘pot-of-coffee by morning, bottle of red wine by night’ kind of guys. Except you replace the coffee with a pinot grig[io], and after the red wine you tack on another bottle of port.”
Peter “P-Train” Holsen of Kappa Kappa Chi would be overjoyed if Swanky’s was given its license. “Me and my homeboys have been looking for a place like this,” P-Train said. “Our palates are exquisite, bro.”
Trostle fears that if another wine bar such as Swanky’s were to open, Wine Crawls would become a dangerous fad amongst college students.
“S*** would be so tight,” P-Train said. “Hit up Monk’s for a Robert Mondavi chardonnay and a nice seared halibut. Head over to La Rocca for their cab[ernet sauvignon] and finish out the night at Swanky’s knocking back Mezzacoronas and New Clairvaux ‘til the bars close.”
When asked if the prohibitive cost of high-quality wine and craft brews would deter college students, Trostle replied, “These guys are getting money pumped into their bank accounts from their parents in the Bay Area. They won’t bat an eye at dropping $40-$50 on a bottle of wine.”
Trostle does not believe that swanky bars that celebrate taste rather than intoxication—like Winchester Goose and Swanky’s—will combat the culture of excess, but thinks that they will change the playing field. “Before you know it, you’re going to start seeing guys in their front yards playing beer pong with Brother Thelonious.”