.Music & Nightlife

Introduction | Food & Drink | Music & Nightlife | Goods & Services | Art & Culture

Mountain Winery. Photo by Chris Miller

OVERALL

Best Comedy Venue

San Jose Improv
62 S 2nd St, San Jose
Rooster T. Feathers
157 W El Camino Real, Sunnyvale
ComedySportz
288 S 2nd St, San Jose

Best Large Concert Venue

Mountain Winery
14831 Pierce Rd, Saratoga
Shoreline Amphitheatre
1 Amphitheatre Pkwy, Mountain View
SAP Center
525 W Santa Clara St, San Jose

Best Small Music Venue

Cafe Stritch
374 S 1st St, San Jose
Poor House Bistro
91 S Autumn St, San Jose
The Ritz
400 S 1st St, San Jose

Best Dance Club

The Cardiff
260 E Campbell Ave, Campbell
Charley’s LG
15 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos
The Ritz
400 S 1st St, San Jose

Best Jazz/Blues Club

Cafe Stritch
374 S 1st St, San Jose
Poor House Bistro
91 S Autumn St, San Jose
Fairmont’s Lobby Lounge
170 S Market St, San Jose

Mini Boss. Photo by Greg Ramar

Best Place to Sip Manhattans with Ms. Pac Man
Mini Boss

52 E Santa Clara St, San Jose
Opened in early February, Miniboss is downtown San Jose’s first proper video game bar. Featuring some of your favorite old-school cabinet games, like The Simpsons and Bust-a-Move, and a solid selection of pinball machines, the 21+ main floor also serves craft cocktails and draught beer. Miniboss is run by the same team behind Original Gravity and Paper Plane, so the beer and cocktail menus are on point. The attached SuperGood Kitchen admits all ages and cooks up Asian fusion dishes designed to wow discerning foodies as well as late-night imbibers.

Best Latin Music Club

Miami Beach/Beso
417 S 1st St, San Jose
Monte Carlo
228 Castro St, Mountain View
Club Rodeo Rio
610 Coleman Ave, San Jose

Best Microbrewery/Taproom

Hapa’s
460 Lincoln Ave, San Jose
Campbell Brewing Co.
200 E Campbell Ave, Campbell
Faultline
1235 Oakmead Pkwy, Sunnyvale

Best Wine Bar

Tessora’s Barra di Vino
416 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos
Enoteca La Storia
416 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos
20Twenty Cheese Bar
1389 Lincoln Ave, San Jose

Best Local Winery

Testarossa Winery
300 College Ave, Los Gatos
J.Lohr
1000 Lenzen Ave, San Jose
Ridge Vineyards
17100 Montebello Rd, Cupertino

Best Taproom Run by a Social Justice Warrior
Camino Brewing

718 S 1st St, San Jose
When we caught up with Allen Korenstein on a Tuesday afternoon last summer, he was rushing from one office to another. Earlier that morning, he had been navigating the emotional labyrinth of foster care, handling five cases in his role as a juvenile law attorney. Half an hour after leaving the courthouse, he’d made it to the other side of downtown and was putting on his brewers cap. Korenstein and his partner Nathan Poulos have been brewing beer for a decade. Beginning as most brewers do, in a garage, they eventually gained some notoriety for their collaboration with Chromatic Coffee; the Cafe con Leche is a smooth coffee milk stout that gives imbibers a double buzz of alcohol and caffeine. Since opening up their brick-and-mortar location on South First Street in the spring of 2018 they’ve gained a reputation as one of downtown’s best places to grab a craft brew. Furthermore, their beautiful, spartan taproom—located just south of the Interstate 280 overpass—has activated a long-vacant space, right next door to the old Faber’s Cyclery. In this way Korenstein is continuing his work in the community by bringing a cultural hub to a part of town littered with empty storefronts and neglected historic properties. Here’s hoping that more follow suit; the old Faber’s building, which has been refurbished by Garden City Construction, is awaiting a new tenant, and many more structures in the Martha’s Gardens neighborhood, from beautiful mid-century neon signs to Victorian, Craftsman and Art Deco homes, could all benefit from repairs and a fresh coat of paint.

Best New Bar/Club

Cedar Room
1875 S Bascom Ave, Campbell
LVL Up
400 E Campbell Ave, Campbell
Social Lady
73 E San Fernando St, San Jose

Best Sports Bar

Double D’s
354 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos
Rookies Sports Lodge
1535 Meridian Ave, San Jose
4th St. Pizza Co.
150 E Santa Clara St, San Jose

Best British Pub

Britannia Arms
Downtown San Jose, Almaden
Duke of Edinburgh
10801 N Wolfe Rd, Cupertino
The Rose & Crown
547 Emerson St, Palo Alto

Best Irish Pub

O’Flaherty’s
25 N San Pedro St, San Jose
Rosie McCann’s
355 Santana Row, San Jose
Katie Bloom’s
369 E Campbell Ave, Campbell

Best Gay or Lesbian Bar

Splash
65 Post St, San Jose
Mac’s Club
39 Post St, San Jose
Renegades
501 W Taylor St, San Jose

Pruneyard Cinema. Photo by Greg Ramar

Best Dinner and a Movie for the Uber-Efficient
Pruneyard Cinema

1875 S. Bascom Ave, San Jose
It’s a strangely intimate thing to sit next to a person in the dark. It adds a little bit of tantalizing danger to a first date. At the same time, watching a movie in tandem is a great way to size up a person’s level of empathy. Perhaps they have none; or maybe too much. (Do you really want to spend your time with someone who wails every time they see a sad kitty?) And then there’s sharing a meal with a potential mate. (How much hot sauce does this person consume? You must know!) Feed two birds with one hand at this luxurious theater, which features an in-house restaurant, craft cocktail bar—The Cedar Room—and seven screens. Between the expert mixology, reclining seats and regularly scheduled events, it’s a great place to figure out whether to swipe left or swipe right. On Tuesdays the bar focuses on tiki drinks and the theater offers an $8 all-day admission; Drag Queen Bingo is on Wednesdays; and once a month they host their Culinary Cinema event, featuring a food-themed film and a menu to match.

Best Hotel or Restaurant Bar

Fairmont Lobby
170 S Market St, San Jose
Rosewood
2825 Sand Hill Rd, Menlo Park
Dio Deka
210 E Main St, Los Gatos

Best Craft Cocktails

Jack Rose Libation House
La Hacienda Inn, 18840 Saratoga Los Gatos Rd, Los Gatos
Paper Plane
72 S 1st, San Jose
Haberdasher
43 W San Salvador, San Jose

Best Martinis

Jack Rose Libation House
La Hacienda Inn, 18840 Saratoga Los Gatos Rd, Los Gatos
Dry Creek Grill
1580 Hamilton Ave, San Jose
The Cedar Room
1875 Bascom Ave, Campbell

Best Mojitos

Mezcal
25 W San Fernando St, San Jose
Dry Creek Grill
1580 Hamilton Ave, San Jose
Cascal
400 Castro St, Mountain View

Best Margarita

Aqui
Campbell, Cupertino & San Jose
Olla Cocina
17 N San Pedro St, San Jose
El Jardin
368 Santana Row, San Jose

Best Bowling Alley

4th Street Bowl
1441 N Fourth St, San Jose
Bowlero
5420 Thornwood Dr, San Jose
Bass Pro Shops
5160 Cherry Ave, San Jose

Best Standup Outside a Comedy Club
Super Stacked

Studio by Terra Amico, 460 Lincoln Ave, San Jose
Despite the presence of a major midsize comedy club, plenty of open mics and a vast, diverse population of prospective audience members to draw from, the South Bay has long had a reputation as flyover country for standup. But San Jose’s seeing something of a comedy revival thanks to a crop of young performers who’ve been carving a space between bar mics and big clubs. Case in point: Super Stacked, a twice-monthly showcase that routinely draws an audience of about 100, give or take, to a woodshop on Lincoln Avenue for a night of free comedy. Produced by comedians Ryan Sudhakaran, Grayson Garcia, Tyler Stannard and Austin Baylock, the show kickstarted a trend of curated comedy outside the usual venues. If you’ve never been, catch the next one this weekend. Grab a beer to go at Hapa’s Brewing Company, then walk a few doors down for the 6pm show at Studio by Terra Amico for a lineup that features the producers themselves. To stay in the loop about future shows, follow them on Facebook and IG @SuperStacked.

Best Pre-Sharks Game Spot

Henry’s Hi-Life
301 W St John St, San Jose
San Pedro Square Market
87 N San Pedro St, San Jose
Poor House Bistro
91 S Autumn St, San Jose

PENINSULA

Best Happy Hour

The Old Pro
541 Ramona St, Palo Alto
St. Stephen’s Green
223 Castro St, Mountain View
Scotty’s Palo Alto
548 Emerson, Palo Alto

Best Dive Bar

Dutch Goose
3567 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park
Antonio’s Nut House
321 California Ave, Palo Alto
Fred’s Place
2534 Old Middlefield Way, Mountain View

WEST VALLEY

Best Happy Hour

Sushi Confidential
247 E Campbell Ave, Campbell
Orchard City Kitchen
1875 S Bascom Ave, Campbell
Jack Rose Libation House
18840 Saratoga Los Gatos Rd, Los Gatos

Best Karaoke

Khartoum
300 Orchard City Dr, Campbell
Effie’s Restaurant
331 Hacienda Ave, Campbell
Britannia Arms
5027 Almaden Expy, San Jose

Best Dive Bar

Black Watch
141 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos
Cardiff Lounge
260 E Campbell Ave, Campbell
The Bank
14421 Big Basin Way, Saratoga

CENTRAL VALLEY

Best Happy Hour

St. John’s Bar and Grill
510 Lawrence Expwy, Sunnyvale
Grub Burger Bar
785 Lawrence Expy, Santa Clara
Duke of Edinburgh
10801 N Wolfe Rd, Cupertino

Best Karaoke

Woodham Sports Lounge
4475 Stevens Creek Blvd, Santa Clara
Blue Max
828 W El Camino, Sunnyvale
Blue Pheasant
22100 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino

Best Dive Bar

Woodham’s Lounge
4475 Stevens Creek Blvd, Santa Clara
Normandy House
30 Washington St, Santa Clara
The Hut
3200 The Alameda, Santa Clara

Best King of the Stage
Donny Mirassou

While drag kings have a long, rich history, they’ve never quite received the kind of broader recognition enjoyed by their femme counterparts, who feature into the latter-day pop cultural landscape thanks to shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race. Jean Batt, who spent the better part of her/his/their life bending the rules of masculinity by way of the darkly debonair onstage persona Donny Mirassou, is part of a growing number of performers hoping to change that. The South Bay artist began experimenting with the art as a preteen tomboy to explore her masculine traits before going on to master impersonations of male rock stars as a student at a parochial all-girls high school, where Batt was cast as a boy in plays. Over the ensuing decades, Batt’s sense of self has increasingly intertwined with Mirassou’s. “We have blended,” Batt reflects. “Similar aesthetics, tastes in music, style, nerdiness and cosplay—even his sexuality has blended with mine. I used to play him as a straight man, but he so isn’t anymore.” The flamboyantly male alter-ego has helped Batt come to terms with their own body, inspiring their foray into burlesque and their incorporating into the act other aspects of their identity as a goth, furry and kinkster. “He has given me a lot more confidence in myself in a lot of ways,” Batt says. “But the one thing he helped me do is deal with my gender issues head-on and to come out.” Batt-as-Mirassou has taken their singularly multifaceted act to stages throughout the nation, from the Circus of Sin at San Jose’s Caravan to the Stud Bar in San Francisco, where on April 13 you can celebrate his 30-year drag-iversary with a host of other fans.

SAN JOSE/SOUTH VALLEY

Best Happy Hour

Chacho’s
87 E San Fernando St, San Jose
4th Street Pizza
150 E Santa Clara, San Jose
Britannia Arms
5027 Almaden Expwy, San Jose

Best Karaoke

7 Bamboo
162 Jackson St, San Jose
4th Street Bowl
1441 N 4th St, San Jose
Goosetown Lounge
11072 Lincoln Ave, San Jose

Best Dive Bar

The Branham Lounge
1116 Branham Ln, San Jose
Dive Bar
78 E Santa Clara Ave, San Jose
The Caravan
78 E Santa Clara Ave, San Jose

FREMONT & MILPITAS

Best Happy Hour

Coach’s
40968 Fremont Blvd, Fremont
Jack’s Brewing Co.
39176 Argonaut Way, Fremont
Tequila Shots Bar & Grill
38 N Main St, Milpitas

Best Dive Bar

Coach’s
40968 Fremont Blvd, Fremont
Tequila Shots
38 N Main St, Milpitas
The Florence
37349 Niles Blvd, Fremont

Introduction | Food & Drink | Music & Nightlife | Goods & Services | Art & Culture

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