Pensacola, Florida
Sunday October 13th 2019


A Dive Bar With Heart

With Daisy Doyle and Jessica Laws of Chizuko

Belmont-DeVilliers’ brand new hip hangout Chizuko has quickly become a staple in the Pensacola bar scene. The eclectic restaurant, bar and music venue has picked up where Sluggo’s left off, serving a nice selection of beer, sake, wine and vegan snacks, plus hosting local bands, drag shows and art exhibitions in its venue space.

Co-owners and couple Daisy Doyle and Jessica Laws have been in the restaurant industry since they were teenagers.

“I’ve been in the industry for 17 years,” Doyle said. “I’ve learned a lot from each restaurant and bar I’ve worked in and I use those lessons each day at Chizuko.”

Laws said that she tried to branch off and do other things but kept coming back to the industry.

“I love the fast-paced environment and getting to meet so many different people,” she said.

Since they met, Doyle and Laws had been brainstorming ideas to open up their own business.

“We both have notebooks upon notebooks of business ideas, most of them bars and restaurants,” Laws said. “I knew as soon as I met Daisy that she was going to be my business partner, even before I knew that she would be my wife.”

After securing the location, Doyle and Laws opened the bar within weeks.

“It was a ton of fun and a lot of very, very late nights,” Doyle said. “Our goal was to open in one month, so we worked nonstop. We are so thankful for all our friends and family who came to help whenever they could.”

Laws said that the process of opening the bar was a whirlwind.

“There was no time to second-guess anything,” she said. “We had so much help and support from the community and I am eternally grateful for that.”

Chizuko is named after Doyle’s Japanese grandmother, Chizuko Carlisle. The Japanese influence is evident in the details, from the décor to the sake.

“I wanted everyone to feel welcome and comfortable when they came to the bar, just like they would feel walking into my grandma’s home,” Doyle said. “I feel that we definitely have achieved that.”

When Sluggo’s closed, many local musicians and artists lost a place to regularly perform. Chizuko meets that need, offering a safe space for expression.

“It feels good to be able to provide a place for people from all walks of life to express themselves,” Doyle said. “Each night is different and exciting to me.”

Laws said that it’s important for the community to have a safe place where they can feel comfortable expressing themselves.

“So many people have thanked us for opening Chizuko and tell us how comfortable they feel here and that it feels like home,” she said. “It melts my heart into a puddle because that is exactly the atmosphere we wanted to create.”

Their advice to women chasing a culinary dream: “To anyone trying to do their own thing I say go with your gut,” Laws said. “Don’t second guess yourself and don’t let other people affect your vision. Be persistent and get exactly what you want. Success to me isn’t about money or status. It’s going home at night knowing that I’m being true to myself and being able to do whatever the fuck I want to do.”

506 W. Belmont St.