.Bars and Clubs 2022

Where to drink, dance, mingle, play, and savor the night life

For experienced nightcrawlers, every night is different. Sometimes one needs a quiet hideaway; other times, a raging party. Whether the desired refreshment is an elegant cocktail or a budget pour from the tap, these South Bay establishments just might hit the spot. Bar picks by Erik Chaloub, Chris Corona, Mike Huguenor, Tomek Mackowiak, Tad Malone and Sharan Street.


Punk, jazz, rock, comedy, folk—the main point here is to listen and revel in live entertainment.

Art Boutiki

44 Race St, San Jose

(408) 971-8929 | artboutiki.com

Those looking for cool comic books as well as a dash of live music need look no further than Art Boutiki. A relatively hidden treasure of midtown, the art gallery/store/venue is a testament to art and expression in its many forms—a one-stop shop with unmistakable soul, Art Boutiki also features a full-service cafe and a professional shirt-printing service. (TadM)

Capos Event Center

7588 Monterey St, Gilroy

669.500.6810 | caposeventcenter.com

Capos Event Center is fronted by a restaurant and full-service bar, serving up a varied menu from Mexican cuisine to ribeye steak, seafood, salads and more. The rear of the restaurant is home to the 21-and-over “VIP Lounge,” complete with a sizable dance floor, fog machines, balconies and its own bar, with a calendar full of the hottest acts to get people boogying. (EC)


98 S Almaden Ave, San Jose

408.995.6220 | caravanloungesanjose.com

As development races downtown, the humble Caravan keeps a refreshingly steady pace with its reliable, relaxed vibe and regular presentation of local metal and punk bands, karaoke up-and-comers and even burlesque troupes (the Circus of Sin calls the bar home). Let’s raise a tall boy for this enduring favorite. (MH)

Club Fox

2209 Broadway, Redwood City

831.334.1153 | clubfoxrwc.com

Blues jams, comedy sets, country music, Latin rock—even a touch of flamenco might be on the schedule at this more intimate sister venue to the Fox Theatre in downtown Redwood City. And for those who prefer an outdoor experience, Club Fox keeps the drinks flowing at Music in the Square events, held in the city’s Courthouse Square. (SS)

The District Theater

7430 Monterey St, Gilroy

408.767.2775 | thedistricttheater.com

Ghost hunters have investigated rumors that the District is haunted. But whether you go to experience the alleged poltergeist activity or just to unwind after a long week, the District’s got you covered, with constant live bands and other entertainment. It’s also got plenty of spirits—both the liquefied and paranormal kinds. (EC)

Guild Theatre

949 El Camino Real, Menlo Park

855.999.4025 | guildtheatre.com

Since reopening as a venue this February, the Guild Theater has beckoned many exciting artists to the South Bay, from jazz greats like Robert Glasper and Ambrose Akinmusire, to full-on American treasures like Macy Gray and Booker T. Jones. A converted movie house, the venue sounds great inside and retains some old Hollywood charm in the lobby. (MH) 

The Improv

62 S Second St, San Jose

408.280.7475 | improv.com/sanjose

A classic comedy club in a gorgeous, historic building—San Jose Improv has offered this winning combination since 2002. The former vaudeville theater now features top comics and new voices on stage, with plush seating and plenty of food to go along with the beer, wine and cocktails. (SS)

Liquid Lounge

32 S 3rd St, San Jose

408.293.3800 | liquidloungesj.com

Though it has long played a role on 3rd Street, Liquid Lounge has in recent years become one of downtown San Jose’s preferred homes of live hip hop, hosting shows ranging from Bay Area legends like Mistah FAB to homegrown talents like Ziggy, Top $helf Deezy and AOneHunnit. Drink specials vary but never disappoint. (MH) 

Mama Kin

372 S First St, San Jose

408.664.9303 | mamakinsj.com

If there ever was a hot spring of San Jose culture, its source would be where Mama Kin is today. The particular spot has been a haven for writers, musicians, and muses since the first brick was laid down. It seems the community applauds Mama Kin in its promise to continue the tradition. The tradition: music brought by masters complemented by food and drinks of an equal quality. (TomekM)

Quarter Note Bar

1214 Apollo Way, Suite 403, Sunnyvale

408.732.2110 | quarternote.com

Inside and out, this bar in the vicinity of Levi’s Stadium is strictly no frills—except for the stage and the sound system. Music is what matters here: live bands twice a week, two jam nights, and karaoke to fill out the rest of the calendar. Warning: The doors are closed Mondays. (SS)

The Ritz

400 S 1st St, San Jose

408.982.3784 | theritzsanjose.com

A powerhouse in SoFa, The Ritz is known for its unique shows and cult-like following among the San Jose community. Be it Emo Nite, The Punk Rock Flea Market, or a litany of classic punk, hardcore, and ska bands scheduled for performances during any given month, The Ritz is the alternative venue in the South Bay. (TadM)

X Bar

20990 Homestead Rd, Cupertino

408.255.5700 | homesteadbowl.com

​​Lodged within a bowling alley in a Cupertino strip mall, the X Bar has always been one of the South Bay’s most unlikely homes for punk and metal shows, but with their new stage and sound system, the venue is more than ready to host the heaviest, including memorable recent shows from greats like Zulu, Sunami, Gulch and more. (MH)


Dance floor moves, karaoke, even trivia games—these and other pursuits best done in a crowd are the draw here.

7 Bamboo

162 Jackson St, San Jose

408.279.9937 | 7bamboolounge.com

They may be called 7 Bamboo, but there’s still only one. The Japantown karaoke bar remains one of the liveliest scenes north of downtown, a place where it’s just as easy to get a great drink as it is to enjoy a great night out. Queue up some personal favs on the QR code menu: it’s time to sing. (MH)

The Brit

173 W Santa Clara St, San Jose, CA 95113

408.278.1400 | thebritsj.com

True to its name, the Brit is a traditional British pub right here in the Bay. It’s a spot to order all the classics of jolly old Britain, like fish and chips or shepherd’s pie, and then settle down before a game of football (American or European) with a pint or an old-fashioned cocktail. (CC)

Charley’s Bar LG

15 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos

408.898.9568 | charleyslosgatos.com

For its 50th anniversary, this local watering hole has dropped the “Mountain” from its moniker but some historic trappings remain to help regulars feel comfortable—including, yes, the beloved chandelier lighting. In turn, locals have embraced the space since it reopened in February 2022 as Charley’s Bar LG (after a brief experiment as an immersive nightlife space). Owner Alex Hurt reemphasized all the obligatory diversions: trivia, karaoke, cover bands and DJ nights. (SS)

Club Rodeo Rio

610 Coleman Ave, San Jose

408.990.3019 | ticketor.com/sanjoseentertainment

Club Rodeo Rio is what happens when you combine a music venue with the laid-back culture of a dive. As a Mexican and country music venue, they host live concerts at which one can kick back with a bucket of beer and relax—or better yet, kick up those cowboy boots on the dancefloor. (CC)

The Continental

349 S 1st St, San Jose

408.982.3461 | thecontinentalbar.com

Many bars, clubs and restaurants have had a run on San Jose’s South First Street, and it’s comforting that the vintage building with brick-lined walls that was once occupied by Mac’s Club and the Italian restaurant Sal & Luigi’s is still serving as a place to dance, drink and—most of all—mingle. Resident DJs keep the crowd rubbing elbows and more. (SS)

Goosetown Lounge

1072 Lincoln Ave, San Jose

408.292.4835 | goosetown-lounge.edan.io

Goosetown Lounge feels like home—a place of refuge from the outside world, a space where regulars can build great relationships. No bigger than a large living room, Goosetown Lounge warms the soul with cocktails and a toasty fireplace. (CC)

Katie Blooms

369 E Campbell Ave, Campbell, CA 95008


One of several good reasons to drink in downtown Campbell, this classic Irish-themed bar serves up pub grub and lots of beer (of course), but it also has a full bar. On weeknights, the crowds pack into bar seating and high-top tables. Plus, there is a pet-friendly patio. (SS)


300 Orchard City Dr, Suite 101, Campbell


This downtown Campbell night spot has been keeping locals happy since 1973, and it has the decorative, thematically appropriate stained-glass windows to prove it. With sociable patrons, easy parking and doors that stay open until midnight, it stands out as a good place to come with a group—maybe for karaoke or to watch a game. (SS)


39 Post St, San Jose


The staff and regulars at Mac’s are immune to anything that will interrupt a good time. This truly spectacular bar is a hidden gem located in San Jose’s only alley. It’s a proper city dive, with a back patio that is enclosed by the adjoining concrete buildings. It feels like Chicago, or some other legendary metro. This is the only place in San Jose that is legit old-school metropolitan—like what the real New York felt like when Iggy and the Cramps were around. (TomekM)

Miami Beach Club 

417 S 1st St, San Jose, CA 95109


Looking for a spicy hot club to dance to live music? Take yourself down to the Miami Beach Club, where they have live music and plenty of partners to move on the dance floor. A fantastic Latin nightclub, they have plenty of live bands and DJs that know just how to get you moving. (CC)

Number One Broadway

102 S Santa Cruz Ave, No. B, Los Gatos

408.560.9460 | number1broadway.com

The genteel streets of Los Gatos are home to several veteran night spots, including Number 1 Broadway. The beneficiary of a complete renovation a year ago, this second-story bar now has two VIP areas that can be booked in advance, new furniture, an augmented dance floor and redecorated bathrooms. The key ingredients, however, are still the same: plenty of cocktails, beer and wine to accompany live music several times a week. And those looking to meet new folks might be well served by the country line dancing nights. (SS)

Park Station Hashery

1701 Park Ave, San Jose

408.320.1711 | https://parkstationhashery.com/

San Jose is full of hidden gems, and this cafe/restaurant/eatery is no exception. Hidden in the Rose Garden District, Park Station Hashery offers a host of drinks including over a dozen wines and just as many local and craft beers on tap. With an emphasis on its outdoor dining area adorned with murals by local artists, the Hashery seamlessly and elegantly meshes with its community. (TadM)

O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub

25 N San Pedro St, San Jose

408.947.8007 | oflahertyspub.com

Located in San Pedro Square, O’Flaherty’s is a rustic Irish pub that follows all the traditions. O’Flahertys lives up to its motto: “You’re a stranger here but once.” And it offers the sage advice that every meal should start with Dublin’s finest course—a pint of Guinness. (CC)

Rec Room

1 E San Fernando St, San Jose


The Rec Room is a bold new spot that fills in a social vacancy which has long persisted in San Jose: the upstairs bar where anything can happen. Happy hour here is an exercise in refined relaxation, while the nights bring out crowds ready to push the fever pitch. Whatever time of day it is, go upstairs and have a drink. A little exercise is good for the body and soul. (TomekM)


501 W Taylor St, San Jose

408.275.9902 | solo.to/renegades

A familiar name on the LGBTQ+ nightlife scene since the late 1970s, Renegades is alive and kicking—in heels, if it’s drag night. Or perhaps the theme of the night is Trousers Down, a twice-monthly, men’s-only underwear party (strip to briefs, boxers or whatever to cut the $10 cover in half). (SS)


65 Post St, San Jose

408.292.2222 | splashsj.com

The premier gay bar and club in San Jose, Splash is a monument to fun. Featuring two-stories of dancing space, a rooftop smoking patio and twenty video screens, there is plenty of reason why it has been voted Silicon Valley’s #1 LGBTQ+ nightclub six years running. Splash hosts a variety of events each week, including live music, dancing, guest performers, karaoke and more. (TadM)

Tempo Kitchen & Bar

7560 Monterey St, Gilroy

408.855.1111 | tempokb.com

Downtown Gilroy’s newest go-to spot gets the crowd rockin’ and rollin’. Vinyl records line the walls and 45s cover light fixtures, and wide-screen televisions play music videos, reminiscent of MTV’s early days. Owner Dan Nelson said the business is rapidly expanding its number of signature cocktails, with names such as “The Berry Thought of You” and “Let’s Get Fizzzical.” Wine from local vineyards and throughout the state is also available by the glass or bottle, as well as various beers on tap. (EC)


Humans can’t live by food and drink alone. Games and diversions also feed the soul. Find some amusements below.

Bare Bottle Brewing Company

2520 Augustine Dr, Santa Clara

408.564.5722 | barebottle.com/santa-clara

Deep in the business-park burbs of Santa Clara is the recently opened Bare Bottle Brewing Company. Originally from Ithaca, NY, the lengthy bar features a to-go beer and coffee window, a variety of flavors and, in the back, a solid selection of pinball and game options including a somewhat rare find: the 1983 Anheuser-Busch sponsored bartending video game Tapper. (MH)

Courts Lounge

2425 S Bascom Ave, Campbell


With roots dating back to the 1800s, the dartboard is an iconic fixture at pubs all over Europe and the United States. The recently remodeled Courts Lounge in Campbell boasts 10 of them, which makes it a natural home for dart tournaments. Other diversions include pool tables and a jukebox. (SS)


420 S 1st St, San Jose


At Guildhouse, gamers of all stripes are welcome to gain some EXP. Whether a tabletop enthusiast, retro console lover, competitive LAN player, or a dungeon master weaving an enchanting campaign, Guildhouse has everything necessary for a successful night on hand. Best of all, drinks won’t cost all your GP. (MH)


400 E Campbell Ave, Campbell

408.429.8472 | thelvlup.com

LVL Up is every gamer’s fantasy—especially those with a knack for video game classics. With retro arcade machines from the ’70s and ’80s, old-school fans can level up at LVL Up. For something more analog, grab some mac ’n’ cheese and a beer and pop up a board game with friends. (CC)


52 E Santa Clara St, San Jose

408.520.4909 | sjminiboss.com

Featuring more than 30 vintage arcade games and a dozen more pinball machines, Miniboss combines love for craft drinks with the neon passion of the arcade. At the downtown bar patrons can get a flavorful drink, eat some elevated bar fare and beat a friend in House of the Dead or ACDC pinball all at the same time. (TadM)

The Public House

803 Lincoln Ave, San Jose


Formerly the Willow Den, the Public House has a long (sometimes controversial) history. Though it’s rebranding itself with a new moniker, there is something for those who knew the old dive’s days of dollar bills on the ceiling, as well as patrons who want to see the live bands that perform. Embrace the experience and dive in with drinks and and a game of pool. (CC)

Redi Room

4340 Moorpark Ave, San Jose


Cozy and welcoming, the Redi Room has long been a haven from the bustle of the burbs in West San Jose. Here, classic bar vibes come complete with pool and jukebox. And despite the proximity of Saratoga, drinks don’t cost an arm and/or leg when it comes time to settle the tab. (MH)

San Pedro Social

163 W Santa Clara St, San Jose

408.222.1100 | sanpedrosocial.com

Can’t decide between a night out bowling or at the arcade? Good news—the San Pedro Social doesn’t make its patrons choose. Sporting bowling lanes, an arcade, and plenty of other fun games like corn hole, this night spot has plenty of options. And anyone who’s feeling bold can down that beer and take a spin at karaoke. (CC)


10 Topgolf Drive, San Jose

408.404.6436 | topgolf.com/us/san-jose

A driving range for the modern age, TopGolf takes the fun and physical release of whacking golf balls as far as you can with the social excitement of a party. Offering a variety of games, food and drinks and a full-on bar with a club vibe, TopGolf is a great place to take a date or host a party. (TadM)

Uproar Brewing

439 S First St, San Jose

408.963-6303 | uproarbrewing.com

At some point in their lives, most people have thought of building a brewery and arcade in one. For most of us, that time is short and such ideas fade before we finish paying off our first dealer-bought car—but there are the ones who journey on with demi-god determination. People cut from this exquisite cloth are the ones that change industries, and travel to other planets. The best of them open breweries with arcades in them. (TomekM)


These neighborhood hangouts do business without a lot of annoying add-ons. No cover, no bottle service…maybe some attitude. A place to hang with folks you know, or catch a drink with one eye on the big screen.

The Bank

14421 Big Basin Way, Saratoga


It doesn’t get more local than the Bank, which has been pouring booze on Big Basin Way since 1972. Now in its third generation of family ownership, this neighborhood bar shows its age in the happiest way, its walls lined with signs and artifacts. No extraneous bells and whistles here—just camaraderie and cocktails, plus a comfy couch to sit on. Bank on that. (SS)

Black Watch

141 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos


Expect no frills but plenty of history in this Los Gatos dive bar that’s been around since 1959. Touches of Scottish decor add to the nostalgia, and kamikazes are the go-to favorite—though one can get a little fancier with the pineapple and cherry versions. Locals are most likely to enter these doors, which stay open until 2am. (SS)

Branham Lounge

1116 Branham Ln, San Jose

408.445.1716 | thebranham.com

Though the fireplace and comfy seats make the loungey interior hard to beat, the Branham also has an outdoor patio. Generous pours keep the karaoke singers loose and make the comedy nights more uproarious, and DJs pump up the energy levels on Fridays and Saturdays. (SS)

C&J’s Sports Bar

1550 Lafayette St, Santa Clara

408.423.9013 | cjsportsbar.business.site

Not surprisingly, $3 glasses of PBR and $5.50 well drinks keep ’em lined up at this sports-friendly establishment’s long bar. For spectators, there are ten 55-inch TVs. Those looking for hands-on competition can choose between pool, darts, table soccer, board games and a boxing machine. Music takes over on Wednesdays (karaoke), Fridays (live band) and Saturdays (DJ). (SS)

Cash Only

78 E Santa Clara St, San Jose

408.288.5252 | cashonlysj.com

Somewhere in a parallel universe, Bradley of Sublime fame and Johnny Cash are business partners in a bar. Proof of this lives within the walls of our beloved Cash Only. Only in San Jose can these things commingle in perfect harmony. The elegant, long, intimate yet spacious bar thrives in a 19th-century-built block of San Jose. Go and soak in the elegance of the building while enjoying a truly excellent San Jose vibe. (TomekM)


331 W Hacienda Ave, Campbell

408.374.3400 | effiesrestaurantandbar.com

With a name like Effie’s, one expects comfort food. But this casual spot also has comfort drinks. Champagne cocktails, aperitifs, digestifs, shots and bombs, retro classics and tricked-out house specialties—even alcohol-free concoctions—allow patrons to select just the right beverage, whether they’re dining, brunching, or belting out tunes on karaoke nights. (SS)

Fred’s Place

2534 Old Middlefield Way, Mountain View

650.940.9838 | fredsplace.tv

The retro sign foretells a classic dive bar ambiance, and Fred’s Place doesn’t disappoint. On tap (besides nine different beers) are pool tables, pinball, karaoke on Thursday, and a well-loved Trivia Night on Mondays. (SS)

The G

134 S Main St, Milpitas


Long a Milpitas staple, The G feels a little brighter and roomier since its change in ownership and interior redesign. Cozy inside with plenty of space out back, the former Galaxy Lounge remains a classic spot to duck away from the world and relax with a cheap drink for a while. (MH)


167 E Taylor St, San Jose


A go-to for Japantown imbibers since 2007, Jack’s offers two distinct experiences. Inside, it’s a classic neighborhood dive, serving shots and beers to patrons watching the big screens and making small talk. The outside patio is relaxing, well-designed and an ideal spot for day drinking. (S)

Mike’s Place

5837 Camden Ave, San Jose

408.723.9981 | mikesplacebar.com

Many come here to quaff a cold, foamy brew out of a tall can and scope the array of big-screen TVs—especially for Sunday football. Other diversions include free pool on Mondays and Wednesday, shuffleboard, live music on Fridays, and karaoke on Saturdays. (SS)

Murphy’s Law Irish Pub and Sports Bar

135 S Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale

408.736.3822 | murphyslawpub.com

On weeknights this downtown Sunnyvale pub is a relaxing place for locals to play pinball, board games and a trivia game on Tuesdays. The energy level is a lot higher with live music: bands on Fridays and Saturdays, and a blues jam session on Mondays. The bar is best known for its beers, Irish whiskies and scotches, but the barkeeps have a good overall knowledge of mixology. (SS)

Paul & Harvey’s

130 S Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale


The vintage neon sign promises a classic dive bar inside—and this decades-old bar delivers. A hangout for regulars, it has all the amenities: darts, pool, pinball, jukebox and a plethora of booze-themed wall decorations, including mirrored beer ads, that extends even onto the ceiling. (SS)

Rocco’s Blue Max

828 W El Camino Real, Sunnyvale


Pool is just a little more fun on a blue felt table. But most regulars come for karaoke on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, getting liquid courage from the affordable drinks and welcoming atmosphere at this sister bar to the Sportsmen’s Lounge in Santa Clara. (SS)

Woodham’s Lounge

4475 Stevens Creek Blvd, Santa Clara

408.244.2899 | instagram.com/woodhamslounge

Promising “cold beer and even colder A/C,” this low-key spot has Amanda and Felisha slinging drinks for the regulars. An active Instagram account spreads the word on the evening’s fare: Wig Night, open-mic comedy, karaoke three evenings a week, and live music weekly. (SS)


Whether it’s a focus on a particular type of libation or cuisine, or bartenders who invoke creative takes on tried-and-true spirits, taste buds are tantalized at these establishments.

Bartenders Union

7421 Monterey St, Gilroy


Bartenders Union is a bar made for bartenders by bartenders. It’s right there in the name. Owner Dustin Evanger describes it as a neighborhood bar, complete with 20 craft brews on tap, music and pool. Bartenders Union’s offerings are constantly changing, pouring various IPAs, blondes, sours and more. “Come on in and enjoy a cold brew,” Evanger says. (EC)

Camino Brewing Co.

718 S First St, San Jose

408.352.5331 | caminobrewing.com

Flights of excellent brews, creative food and plenty of seating outside or in the spacious, airy indoors. Not sure what to order? The friendly servers are happy to provide tastes of the beers to try before buying. Bonus points for being a dog-friendly neighborhood hangout. (SS)

Cedar Room

1875 S Bascom Ave, Campbell

408.717.4715 | cedarroomlive.com

The cocktails are several cuts above, and so is the selection of California-centric wine and craft draft beers. The availability of festive food—flatbread, wings and more adventurous choices—and the ability to see a movie next door at the Pruneyard add up to a fine night of entertainment. And speaking of the Pruneyard, its Culinary Cinema series is back, offering a convenient way to take in dinner and a show. (SS)

Cider Junction

820 Willow St, Suite 100, San Jose

669.234.2751 | theciderjunction.com

Cider Junction provides a happy alternative to the bevy of breweries and coterie of craft cocktail bars in San Jose. With 30 different ciders on tap ranging from the dry and crisp to the fruity and the full flavored, Cider Junction’s ranging menu even includes a few perries (not to be confused with a pear cider). For those who can’t decide, there’s always a flight. (MH)


1235 Oakmead Pkwy, Sunnyvale

408.736.2739 | faultlinebrewing.com

Those looking for a brewery that has a little bit of everything need look no further than Faultline. With a large open area, this brewery is suitable for large parties. Faultline is proud of its four flagship beers—Kölsch, Hefeweizen, FSB (Faultline Special Bitter [N2]) and Gold Rush Ale—and it’s pretty tempting to give all four a try, perhaps paired with spicy tao buns and the best crunchy IPA onion rings around. (CC)

55 South

55 S 1st St, San Jose

408.288.6000 | The55south.com

This corner bar serves up craft cocktails and crafty cuisine. Those who are passionate about whiskey will be well served, but the mixologists here also embrace all forms of alcohol. (On May 16, enthusiasts were treated to rare concoctions on Chartreuse Day, dedicated to the famous liqueur made by Carthusian monks.) And fans of 55 South will be glad to learn that a couple months ago, 55 South took over the show at the Hedley Club, located inside the art deco jewel that is Hotel De Anza (233 W Santa Clara St, San Jose). The same cocktails will be served there, along with a separate food menu. (SS)

Five Points

169 W Santa Clara St, San Jose

408.982.5816 | https://www.fivepointssj.com/

It’s a soothing color scheme: brick walls (ivy-covered outside), antiques, lots of wood, and rows of amber-colored bottles behind the bar. (Note: whiskey is half off on Wednesday.) Add this live music, tasty eats and the speakeasy-style Bowery Room and it’s a mix as sophisticated as the cocktail recipes. (SS)

Fox Tale Fermentation Project

30 E Santa Clara St, Suite 120, San Jose

408.216.0158 | foxtalefermentationproject.com

Unlike many specialty breweries and taverns, Fox Tale is a living love story of all things fermented and artisanal. Situated in the heart of downtown, the establishment offers an ever-changing selection of hand-crafted beers, specialty fermented food offerings, as well as an overall environment of craftsmanship, community and culture. (TadM)


43 W San Salvador St, San Jose

408.792.7356 | haberdashersj.com

Shhh, don’t tell too many about this wonderful San Jose secret. Haberdasher is a speakeasy straight out of the past. The first question the bartender will ask isn’t “What do you want,” but “How did you find this place?” Order a Crown of Scotland, take a seat amongst the red leather stools, and enjoy the jazz in the background. (CC)

Hapa’s Brewing Company

460 Lincoln Ave, Suite 90, San Jose | 408.982.3299 

114 S Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos | 408.963.3942


Now past its fifth birthday, this brewery founded by South Bay natives has establishments in San Jose and Los Gatos. Both serve such delights as the Uncut Gem amber lager, the Amish Rifle red ale and the Hungry Dog IPA, named after the head brewer’s beagle. And speaking of dogs, canine-loving beer fiends can bring their best friend to both spots. (SS)

Los Gatos Soda Works

21 College Ave, Los Gatos

408.402.5111 | losgatossodaworks.com

Its quaint name reflects the historic building occupied by Los Gatos Soda Works, where sodas were bottled from 1907 through 1937. Whimsically named cocktails are served with an assortment of options such as black truffle deviled eggs, smoked trout rillette and salmon poke cups. Particularly tempting is the Law Abiding Citizen, a rye drink augmented by the house bitter blend. (SS)

Out of the Barrel

1875 S. Bascom Ave, Suite 560, Campbell | 408.676.8332

201 Los Gatos Saratoga Rd, Los Gatos | 408.827.4090


Out of the Barrel pours beers from multiple breweries from its two Silicon Valley locations (plus a third in Fresno). The management apparently believes that small is beautiful, because the menu has a laser focus on concoctions made by independent craft breweries. And because not everyone’s a beerhead, bartenders also pour wine, cider, kombucha and soda along with snacks such as empanadas and flatbread. (SS)

Poor House Bistro

91 Barack Obama Blvd, San Jose

408.292.5837 | poorhousebistro.com

One of the premier Cajun-style restaurants in San Jose (if not the only), Poor House Bistro honors time-honored New Orleans cuisine while adding its own trademark flair. Featuring a dozen classic beers and just as many more obscure and artisan choices on tap, plus a litany of wines, the Bistro also features live music from local musicians daily. (TadM)

The Rose & Crown 

547 Emerson St, Palo Alto

650.327.7673 | therosepa.com

Peninsula locals, Stanford students and Anglophiles in search of bangers and mash mingle at Palo Alto’s oldest bar. Beer is king here—but not UK brews. California beermakers rule, along with ciders, sours, and robust whiskey drinks. (SS)

Rosie McCann’s

355 Santana Row, Suite 1060, San Jose

408.247.1706 | rosiemccanns.com

Local to Santa Cruz and San Jose’s Santana Row, Rosie McCann’s is a classic Irish pub. It has nestled itself into the South Bay’s heart with cold pints and cheery service. More than just your run-of-the-mill pub grub, Rosie McCann’s Irish food is delicious. Chase down lamb stew with a beverage of choice or end the night with some Irish coffee. (CC)

The Running Shop and Hops

17500 Depot St, Suite 100, Morgan Hill

669.258.5950 | therunningshopandhops.com

Billed as California’s first running-specialty shoe store and craft beer taproom, the Running Shop and Hops has more than 80 beers on tap. The business also holds various events throughout the year, as well as weekly gatherings, such as Taco Tuesday and trivia nights. (EC)

S27 Alehouse & Brewery

461 Perrymont Ave, San Jose

408.599.2739 | s27ales.com

Now in its third year, S27 continues to grow roots in the community with Thursday trivia nights, Vinyl Wednesdays (a night to share your wax), and even clothing swaps. In addition to DJ sets, S27 also is booking live bands. And of course there’s the main attraction: more than two dozen fermented beverages. (SS)


1171 Homestead Rd, Santa Clara

408.709.2990 | taplands.com

With summer now in full swing, Taplands regulars will spend their days in this beer garden soaking up rays while enjoying the taproom’s list of 25 rotating beers. Small plates—charcuterie boards, spicy deviled eggs, panini—make this a popular weekend lunch spot. Those looking for a more consistent regular choice can frequent the bottle shop, which has a constant stable of fun and unique drinks. (CC)

3rd & Bourbon

93 E Santa Clara St, San Jose

408.320.2453 | Facebook.com/SanJose3B

A loud and lively spot right downtown on busy Santa Clara Street. The focus is not only bourbon but also bold and filling dishes that accompany it well. Fried chicken mac and cheese sliders—need we say more? Right across the street from Cash Only (but credit cards are accepted). (SS)

Trials Pub

265 N First St, San Jose

408.947.0497 | trialspub.com

One of the best pubs in the South Bay, Trials Pub is dedicated to British culture, offering a kingdom of resolutely British cuisine and drinks, as well as an unmistakable pub ambiance in a historic building. There’s a reason Trials has been voted the Best Pub by readers of this newspaper. (TadM)

True Brew Taphouse and Kitchen

787 The Alameda, Suite 10, San Jose

408.320.2867 | truebrewsanjose.com

Scores of different fermented beverages come to a head here: ale, lager, kolsch, wheat beer, stout and even cider. The location near the SAP Center attracts Sharks fans for pre- and post-game action, with other games on tap on the big-screen TVs. But food is a bigger focus—e.g., the mesmerizing shots of Detroit-style pizza on social media. (SS)


355 Santana Row, San Jose

408.551.0010 | hotelvalencia-santanarow.com/vbar

Passersby walking through Santana Row can look up and see fun in progress as happy individuals laugh while sipping cocktails. Hotel Valencia’s VBar is located on the third floor; with a regal lounge, red acrylic bar top, and fancy cocktails, it’s hard not to feel like your head is in the clouds. After all, nothing beats this view. (CC)

The Vesper

394 E Campbell Ave, Campbell

408.680.0401 | thevespercampbell.com

Couch seating, cocktails with complicated yet complementary ingredients, and unexpected menu options. Potato chips and dip? Yes—but with caviar too. Grilled cheese? Yup, but tricked out with cambozola and brisket. Avocado toast? Too mundane. Try mussel toast instead. Owners Jim and Angelique Stump also cater to sophisticated palates with Forthright Oyster Bar & Kitchen (Campbell), Shepherd & Sims (Los Gatos) and The Table (Willow Glen). (SS)


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