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The Metro Bars & Clubs 2005 Guide
[ Intro | 20 Years of Bars and Clubs | Bartender Profiles | San Jose | Campbell | Cupertino | Los Altos | Los Gatos | Menlo Park | Mountain View | Palo Alto | Redwood City/Peninsula | Santa Clara | Saratoga | Sunnyvale ]

Chairman of the Board: Joel is the music master at Buddha Lounge.

Mountain View

Alberto's Salsa Studio and Nightclub
736 W. Dana St, Mtn. View
Nights at Alberto's start out with salsa or swing lessons earlier in the night (around 7pm, depending on the day), and the nightclub opens to the general public for dancing at around 9:30pm. DJs and live musicians play sexy salsa beats and Spanish rock from Thursday through Sunday.

Buddha Lounge
251 Castro St, Mtn. View
Buddha Lounge isn't hard to find‹just look for the big wooden Buddha head mounted in front. Pass through the chain link curtains and you'll enter the first room where a pagoda roof languishes, suspended above the square bar where you can meditate on well-mixed drinks served by the friendly bartenders. The rear holds another bar, a remnant pool table and a small dance floor bookended on each side with fog machines and white neon cubes meant for dancing ladies (an offering to the party gods?). It's a pint-sized blessing for local clubbers, bringing a more intimate, lounge vibe previously lacking in downtown MV.

California Billiard Club
881 El Camino Real, Mtn. View
If pool is a numbers game, California Billiard Club antes up. It has more than 30 pool tables, two English snooker tables, three foosball tables, four televisions, one jukebox and a variety of video games and pinball machines. Hard-core players can participate in tournaments for prize money or browse the pro shop, which sells cues, instructional videos and other pool-related accessories. Though there's a beer and wine bar, the California Billiard Club allows the 18-plus crowd in. Games cost $10 an hour for two, although rates rise for more players. A full kitchen satiates hunger pangs.

400 Castro St, Mtn. View
Lively with the bold colors and vibrant tastes of Latin culture, Cascal resonates with upscale joie de vivre. Its expansive bar offers a well-developed wine list as well as Latin-inspired cocktails. The Mango-Mint Margarita and the Caipirinha Naranja are among the must-try specialties. Tapas-style appetizers are also served at the bar (the Manchego Cheese is prepared with quince paste and roasted marcona almonds and is to die for). Come on a Friday night, when Cascal presents live flamenco jazz music.

Kapp's Pizza Bar and Grill
191 Castro St., Mtn. View
Sports fans (at least UC-Berkeley ones) will get a kick out of the fact that Kapp's was founded in 1984 by NFL great Joe Kapp and his brother, Larry, while Joe was still head football coach at Cal. Since Joe presided over Cal when the notorious "play" against Stanford happened, his restaurant serves as a veritable shrine to that indelible moment. Offerings include beers, pizzas and pastas, which diners might want to pair with appetizers like zucchini sticks or jalapeño poppers. Mounted over the bar are a plethora of hats, Cal paraphernalia, historic pictures of Mountain View and—what else?—a trombone.

King of Clubs
893 Leong Dr, Mtn. View
The King of Clubs is where gay and lesbian revelers from all over the Bay Area come to mingle and meet. On Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays, a rather wild version of karaoke goes on, while Wednesdays and Fridays see DJs spinning electronica, house and 80s music. Saturdays are reserved for "Salsa Fever," a Latin mix of dance music including merengue and cumbia. Sometimes called Daybreak Bar (the name of its previous location), this former sailor's bar offers specialty shots and its signature fishbowl drink. There is a cover charge to get in (around $5, but it depends on the day), but the fee grants access to a trendy and uninhibited clientele.

Molly Magee's Irish Pub
241 Castro St, Mtn. View
The bar is easygoing from Sunday through Wednesday, but from Thursday through Saturday, Molly Magee's wakes the heck up on weekend nights. The bar also has a pool table, a jukebox and an open-air patio with a television. On-tap Irish beer is the drink of choice here, though there are huge wine barrels adorning the walls.

The Full Monte: Deep inside the Monte Carlo.

Monte Carlo
241 Castro St, Mtn. View
The Monte Carlo appeals to an older crowd rather than the 18-year-olds that formed Limelight's key demographic. They serve a menu based on Mark Savinovic's culinary skills‹pasta, steaks, salad with European flair. Thursday through Saturday, the restaurant transforms into a nightclub with live bands and DJs spinning '70s-'90s hits, Latin jazz and house. They renovated the theaterlike space, installing booths around the bar, and brightened up the interior. Monte Carlo reflects the French Riviera's reputation for fun and leisure.

Office Bar
820 El Camino Real, Mtn. View
Make sure to pack your voice when you head to the Office; if you're there on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Saturday, you'll need it for the karaoke this tiny place is known for. The Office has some friendly quirks (no windows, a full suit of armor standing guard on the liquor wall), but there's lots to do besides karaoke: shoot pool, play darts or pinball, watch a game on a big-screen television or play the lottery. It's all part of a productive day's work at the Office.

St. Stephen's Green Irish Pub and Restaurant
223 Castro St, Mtn. View
This traditional Irish pub is decorated with wood and glass paneling, brick walls, and on Thursday through Saturday nights, a mass of people dancing the night away to a DJ's thumping beats. Things are a bit more subdued when patrons tipsy off Guinness try to learn how to jig during Tuesday night Irish dancing lessons. Other notable drinks include Cosmopolitans ($2 on Thursdays), and the bucket o'five Bud Lites ($10 on Thursdays). During the day, hang out and catch a game on one of three massive TVs.

Shoreline Billiards
1400 N. Shoreline Blvd, Suite C-1, Mtn. View
Amenities reign supreme: 24 pool tables, two snooker tables, two dart lanes (play for free!), five arcade games and a 100-CD jukebox. After sinking the eight ball, throw back one of the bar's specialty import beers or domestic brews. Appetizers and snacks such as french fries, minipizza and pretzels are available. The focus, though, lies heavily on playing pool. Equipment is well-maintained, and when players find out they're not as good as they thought, they can take one of Shoreline Billiards' BCA-certified pool lessons.

Sports Page
1431 Plymouth St, Mtn. View
The Sports Page clientele love needlepoint. Just kidding. They love sports. And beer. Which is why there are more than 24 local and international beers on tap, $10 pitchers and two big-screen televisions tuned into notable sports events. Customers can dance to the live-music performances on Friday and Saturday nights, belt one out during Karaoke on Tuesdays or take a wild guess on Trivia Thursdays. The Sports Page also serves casual American food and decent mixed drinks and has two pool tables, video games galore and a heated outdoor patio.

Tied House Café and Brewery
954 Villa St, Mtn. View
A Mountain View fixture since 1988, Tied House produces its own award-winning beers. On any given day, Tied House has at least eight beers on tap, plus 12 more specialty selections, depending on the season. A favorite among the staff is the Ironwood Dark, a British-inspired brown ale. The 625-gallon brewing tanks add to the appeal of the establishment's spacious wood-and-brick architecture. Tied House also has a pleasant open-air patio (which it calls its beer garden) and a social clientele.

1313 El Camino Real, Mtn. View
This bar was started by local girls Carrie Rogers and Jessica Cohen—the name was their grandfather's idea. Known for having Pabst on tap and for interestingly named specials that rotate weekly, Ugly's attempts to be an alternative to the typical dive bar. "Too many places do the same stuff," Rogers said, so she has coordinated in-your-face events like an anti-Valentine's Day party at the expense of couples and a "6/9" party on June 9. The décor here can only be described as garage-sale kitsch. Rogers and Cohen award a free drink to anyone who brings in an item worthy of hanging on the wall, but Rogers admits, "If it'll hang, it'll go up."

Zucca Ristorante
186 Castro St, Mtn. View
Signature martinis are big here with a hefty 5-ounce pour. Some have sexy names like the Parisian Kiss (vodka, fresh lemonade, triple sec and Chamborg) and My Sweet Casanova (vanilla vodka, Tuaca, citrus and pineapple juices). Then there are the more direct ones like My Sweet Ass Martini (Southern Comfort, Amaretto, pineapple juice and lime) and Let's Get Naked (vodka and champagne) showing Zucca stocks vintage sense of humor on the top shelf.

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From the June 22-28, 2005 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2005 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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