Graphic by Valen Lambert.

Where to get drunk in Arcata


by Valen Lambert

Arcata is a great place to drink. During these long, dreary winters, what better way to pass the time than to head on over to one of our many local dives and question all your life decisions? Whether you’re newly 21, or simply do not get out much and are seeking some guidance on where to spend your big night out on the town, allow a seasoned bar hopper to show you the way.


I had to start at an all-around fan favorite; really just a gem of a dive. It’s a dark, dingey, hedonist’s paradise. Look closely around the taxidermied walls and you’ll always find a new nick-nack or picture (hint: look for the boobs next to the stuffed deer). If you’re lucky enough to order from Robert, you can count on a questionably dirty joke. Beers and cocktails are dummy cheap. Watch out, you’ll come here thinking you’ll stay for one drink and end up hanging out ‘till close, eventually getting kicked out to the curb with the Plazoids. Daytime is when this place really shines though; flies buzz around en masse while Arcata’s day-drunks play a dusty game of pool.

Graphic by Valen Lambert.

The Alibi

Punk bar. Great place to use the bathroom when the lady’s line is too long at Everett’s – also makes a mean bloody mary.

Dead Reckoning

Love this bar and its bisexual lighting. Kind of your classic cool hip craft beer joint; they solely spin great vinyl (lots of afro-future and jazz) and have a great tap selection. It’s a huge selection though, and looking at the menu is like scrolling through Netflix trying to pick a movie. Good place for a date, or if you want to get a drink with friends and actually be able to hear each other. The best part is that it’s got a whole mini arcade. Come on Tuesday nights to watch (or join) a bunch of pinball wizards duel it out for the pinball league. 

The Local Cider Bar

Best place to get drunk on cider at 5:00 p.m., and a great option for all our gluten-free baddies. Casual, cute, cozy – The Cider Bar is great for autumn vibes. A Slice of Humboldt Pie also shares the building, so after tossing back a couple Blurberrys, you can get a slice of pie or an empanada.

Richard’s Goat

Definitely the most vibed out of these joints – stained glass windows and bisexual lighting abound. If you have a hankering to dance, this is the spot. Always live shows and DJs. Yummy cocktails and non-alc options. Plus, probably the best damn karaoke nights (Thursdays and Sundays) this side of the marsh. It’s a total hoot. If you come to sing, you’ll definitely stay for the lady that does opera staccatos in a tutu (you’ll know what I mean). 

The Pub

Good place to get drunk and eat dinner. Gentrified, but free pool. 

The Basement

Ah, finally, a place of sophistication and class. Or, as some women have put it, a place where they don’t feel preyed on. This newly reopened lounge is a great place to roleplay as someone with good taste. Live music and comedy abound. Expensive drinks so make sure you go with a date who’s gonna pay for them. My only suggestion is, more bisexual lighting.

The Jam

Almost forgot to mention this place because I usually avoid it for no good reason except I’m pretentious. A watering hole for local wooks and the occasional biker or metalhead. It’s a great place if you love EDM and getting freaky on the dance floor. Whomp Wednesdays is a classic – it’s exactly what it sounds like. 


Hands down best spot for local music. Plus, you don’t need to be 21 to get in. Quirky venue with a real DIY bodega sort of vibe, and they sell food. Sunday nights they host the jazz jam, and open mics are every Thursday. Always something going on, so make sure to check their Instagram for events.

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