.Shopping & Services | Editors’ Picks

Third Space Fitness

Best Gym for the 1 Percent

Third Space Fitness

550 S. First St., San Jose

When Metro moved out of the two-story brick building at the south end of South First Street after 21 years, we were succeeded by tenants who transformed the place into a fitness gym. ThirdSpace includes a yoga studio, a TRX room and a weight lifting station where impossibly shredded CrossFitters are wont to practice muscle-ups on the pull-up bars. The gym takes its name from the urban planning concept of building community outside of the two typical environments of work and home—a third space to bond over common activities. Unlike conventional CrossFit gyms, which are usually spartan garages, ThirdSpace has a massage room, a sunny yoga studio and, generally, a more holistic approach to fitness than the frenetic lift-more-lift-faster curriculum of the Crossfit franchise. Of course, the ambience and the community building and all that good stuff come at a steep price. Membership can put you out anywhere from $175 to $300 a month, which, to be fair, evens out to about the price of most other Crossfit gyms in the region. (JW)

Best App to Finish What You Started



Anyone who’s ever tried to shed a few pounds or finish a novel might immediately realize that intention alone won’t cut it. Most people feel too distracted, tired, busy, bored or some other symptom of the human condition to accomplish even the best-laid plans. We need outside pressure to keep going—trophies, money, gilded certificates or, simply, public praise. That’s the idea behind the recently released and locally developed app Complete, a departure from run-of-the-mill to-do apps in that it lets users share tasks with friends, family and supportive strangers. Think of it as crowdsourced motivation, free from the Apple store. (JW)

Best Way to Come to Grips with Your Own Demise

Death Cafe


Once rituals of hearth and home, birth and death in the Western world have been pretty thoroughly relegated to hospital rooms, rendering passage to and from life largely invisible. End-of-life experts say that this isolation has led to a “death taboo,” making people uncomfortable to talk about our impending demise. The Death Cafe, pop-up gatherings that take place throughout the country, including a few times so far in Silicon Valley, gives the morbidly curious a space to discuss this universal existential matter candidly and without the burden of grief. Death Cafe considers itself a “social franchise,” which means anyone can host their own meeting as long as they agree to provide a safe confidential space to talk about death over tea and cake. (JW)

Best Patio to Lie Naked in the Sun

The Watergarden

1010 The Alameda, San Jose

Since their heyday in the ’70s, gay bathhouses have dwindled to all but a few, which lends The Watergarden something of a historic distinction. Its founder, John Gamber, was an early advocate of safe sex and provided a discrete space for men to cruise free of alcohol, drugs or intimidation. As one of only two such bathhouses in the Bay Area, it remains a popular destination. Inside, guests have their pick from a warren of softly lit private rooms, a fireplace, a lounge with a pool table, a gym, a porn viewing area and a eucalyptus-infused steam room. The single-level resort also boasts an outdoor patio with a pool and hot tub bounded by enough tropical foliage to shelter nude or nearly nude sunbathers. (JW)

Brienne Ghafourifar

Best, Brightest Tech Prodigy

Brienne Ghafourifar


At an age when most kids send off college applications and coast apathetically toward the end of their high school career, Brienne Ghafourifar had already earned a college degree and raised $1 million to launch her first startup. Two years later, at 19 years old, the Los Altos Hills wunderkind is growing that company into a force that she says will revolutionize the way we communicate. Entefy—the Palo Alto-based startup she runs with her older, similarly prodigious brother, Alston—aims to streamline disparate electronic communications into a single dashboard. Meanwhile, though her own focus remains fixed on developing the next big thing in digital communication, Ghafourifar has been lauded as a role model for young women and a welcome addition to a notoriously male-dominated industry. (JW)

Best Work-Out in Makeup and Heels

IMC Fitness

2229 Lincoln Ave., San Jose

While its claim to fame may be as a hyper-sexualized booty dance, twerking is having its moment as a fitness trend. For all its jiggling, squatting, popping and core-tightening bends, the style can make for a punishing workout. Perhaps no gym is better suited to teach the finer points of booty-popping than IMC Fitness in Willow Glen, which, in addition to the Flirt and Twerk class, offers glutes-toning lessons to sculpt “that famous IMC Bubble Butt” and feet-and-ankle-strengthening to “feel more confident and stable” in your stilettos. (JW)

Best Chance of Becoming a Local TV Star for $50


255 W. Julian St., San Jose

Normally access to state-of-the-art production equipment and studios costs an exorbitant tuition or a foot-in-the-door at a broadcast network. CreaTV, Silicon Valley’s nonprofit media center, offers its resources for just $50 a year, allowing community members to try their hand at creating their own TV shows or documentaries. A recent alum to make headlines for his work was former Saratoga mayor Norman Kline. With no prior filmmaking experience, Kline produced a feature-length documentary about San Jose’s colorful past thanks to the resources offered by CreaTV. Changing Boundaries: The History of San Jose premiered at the California Theatre earlier this year. (JW)

San Jose Barbell

Best Powerlifting Gym to Get Hella Swole, Tho

San Jose Barbell

404 N. 13th St., San Jose

For anyone who’s dabbled in corporate chain gyms on and off for the past several years with nominal results, San Jose Barbell may very well be a game-changer. Owners/head coaches Aljay Resngit and Ranbir Sanghera have a reputation for whipping their members into the fittest shape of their life. Their first nugget of advice: forget about “beast mode” and instant gainz because personal records take steady, incremental, increasingly intense work. At the end of a year, anyone following Aljay and Ranbir’s plan should be able to lift heavier, run faster and move fluidly. They also offer yoga, Zumba and meal plans. (JW)

Best Gift Shop for Funny Bone Amputees


347 E. Campbell Ave., Campbell

No place takes the edge off of shopping quite like Therapy, with its stylish clothing, quirky home decor, designer seven-year pens—a writing tool that will stay with you longer than most relationships—and designer Hobo Bags. This is a go-to gift shop to fool people into thinking you’re the thoughtful friend with the underestimated sense of humor. (JK)

Best Free Electric Car Charge Ports

Palo Alto City Hall

250 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto

With a growing number of electric cars and limited spaces to juice them up, Silicon Valley is beset with “charge rage.” Companies with EV ports for their employees started hearing complaints. Folks unplugging one car to goose up their own. Irksome email exchanges about whose Nissan Leaf was suckling too long at the plug port. Animosity among colleagues. Campbell-based ChargePoint, a company that tracks the number of EV stations nationwide, says the ideal would be to have a charging station for every two cars. Currently, that’s a longshot from reality. Meanwhile, Palo Alto—a city that’s led the way with policies to accommodate EVs—boasts 10 chargers for the public to use for up to three hours. For now, it’s on the house. But if demand keeps up its breakneck pace, PA may take a page from nearby Redwood City and start charging for the service. (JW)


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