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News and Features
03.26.08

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Best Music & Nightlife

Readers Poll


Bar

GOLD
Red Restaurant & Bar
200 Locust St, Santa Cruz. 831.425.1913.
The plush cushions at this wildly popular lounge absorb the dim light emanating from table-top candles and hold up buzzed and tired students and yuppies. Fantastic selections of microbrewed concoctions along with mixed drinks with names like "The Pimp Cup" have helped to cram this upstairs bar like a narrow sardine can every weekend (and many weekday nights) of the school year.

SILVER
Clouds
110 Church St, Santa Cruz. 831.429.2000.

BRONZE
Poet and Patriot
320 Cedar St, Santa Cruz. 831.426.8620.

Cocktails

GOLD
Red Restaurant & Bar
200 Locust St, Santa Cruz. 831.425.1913.
Just think about the Cool Hand Cuke for a minute. Its ingredients are house-infused organic cucumber vodka, fresh lemon and a splash of soda. It may actually repair cellular damage, and it's available only at Red, where the bartenders toil all day among exotic ingredients like ginger, mint, Earl Grey-infused gin and fresh mango. Want a crazy good cocktail you can't get anywhere else? Get in the Red.

SILVER
Clouds
110 Church St, Santa Cruz. 831.429.2000.

BRONZE
515 Kitchen and Cocktails
515 Cedar St, Santa Cruz. 831.425.5051.

Dance Club

GOLD
Club Dakota
1209 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.454.9030.

SILVER
Blue Lagoon
923 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.423.7117.

BRONZE
Moe's Alley
1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. 831.479.1854.

Dive Bar

GOLD
Asti
715 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.423.7337.
The smell of stale cigarette smoke and the clink of clashing pool balls welcome patrons to this unpretentious downtown bar. The stiff drinks are offered at respectable prices and the barflies are mostly a friendly bunch. Electronic bar games and a TV set help the tired ease into a comfortable stupor.

SILVER
Rush Inn
113 Knight St, Santa Cruz. 831.425.9673.

BRONZE
Brady's
413 Seabright Ave, Santa Cruz.

Happy Hour

GOLD
El Palomar
1336 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.425.7575.
Nothing says "I've escaped my job for another few hours" like the first blast of an ice-cold margarita. The citrusy tang of the lime juice, the herbal burn of a top-shelf tequila and the bite of a salted rim take the worker bee far, far away from the indignities and boredom of the workplace. Between an exhaustive list of margaritas and other libations, complimentary warm chips and salsa and the lure of decadent nachos supreme, it's no wonder the happy hour in El Palomar's cantina is the place to be from 4pm-6pm, Mondays through Thursdays.

SILVER
Crow's Nest
2218 East Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz. 831.476.4560.

BRONZE
Clouds
110 Church St, Santa Cruz. 831.429.2000.

Live Music Club

GOLD
The Catalyst
1011 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.423.1336.
The days are gone when Neil Young would just show up at the Catalyst's old location near the Cooper House to play a surprise set, but this place has as much mojo as ever. From the upstairs pool hall to the airy atrium, and from the crowded balconies of the main theater to the teeming floor, musicians love playing it and we love patronizing it. Long live the Cat.

SILVER
Moe's Alley
1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. 831.479.1854.

BRONZE
Kuumbwa Jazz Center
320 Cedar St, Santa Cruz. 831.427.2227.

Local Band

GOLD
Archer
www.myspace.com/archer
The resurgence of classic heavy metal has given way to a handful of local rock outfits devoted to the genre, but none are more deserving of the devil horns than Archer. Led by the guitar wizardry of frontman Dylan, the local trio blasts audiences into oblivion with a powerful blend of thrash and hard rock. Fans of early Metallica and Iron Maiden will undoubtedly find new heroes in the thundering chaos of Archer.

SILVER
Extra Large

BRONZE
The Devil Makes Three

Local Musician

GOLD
Dylvan Rosenberg

SILVER
Tom Savell

BRONZE
Sista Monica

Place to Play Pool

GOLD
Fast Eddy's Billiards
4300 Capitola Rd, Capitola. 831.462.1882.
With HDTV, video games, 20 pool tables, food and drink, Fast Eddy's isn't a stereotypical smoke-filled pool hall where flinty-eyed sharks make a living beating college kids at pool. It's a well-lit family establishment where flinty-eyed sharks can beat people in front of their children and can then enjoy some chicken wings to celebrate while watching the game in high definition glory.

SILVER
The Catalyst
1011 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.423.1336.

BRONZE
One Double Oh Seven
1007 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.425.9589.

Place to Play Darts

GOLD
Poet and Patriot
320 Cedar St, Santa Cruz. 831.426.8620.
Expect to wait in line for the dart boards at this working-class pub tucked behind the Kuumbwa Jazz Center on Cedar. Order up a pitcher of the Poet's famous room-temp Guinness and the wait will disperse like a dandelion in spring. By the time the dart boards open up, it'll be time for another pitcher. Don't worry about drinking too much--every pint of bitter improves your aim! Oh, and don't ask for a cocktail or you'll be laughed out of the bar.

SILVER
One Double Oh Seven
1007 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.425.9589.

BRONZE
Fast Eddy's Billiards
4300 Capitola Rd, Capitola. 831.462.1882.

Sports Bar

GOLD
99 Bottles
110 Walnut Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.459.9999.

SILVER
One Double Oh Seven
Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.425.9589.

BRONZE
Britannia Arms
8017 Soquel Dr, Aptos. 831.688.1233.


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