Calistoga’s Cheer Bar, the new and “re-imagined” soda fountain downtown that opened in April, is for sale, the owners have announced.
“This was our love letter to Calistoga,” said co-owner Seth Peterson. “We’re not happy to go, but we’re looking forward to the adventure and the opportunities the future holds.”
Peterson and his partner, Alicia Surber Wong, are moving to Texas to be with family. They have put the business up for sale during the high summer season, and will be around “at least until Halloween.” They hope to sell the business before then, and have had a couple of nibbles, Peterson said.
There was some mystery and anticipation surrounding the opening of Cheer Bar, as to just what kind of establishment it would be. But the soda fountain/arcade quickly found its niche.
“We related with what downtown Calistoga needs and visitors want. We’re not necessarily the biggest business in town, or making the most money, but at the same time we make our small batches with love. Since we’ve opened we’ve seen growth week after week.”
The pair have both had businesses before, and Peterson also owns an arcade rental and repair business.
Cheer Bar is a family-oriented, old fashioned soda fountain with modern and nostalgic twists. The menu includes lunch items like salads and hummus and vegetables, and ice cream with homemade sauces, sodas, shakes and Kyoto style cold brewed coffee.
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There are also old school arcade games including a Pac Man machine and a skee ball machine (all you can play for free). They also added outdoor seating, with bar chairs that are a nod to the old glider port downtown.
“We have something from every decade, to span all generations,” Peterson said.
Reviews on Yelp are from people across the bay area, and one printed recently in The Weekly Calistogan, are overwhelmingly positive.
The shop is open Friday – Sunday from noon until 10 p.m., as “for kids under age 21 there are not a lot of options to hang out in town at night,” Peterson said.
The success of Cheer Bar can also be partly attributed to the joy and enthusiasm of Peterson and Surber Wong, who orchestrated a snowball fight in Pioneer Park on a hot summer’s day in June.
Their plans for a new business in Texas are not set in stone, but the pair might open a smaller version of Cheer Bar.
“We know we created a treasure here in town,” Peterson said. “It’s been an amazing experience meeting people in the community. In a way I regret not knowing these people before. Our time in Calistoga is over, but we just know we’ll be back some day. It’s been the most incredible, enriching experience.”