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Photograph by Jenn Ireland
Joedown: Guitar Joe, a regular customer at Asti, gets down at Santa Cruz's favorite dive bar.

Music & Nightlife

Editors Picks

Best Bouncer

Robert Powell, the Blue Lagoon
He's either escorting intoxicated clubgoers eager to get inside the Blue or else chasing away the occasional stray terrier that manages to slip beneath his foolproof radar. Robert mans the threshold to one of downtown's most rambunctious bar scenes, always with a patient smile. Come closing time, this mighty sentry makes sure every ID lost on the dance floor finds its rightful owner. (JN)
923 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. 831.423.7117.

Best Hipster Hangout

Crepe Place
Call them what you will: hipsters, indie kids, scenesters, whatever. But these tight-pants-loving, bandana-sporting, Che Guevara-quoting hunks and hotties are everywhere in Santa Cruz. And the Crepe Place, with its unbeatable concert schedule, weird movies and French pastries, is their destination of choice to recharge after a long day of thrift store shopping and imported cigarette smoking. (CC)
1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. 831.429.6994.

Best Jukebox

Seabreeze Tavern
The 1976 Rowe/AMI vinyl jukebox in the corner of this revived Rio Del Mar watering hole only plays about 200 songs and still smells like 25-year-old cigarette smoke. But as a timeless classic with hits ranging from Elvis and Buddy Holly to Springsteen and Van Morrison, this old-timer gets the job done with class and grace. (CC)
101 Esplanade, Aptos. 831.227.4104.

Best Karaoke

I Love Sushi
This one's easy. With three separate rooms complete with projector screens and authentic Japanese karaoke programs, plus great sushi, saki and an owner who's found of handing out free samples of both, I Love Sushi is not just a great karaoke bar, it's a great restaurant, period. (CC)
516 Front St., Santa Cruz. 831.421.0706.

Best New Bar

Parish Publick House
Could be the grilled cheese sandwich. Might be the bangers and mash. It almost certainly has something to do with the selection of beers (more than 100) that has turned this rustic Westside pub into a magnet for hipsters and beerophiles of all stripes since opening last summer. A carefully written menu guides the newbie through unfamiliar beeritory, from Flemish ales to Russian stouts. (TH)
841 Almar Ave., Santa Cruz. 831.421.0507.

Best Sunset Cocktails

Olitas Cantina and Grille
Offering an ocean view with a restaurant and full bar, Olitas is always poppin'--especially after the workday. This scenic happy hour haven runs Monday through Friday from 3 to 6pm. Its Taco Tuesdays and Thursdays boast a blackened fish, beef, chicken or carnitas taco with a draft beer or house margarita for just $6. TGI Olitas. (MC)
49B Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz. 831.458.9393.

Best Weekly Party

Metamusic's 'Metaweekly'
Every Wednesday at 5pm, Metamusic owner and pro DJ Jonathan Schneiderman, a.k.a. Kamm, and special guests 187 Soundsystem, DJ ZZ, Dosenwerfer and DJ Booty Traxx get together for this free happy hour session of body rockin' techno, house, glitch and dubstep music inside the stylish Cedar Street wax shop. It's a weekly event not to be missed. (CC)
320 Cedar St., Santa Cruz.

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