The Bear

316 West 2nd Street
Second and Salem
(530) 891-1639
Madison Bear Garden Established
Payment Method
Cash and charge
Building Erected

Madison Bear Garden, formerly the Lusk House, located at Second and Salem, is the iconic Chico restaurant that proudly boasts it has never charged a cover! Before putting random stuff on the walls was trendy, the Bear (as it is locally known) had more assorted junk hanging around than you can shake a stick at. This place is worth a visit for the sensory overload, if for no other reason.

The building was originally the home of John Bidwell's lawyer Franklin C. Lusk. Later, the building was, ironically, the headquarters for the Prohibitionist Party. The Native Daughters of the Golden West purchased the building in 1933.

Prices are reasonable for the food you get at this downtown eatery. Burgers and sandwiches are in the $7.00 range, and they have salads and other typical pub food (fries, wings, etc). If you are feeling adventurous, try the "Jiffy Burger" (as in Jiffy Peanut Butter). That's a guaranteed experience not to be forgotten. They have turkey and veggie burgers available for the non-beef or non-meat eating in the community. In addition to the full food menu, they have many beers on tap (not just the typical college town PBR) including a variety from our own local Sierra Nevada Brewery.

The Bear is also a nighttime destination for many. The line to get in on a busy night can be long, and some would say it can be an overrated experience.

See also


2008-03-18 10:45:03   The Madison Bear Garden now has a website —

2008-06-12 16:29:24   My favorite bar when I went to Chico. Line was long but quick unlike LaSalles (where you can wait for about an hour). Food is great and the beer on tap is always cold. —

2008-10-16 16:01:56   The Mug Club runs Tues & Weds starting at 4pm —

  • To join the Mug Club, potential members have to have a pint of every beer MBG serves on tap during Mug Club hours. They keep a log behind the front counter of which beers you've consumed so you can spread it out over a few nights :) Once initiated, members get a 22oz mug of beer instead of the usual pint (16oz) for the same price, as well as a polaroid picture on the "Wall of Foam". That and bragging rights! —DavidStillman

2009-03-06 12:19:59   I've recently heard that this building was also the home of the camp fire girls and that the logo for that group is still on the building somewhere. Does anyone know anything more about this? —RyanMikulovsky

2009-04-27 16:37:30   The photograph shown is an early picture of the Masonic Lodge structure, now Collier Hardware, located at First and Broadway, NOT the Lusk building. Source- Chico Heritage Association ( John Gallardo) —

  • Do you have an old photo available of the Lusk house? It's easy to mix things up when it comes to these historic photos. It certainly is a good match with Collier! I guess we can just remove it for now and put it on the Collier Hardware page. Then all will be good. Thanks and hope to hear more from you (maybe sign up for an account too :-) since we need all the help we can get! —RyanMikulovsky

2009-07-20 15:18:44   The photograph that was shown (now on Collier's page) actually is the Lusk building, according to the MLSC. [sc15841.jpg] —

2010-02-15 16:30:54   does anyone know why there are the upside down pentagram basement grates on the bear? where did they come from? —