Silicon Valley Bars and Clubs 2016

Craft Cocktails

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State of Grace at 55 South

55 South

Elderflowers have delicate, fragrant white petals that get crushed by French distillers St. Germaine to craft their distinctive liquor that sits at the center of The State of Grace. Alongside vodka, the supporting players include fresh muddled raspberries, just-squeezed citrus juices and sparkling wine that lends a frothy head to this pink refresher. The bar snags good weekday crowds, especially with their Island-themed Tiki Tuesday. 55 S 1st St, San Jose.

The Vesper

When James Bond drinks, he goes with the Vesper martini—the namesake of this revamped Campbell spot that flipped from specializing in wine to artisanal cocktails. Their titular drink combines gin, vodka, lillet (a citrusy French dessert wine) and amaro, a bittersweet Italian liqueur. Don't share tastes with a sociopathic secret agent? Perhaps the Setting Sun—jalapeno-infused tequila accented with lemon and pineapple slices—might be a bit more whistle-wetting. 394 E Campbell Ave, Campbell.

Blood and Glitter at The Oxford

The Oxford

Any place that mixes "Blood and Glitter" is probably one you should exit promptly. Well, except on the drink menu at The Oxford. The British Gastropub's on-tap cocktail mellows out scotch's smoky punch with orange bitters and a "spiced cherry elixir." Then, they christen the old-fashioned tumbler with three dark, sugar-sprinkled cherries that have been candied in cherry liqueur and taste nothing like those plastic red spheres that sit in Shirley Temples. 195 S Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale.

The Fountainhead

Named after Ayn Rand's book about her ideal man—Howard Roark—an architect who flouts tradition, the Fountainhead pays homage to his innovative craftsmanship in each of their cocktails. The "Greene and Greene" nods to brothers, Charles and Henry, who infused their works with a Japanese tint. The beverage features ginger liqueur, green tea and whiskey imported from the Land of the Rising Sun. 387 S First St, San Jose.

Lexington House

In 1889, German-born Louis Eppinger came to a newly opened Japan and settled at the American-themed Grand Hotel in Yokohama. There, he invented the Bamboo cocktail—a drink that Lexington House curators Cathy Villarreal and Brent Minderler craft by combining dry vermouth, barrel-aged sake, orange bitters and sherry made by Alvear, an Andalusian winery founded in 1729. 40 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos.

Mortar & Pestle

Mortar & Pestle

After a stiff pestling, the ingredients in the eponymous cocktail of this nouveau cantina get served in an actual mortar. The "boozy, yet refreshing" beverage contains bourbon, honey, orange/grapefruit juice, rosemary, bolivar bitters and green cardamom—a Southeast Asian spice that ranks as the third most expensive in the world behind saffron and vanilla. 3250 Zanker Rd, San Jose.

Jack Rose Libation House

The Jack Rose occupies a rare place in literature for a mixed drink. The Los Gatos proprietors make theirs with 100-proof Apple brandy, fresh lemon and grenadine that they whip up in-house—as they do with most of their syrups. John Steinbeck claimed it as his favorite libation and Ernest Hemingway gave one to his narrator, Jake Barnes, as he waited for Lady Brett Ashley in the canon novel, The Sun Also Rises. 18840 Saratoga Los Gatos Rd, Los Gatos.

Paper Plane

Ordering cocktails can be intimidating. But at this joint, they've got a nifty graph that pinpoints a drink's level of "boldness" and "wildness." The boldest, wildest drink they've got is named with fire, pear and smiley emojis followed by parentheses containing the translation: "Peat & Pear." It contains 10-year-old scotch, Williams pear liqueur and Vecchio Amaro del Capo that's made from 29 Calabrian roots and herbs like quinine and cola nut. 72 S First St, San Jose.

So Fresh, So Clean at Timber and Salt

Timber and Salt

"Ain't nobody dope as me, I'm dressed so fresh, so clean," cooed Outkast on 2000's Stankonia. Redwood City's homegrown gastropub taps this hook to christen a cocktail that combines darjeeling gin, crisp lillet blanc, dry curacao and Meyer lemon bitters into a bright, goes-down-easy concoction. If Snoop Dogg and Pharrell are more your thing, then try the "Drop it Like It's Hot," that blends tapatio tequila with honey, saffron-flavored strega and pepper tincture. 881 Middlefield Rd, Redwood City.

The Striped Pig

Chefs Erik Romme and Andrew Mitchell have quickly established themselves in Redwood City, snagging rave reviews and awards shortly after opening their gastropub. They tap their culinary expertise to craft cocktails that they claim "blur the boundary between what is historically proper and what is right." One of these, "The Beached Frenchman" mixes small-batch French brandy, Armagnac, with pineapple, lavender and egg whites. For those who like savory booze, "The Whistling Billionaire" pairs rye whiskey with bacon. 917 Main St, Redwood City.

Orchard City Kitchen

Orchard City Kitchen's bar director, Perry Hewitt, must match the skill of his Michelin-starred boss, Chef Jeffrey Stout. His "Honeymoon Suite" mixes vodka, rhubarb, raspberry and creemant de limoux, perhaps the first varietal of sparkling wine ever invented. If you dig something a bit more spicy and earthy, try the "Dirt Nap" that unites mescal, beet, ginger, black pepper and punt e mes, an Italian vermouth. 1875 S Bascom Ave, Ste 190, Campbell.

Roots and Rye

Artists from Picasso to Proust to Poe all drank absinthe, but the spirit drew a degenerate rap and widespread bans due to its (overblown) psychoactive powers. Since its resurgence in the '90s, it has proliferated and factors nicely into the "Goldenrod," which also features gin, herbal liqueur, chrysanthemum honey and rosemary essence. 3055 Olin Ave, Ste 1005, San Jose.

Cocktail Bars


355 Santana Row #1010, San Jose

Five sake cocktails are highlighted by the Lychee Sidecar.


400 Castro St, Mountain View

Mojitos, margaritas and caipirinhas all impress, but don't miss the Peruvian favorite Pisco Sour.

El Guapo's

266 E. Campbell Ave, Campbell

Beegraritas appear to defy natural laws of physics but those bottles stay put in the giant margaritas.

Grill on the Alley

172 S. Market St, San Jose

The Grill Classic Martini is all you need—and, of course, the blue cheese olives.


165 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd, Los Gatos

One of the best happy hours in the Bay, where fresh cocktails—like the delicious Swedish Fish—go for about $7 a pop.

The Loft Bar & Bistro

90 S. Second St, San Jose

A film buff's haven during the always packed Cinequest.


25 W. San Fernando St, San Jose

The signature drink here is, of course, the mezcal-rita.


211 S. First St, San Jose

Friendly bartenders and Friday night jazz makes this hotel bar a favorite of locals and conventioneers.


535 Ramona St, Palo Alto

With their exotic house-made ginger syrup, Nola's famous Ginger Julep cocktail stands up.


48 S. First St, San Jose

Nomikai's famous cocktail "Jazz Hands" includes the cooling Jasmine Tea-Infused Vodka.

Oak & Rye

303 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos

Their famous cocktail, Best Manhattan Ever, will knock you off your feet and have you savoring its flamed Orange flavor.

Original Joe's

301 S. First St, San Jose

A place where Sinatra would have drank, and probably skipped out on the tab.

SP2 Communal Bar + Restaurant

72 N. Almaden Ave, San Jose

A daily 3-7pm happy hour to make our hearts sing.

The Table

1110 Willow Ave, San Jose

The delicious and unforgettable La Rosa cocktail includes El Charro silver tequila and its signature flavor of pomegranate-hibiscus.


San Jose Marriott, 301 S Market St, San Jose

Dive into something tropical at Tanq Bar and try the Tangerine Drop topped off with a fresh lemon slice.

Vbar at Hotel Valencia

355 Santana Row, San Jose

Order the popular Santana 75, which includes fresh fruits and is topped with champagne.

Intro | Craft Cocktails | Craft Beer | Wine | Juice Bars | Coffee | Dance
& Live Music
| Dives & Old Favorites | Gentlemen's Clubs